NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Most Americans think the U.S. government should authorize cyber attacks if needed, have never been to a psychiatrist or therapist and many named James Bond as their favorite fictional hero.
Fifty six percent of the 1,045 U.S. adults questioned in a new poll believe cyber attacks are a necessary warfare tactic, with 27 percent against the idea and 17 percent saying they simply don't know.
Recent cyber attack targets, which have included defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp., the International Monetary Fund and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, have raised questions about the security of government and corporate computer systems and the ability of law enforcement to track down hackers.
Maybe because of movies and maybe because of some well-publicized recent incidents, Americans seem to be aware that cyber attacks are more of a threat to their way of life than any kind of traditional warfare, said Cullen Murphy, editor-at-large of Vanity Fair.
The 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll also showed that although overall 64 percent of people said they have not seen a therapist or psychiatrist, four in 10 Americans aged between 30 and 64 years old said they have been to one.
James Bond, or 007, was by far the most popular fictional hero that Americans would accompany on an adventure with 31 percent of votes, far ahead of Sherlock Holmes with 20 percent, Captain Jack Sparrow at 18 percent and Harry Potter at a distant 15 percent. Lara Croft, the only female heroine in the running, gained only nine percent.
And despite the blanket media coverage of the British Royal Wedding in April, only 52 percent of Americans knew that Pippa Middleton was the sister of the former Kate Middleton, Prince William's wife.
Six percent of people thought Pippa was a children's book character and two percent said she was an adult film star or a fashion designer.
The poll also asked Americans to weigh in on pre- and post-September11 world safety. Forty percent said there was no difference, 27 percent said it was safer pre-September 11 and 25 percent thought it was safer today.
(Reporting by Paula Rogo; editing by Patricia Reaney)