By Billy MacInnes
The fear of losing personal or financial information or having it stolen online is as strong for many Americans as losing their jobs or being unable to provide healthcare for their family.
By submitting your personal information, you agree that TechTarget and its partners may contact you regarding relevant content, products and special offers.
According to a survey by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), 54% of Americans were "extremely concerned" about losing data online compared and half of them ranked it the same as losing a job or not having adequate healthcare for their family. Identity theft was the most pressing concern, just ahead of someone hacking into their financial information or accounts.
On a more positive note, an overwhelming number (96%) seemed prepared to take individual responsibility for being safer and more secure online and 93% thought their online actions could help to make the Web safer for everyone around the world.
The study revealed that six out of ten thought a lot of online safety and security was under their personal control but 90% wanted to learn more about keeping safer on the Internet and a quarter felt they lacked the knowledge or information to stay safe online. One in ten thought online safety was too expensive.
APWG secretary general Peter Cassidy said the findings showed that consumers were "anxious to learn more about what to do to take control of their digital lives. Clearly, they crave personal control".
NCSA executive director Michael Kaiser said it was "heartening" that Americans felt such a strong feeling of personal responsibility to online safety and security.
He may have been slightly over-egging the pudding when he went on to draw a parallel with wider global concerns. "Just as they might view protecting the environment a local and global priority," Kaiser stated, "Americans feel that doing their part to help keep the Internet safe benefits not only their own household but also our national and economic security."