Research Findings

This research is based on a national survey on online behaviors and attitudes for NCSA and APWG.

  • 96 percent of Americans feel a personal responsibility to be safer and more secure online.
  • 93 percent believe their online actions can protect not only friends and family but also help to make the Web safer for everyone around the world.
  • 61 percent believe that much of online safety and security falls under their personal control, and consistent with those feelings, 90 percent said they want to learn more about keeping safer on the Internet.
  • 48 percent feel their actions to stay safe and secure can have a positive impact on financial, economic, and national security of the country, indicating Americans are open to making the bridge between their own safety and the nation’s security.
  • Concern about identity theft rates slightly higher than fears of job and healthcare loss. 54 percent of Americans are extremely concerned about loss of personal or financial information. To place this is in context, 53 percent are concerned about losing their jobs, while 51 percent feared not being able to provide healthcare for their family.
  • Nearly two-thirds of the American public have heard, read or seen something about online safety and security issues recently. However, most of what the news they remember is negative: identity theft, privacy loss, and increased frequency of attacks.
  • When asked why they don’t always do all the things they can or should do to stay safer online, Americans said they simply lacked the information or knowledge (28 percent) – a surprising finding that surpassed other hurdles often cited by the media. Only 12 percent said online safety was too expensive, while just 5 percent said they were too busy to take the extra step.

About the National Survey

Heart + Mind Strategies conducted the national survey online with 1,007 U.S. adults ages 18 and up between May 21-25, 2010. The poll was part of an extensive analysis on online behaviors and attitudes for NCSA and APWG.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with non-response, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey adjustments.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls. The data were targeted to reflect the demographic composition of the United States. Because the sample is based on those who initially self-selected for participation in online panels rather than a probability sample, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.