Americans consider cyberterrorism the main "critical threat" to the vital interest of the United States, saying they're more concerned about such attacks than other hazards, including the development of nuclear weapons or other international dangers, according to a new Gallup Poll.
In the findings from Gallup's World Affairs survey, conducted Feb. 1-23 and released Wednesday, concerns about nuclear weapons by Iran and North Korea placed second and third, respectively, in mentions of critical threats.
Concerns about international terrorism ranked fourth, with China as a military and economic power coming in next.
Among the threats cited:
- The war between Russia and Ukraine, global warming, and Russian military power placed lower, and illegal immigration and the looming conflict between Taiwan and China rounded out the bottom of the list.
- More than half of Americans see climate change as a critical threat. These numbers are down 4% from the record high of 58% tracked in 2015.
- Republicans and Democrats have similar perspectives on some international threats, like cyberterrorism and the development of nuclear arms, but see other threats, such as immigration, differently.
Lawmakers from both parties are addressing cybersecurity, including the introduction over the past year of several bills that focus on protecting the nation's infrastructure, The Hill reported.
This week, Sens. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., introduced two bills to create pilot programs in the Defense and Homeland Security departments to recruit civilian cybersecurity reserve workers to ensure the government can "defeat, deter, or respond to malicious cyber activity."
"Our bipartisan legislation will help ensure the U.S. government can leverage existing cybersecurity talent from the private sector to help our nation deter and swiftly respond to cyberattacks," Rosen said in a statement.
Blackburn added: "As the cyber domain continues to expand in size and complexity, so should our cyber workforce. By creating a reserve corps similar to our National Guard or Army Reserve, we can ensure the U.S. has qualified, capable, and service-oriented American talent that is necessary to address cyber vulnerabilities and keep our nation secure."
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