Want to Cry over WannaCry? Attitudes towards Data Security
In this article, Questia Group focuses on the recent cyber-attack WannaCry and implicitly on data security attitudes. Our research was conducted through an online survey on our platform http://questia.ro covering 653 respondents, with a plus or minus 4% margin of error. The survey was active between 16 and 18 May 2017. Our key findings are presented below.
Firstly, some details regarding the context. On the 12th of May 2017, the world witnessed a cyber-attack like never before: a worm called WannaCry (or WannaCrypt or Wanna Decryptor) infected over tens of thousands of businesses, hospitals and agencies across 153 countries. Marcus Capone, former Navy SEAL, Founder and CEO of Vindex Group , a full spectrum security firm that integrates cyber, physical Security and mission support said: Leaders today must embrace the reality that the physical and cyber world aren’t separate, but connected.
This ransomware took over users' files, demanding $300 to restore them. Moreover, the White House said that under $70,000 had been paid (in bitcoins) in total in a bid to get any locked data released. Among the organizations targeted have been Germany's rail network Deutsche Bahn, Spanish telecommunications operator Telefonica, US logistics giant FedEx and Russia's interior ministry.
The tool used in this current attack had been developed by the US National Security Agency and was stolen by hackers. MalwareTech, whose name was revealed in UK media to be 22-year-old Marcus Hutchins, was hailed as an "accidental hero" after registering a domain name to track the spread of the virus, which actually ended up halting it.
According to Statista, the services industry was highly affected, while the leading cause of ransomware infection comes from human carelessness: like opening the wrong e-mail which can infect one’s computer and then the whole company.
In Romania, the number of affected IPs reached 514 . They come from Bucharest (134), Iaşi (49), Argeş (32), Vrancea (22) and Cluj (21). The Romanian National Computer Security Incident Response Team (CERT.ro) has received five notifications in this regard: two of them from private companies, two from state institutions and one from an individual.
We wanted to know what Romanians think about this attack. In this sense, respondent awareness for the cyber-attack was high: 81.6% have heard about it, while only 18.4% didn’t.
Asked whether their data have been stolen/attacked, the majority (75.7%) had never encountered digital theft/attack so far. However, 13.2% said that their personal e-mail was hacked, while 12.7% said that their Facebook account was at least once broken. Debit/credit cards and other accounts suffered lower proportions of hacking.
Moreover, respondents agree to a great extent (77.2%) that in the next 5 years, there will be more and more cyber-attacks. In this sense, more than half (68.6%) say they are afraid of cyber-attacks. However, two-thirds (75.5%) have not invested money in buying antivirus programs. The findings are worrisome, especially since only 40.6% agree that the government and the corporation are good at protecting the data they collect, while 54.2% disagree with this statement.
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