Report: Majority of Americans Support Giving President Authority to Shut Down the Web During Attack

By Katie Kindelan Comment

Call it the “cyber-football” option. More than 60 percent of Americans say if a major cyberattack were to occur on the Internet, they want the president to have “kill switch” authority to shut down or take control of the Web, according to a new survey.

That finding comes courtesy of the recently released Unisys Security Index, a bi-annual look at the world’s overall security concerns conducted since 2007 by market research company Lieberman Research Group.

With each new day seeming to bring a new online privacy breach, it’s no wonder that Americans are concerned. But the survey found that Americans are, in fact, the most private social networkers in the world.

80 percent of social networking users in the United States said that they regularly limit the personal information they post and set privacy settings to restrict who can view their information.

That puts Americans ahead of Brazil (79 percent), Germany (71 percent), Britain (67 percent), Netherlands (63 percent), Italy (60 percent), and Spain (52 percent).

But Americans are not yet tuned into the power of mobile devices, with only 37 percent using password protection on their smartphones.

“Its probably because people are looking for convenience,” said Patricia Titus, vice president and chief information security officer at Unisys, in releasing the survey’s findings. “People are not applying the same security practices to mobile devices as they do to PCs and laptops. And in some instances, these [mobile devices] are more powerful.

Of note is that the survey was conducted in August, well before the recent spate of privacy breaches that have hit Facebook, Twitter and smartphones, to name a few. The survey reached 10,575 consumers in 11 countries, including 1,000 in the United States.

While 34 percent of U.S. respondents said they’re “not concerned” about viruses or spam, 73 percent said that they still regularly update their antivirus software.

Alarmingly, only 46 percent of users regularly update and use strong passwords for their desktop machines. Click here for our tips on how to protect yourself with safer social networking passwords.