A survey commissioned by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) shows significant gaps of
understanding among U.S. computer users about the actual threat posed by computer security problems.
According to the survey, 30 percent of Americans believe they are more likely to be hit by lightning, to
be audited by the IRS, or to win the lottery than be the victim of a computer security problem; among
users under the age of 25, the rate of those who believe this rises to 40 percent. In truth, cybersecurity
threats, including viruses, phishing scams, and hacking, affect about 70 percent of computer users, while
the odds of being hit by lightning are 0.0000102 percent, according to the U.S. National Weather Service.
The survey also found that 90 percent of computer users remember Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction"
during the Super Bowl, but only 60 percent remember when the security software on their PCs was last
updated. Ken Watson, chairman of the NCSA, said that 91 percent of PCs are infected with some variant of