Washington Post Poll

This Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone May 17-20, 2012, among a random national sample of 1,004 adults, including 740 internet users, landline and cell phone-only respondents. Results for the full sample have a 3.5 point error margin, and four points for results among internet users. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by PSRAI of Princeton, New Jersey.

*= less than 0.5 percent

1. Do you use the Internet, at least occasionally?

           Yes   No   No opinion
5/20/12    79    21      0 

2. (AMONG INTERNET USERS) When you set up passwords online, do you always use the same password, or do you happen to use different passwords?

            Same     Different     No
          Password   Passwords   opinion
5/20/12      16          79         5 

Compare to: 

            Same     Different     No
          Password   Passwords   opinion
6/21/00*     29          68         3
*Pew Internet and American Life Project; based on internet users who have provided
name information to access a website (54% of Internet users).

3. (IF USE DIFFERENT PASSWORDS) Do you ever use the same password for different websites, such as banking, social networking and shopping?

          Yes   No   No opinion
5/20/12   30    67      3 

2/3 NET

          ----- Same passwords ------
                Always   Use same for    Always       No
          NET    same     some sites    different   opinion
5/20/12   40      16          23           53          7

4. (AMONG INTERNET USERS) In general, do you use online passwords that are (easy for you to remember) or ones that are (complex and would be hard for someone to guess)?

             Easy       Complex/hard for     No 
          to remember   someone to guess   opinion
5/20/12       26              67             7

5. (AMONG INTERNET USERS) Overall, how confident are you that you can keep things like computer viruses, spyware and adware off of your home computer when you want to — very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident, or not at all confident?

          ------ Confident ----   ----- Not Confident ------    No        No home
          NET   Very   Somewhat   NET   Not too   Not at all   opin.   computer (vol.)
5/20/12   76    35       40       23      13         10          1           NA 
6/7/05*   61    19       42       33      18         15          1            4
*Pew Internet and American Life Project

On another subject...

6. (AMONG INTERNET USERS) How much do you every worry that… (INSERT)? A lot, some, not very much, or not at all?

5/20/12 – Summary Table
                               -- A lot/some --   ---- Not very/not at all -----   No
                               NET  A lot  Some   NET  Not very much  Not at all   op.
a. Your email will be read by 
   someone besides the person 
   you sent it to              30     10    21    68        28            40        2
b. Someone might know what 
   Web sites you’ve visited    34     15    19    65        29            36        1
c. You’ll get a computer 
   virus when you download 
   information                 53     19    34    46        27            19        1
d. Someone will access your 
   bank or credit card account 58     23    35    41        20            21        2

Trend:

a. Your email will be read by someone besides the person you sent it to

           --- A lot/some ---   ----- Not very/not at all ------    No
           NET   A lot   Some   NET   Not very much   Not at all   opin.
5/20/12    30      10     21    68         28             40         2
6/21/00*   27       7     20    72         29             43         1  
*Pew Internet and American Life

b. Someone might know what Web sites you’ve visited

           --- A lot/some ---   ----- Not very/not at all ------    No
           NET   A lot   Some   NET   Not very much   Not at all   opin.
5/20/12    34      15     19    65         29             36         1
6/21/00*   31       8     23    68         23             45         1  
*Pew Internet and American Life

c. You’ll get a computer virus when you download information

           --- A lot/some ---   ----- Not very/not at all ------    No
           NET   A lot   Some   NET   Not very much   Not at all   opin.
5/20/12    53      19     34    46         27             19         1
6/21/00*   54      17     37    45         25             20         1  
*Pew Internet and American Life

d. No trend

7. (AMONG INTERNET USERS) Do you ever access the Internet wirelessly using “Wi-Fi” on a laptop, tablet or smartphone?

          Yes   No   No opinion
5/20/12   73    26      1 

8. (AMONG WI-FI USERS) How often do you use public wireless “hotspots” very often, sometimes, rarely, or never?

          -------- Often -------   ---- Not often -----     No
          NET   Very   Sometimes   NET   Rarely   Never   opinion
5/20/12   38     12       26       61      39       22       *

9. (AMONG PUBLIC WI-FI USERS) When you use public wireless networks, do you take special security precautions, or not?

          Yes   No   No opinion
5/20/12   52    47      2 

8/9 NET (AMONG ALL WI-FI USERS)

          -------- Ever use public Wi-Fi --------    Never use       No
          NET   Take precautions   No precautions   public Wi-Fi   opinion
5/20/12   77          40                 37             22            1  

10. (AMONG WI-FI USERS WHO TAKE PRECAUTIONS) In your own words, what kind of precautions do you take? (Open end)

                                                                 5/20/12
Browser security/avoid certain websites/careful visiting website   26
Antivirus software/spyware/pop-up blockers                         16
Use general caution                                                12
Password protection                                                11
Avoid online banking/finances/credit cards                          8
Firewall/VPN/Secure server                                          7
Being physically careful/covering keyboard/careful where sit        4
Don't use in public                                                 3
Encryption                                                          2
Use special computer for public spaces                              2
Log in and log out procedures                                       2
Get help from family or friends                                     2
Other                                                               1
Not sure                                                            2

11. (AMONG INTERNET USERS) How often, if ever, do you post [INSERT] on Facebook or other social media sites – every day, every week, about once a month, less often than that or never? How about (INSERT NEXT ITEM)? READ IF NECESSARY: Do you post this on Facebook or other social media sites every day, every week, about once a month, less often than that or never?

