A poll has shown that a significant number of American are making changes to their online habits to protect their privacy after last year’s hacks of the Democratic Party.
It is now common knowledge that US intelligence agencies have accused the Russian government of perpetrating cyberattacks “to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Hilary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency”.
Over 20,000 emails and documents were released publicly by WikiLeaks in June 2016. The whistleblower website continued to leak documents every day in the lead-up to election day. Russian officials have denied any involvement.
In the aftermath of the 2016 election hacks, where emails from the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee were stolen and leaked, Americans are making changes with how they protect their online privacy.
The poll, conducted by Reuters and Ipsos, surveyed a total of 3,307 adults across all 50 states. The poll reveals some notable takeaways.
40 per cent of Americans have now become more cautious about what’s written in their emails, after news coverage of the hacking. Nearly 46% of those polled had taken actions to protect their privacy following the attack.
The most obvious action to take, as the poll suggested, was to change one’s online passwords. 45 per cent of Americans had done so.
Another popular measure to protect one’s privacy? Stick a tape over a laptop’s camera. There’s some sensible things you should be doing, and that’s one of them,” FBI director James Comey has notably stated in the past. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has also been revealed to cover his Apple laptop’s camera and microphone.
Other measures taken by Americans include turning off tracking on web browsers – 21 per cent of those polled confirmed the practice. 10 percent unplugged their internet-connected IoT devices such as speakers and smart TVs from the internet. 5% of those polled have switched over to encrypted messaging services like WhatsApp.
Image credit: Wikimedia.