5/20/12 – Summary Table
                         Every   Every   Once a   Less than            Don’t use   No
                          day    week    month    once/month   Never     (vol.)    op.
a. personal information 
   about yourself          4      10       11         19         53         2       1 
b. your travel plans       1       2        7         15         72         3       1 
c. detailed information
   about your friends      3       3        9         11         70         2       0 

12. How concerned are you that the computer systems of (INSERT) could be the target of a major ‘cyber attack’— meaning that the computer systems could be shut down or damaged by viruses or other hacker attacks? Very concerned, fairly concerned, just somewhat concerned, or not at all concerned?

a. the U.S. government (half sample)

           ---- Concerned ----   ------ Less concerned -----     No
           NET   Very   Fairly   NET   Somewhat   Not at all   opinion
5/20/12    51     28      23     48       31          17          1
7/14/02*   48     26      22     52       34          18          0 
*IPSOS-Reid; “cyber attack by terrorists”

b. U.S. businesses

           ---- Concerned ----   ------ Less concerned -----     No
           NET   Very   Fairly   NET   Somewhat   Not at all   opinion
5/20/12    48     27      21     52       30          21          *
7/14/02*   44     22      22     56       37          19          0 
*IPSOS-Reid; “cyber attack by terrorists”

13. (AMONG VERY/SOMEWHAT CONCERNED ABOUT GOV’T/BUSINESS ATTACKS) What is the country or organization that you’re most concerned about launching such an attack? (Open end)

          China   Al Qaeda   Iran   Russia   Other terrorist   Other   No opinion
5/20/12     26      19        11      4            6            14        21

14. What do you think is more important right now – (for the federal government to investigate possible threats of cyber-attack, even if that intrudes on personal privacy online); or (for the federal government NOT to intrude on personal privacy, even if that limits its ability to investigate threats of cyber attack?

          Investigate threats    Not intrude on privacy    Neither/   
          even if intrude on    even if limit ability to    Other       No
            online privacy        investigate threats       (vol.)    opinion
5/20/12           50                        38                3          8

15. In your opinion what is the likelihood that (INSERT) will be subject to a major cyber attack in the next 12 months? Please use a scale of 1 to 5 where a 5 means extremely likely and a 1 means not at all likely.

a. the U.S. government (half sample) 

          ------- Likely ------         ----- Not likely -----     No    
          NET   Extremely   [4]   [3]   NET   [2]   Not at all   opinion     
5/20/12   23       15         8   32    40     22        18         5 
7/14/02*  26       11        15   37    36     23        13         1
*IPSOS-Reid; “cyber attack by terrorists”

b. U.S. businesses (half sample) 

          ------- Likely ------         ----- Not likely -----     No    
          NET   Extremely   [4]   [3]   NET   [2]   Not at all   opinion     
5/20/12   21       12         9    33   43    27        16          3  
7/14/02*  25       11        14    34   39    27        12          2
*IPSOS-Reid; “cyber attack by terrorists”

16. And, how prepared do you think [INSERT) is/are for a major cyber attack? Please use a scale of 1 to 5 where a 5 means extremely prepared and a 1 means not at all prepared.

a. the U.S. government (half sample) 

           ------ Prepared ------         ---- Not prepared ----     No
           NET   Extremely    [4]   [3]   NET   [2]   Not at all   opinion
5/20/12    36       17        18    27    32     19       13          5
7/14/02*   34       14        20    38    26     17        9          2
*IPSOS-Reid; “cyber attack by terrorists”

b. U.S. businesses (half sample) 

           ------ Prepared ------         ---- Not prepared ----     No
           NET   Extremely    [4]   [3]   NET   [2]   Not at all   opinion
5/20/12    28       11        16    36    31     15       16          5
7/14/02*   26        8        18    35    37     24       13          2
*IPSOS-Reid; “cyber attack by terrorists”

17. When it comes to computer network security standards at U.S. companies that provide power, financial and telecommunications services, should the government require specific standards by law, should it encourage but not require such standards, or should the government stay out of it entirely?

          Require standards     Encourage but not     Stay out     No
                by law        require such standards   of it     opinion
5/20/12           39                   28                26         7

18. Congress is considering legislation to make it easier for the government and U.S. companies to exchange information about potential cyber-security threats. Some of the information could include personal Internet content and e-mails. Do you think the new information exchange (is justified to try to prevent cyber-attack), or do you think it (goes too far in invading personal privacy)? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?

          ------- Justified -------   ----- Goes too far ------      No
          NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Somewhat   Strongly    opinion
5/20/12   46       18         28      43       19         24         11

19. (AMONG THOSE WHO SAY GOES TOO FAR) What if there were protections against the release of names and other identifying information – in that case do you think the information exchange would be justified, or not?

           Yes, justified   No, not justified   No opinion
5/20/12          44                51               5

18/19 NET

          ---------- Justified ---------
                 At    Only with privacy      Not        No
          NET   first    protections       justified   opinion
5/20/12   65     46           19              22         13

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