Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Consumer anxiety about security is at an all-time high, according to the global Unisys Security Index to be released Tuesday. National security is the new number one security concern for Americans, kicking financial security out of the top fear in the last survey in 2014. Americans' concerns about internet security — specifically viruses and hacking —rose most dramatically over the last 3 years, coming in as the number two concern.

Expand chart
Data: Unisys Security Index; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

By comparison, respondents in other countries surveyed —particularly in developing nations— rated identity theft or bankcard fraud as their top concern. In the U.S., concerns about card and ID theft stayed relatively unchanged over the last 3 years.

What's happening: Americans increasingly feel they have lost control of their ability to protect themselves from physical and digital threats in a world that not only seems more dangerous than ever, but also one that is more interconnected than ever. The trust Americans have historically put in both government and companies is eroding, driving record levels of anxiety.

Catch-22: Security in the U.S. is a web of paradoxes:

  • Americans want more protection from cyber and physical, but are increasingly wary of the organizations that would typically provide it.
  • Consumers know many types of online transactions may not be safe, yet they forgo privacy for the convenience of banking on their phones or shopping on an unsecured internet connection.
  • They are extremely concerned about hacks and viruses, yet can't bothered to install software updates and take other precautions.
  • "At the same time that we are telling officials we want more security and facing more significant threats, we're cutting their budgets," said Bill Searcy, vice president, global justice, law enforcement and border security for Unisys and a former FBI deputy assistant director.

"The concern is being driven by the fact that we essentially have to do business online these days," Searcy told Axios. "People realize they are so connected and dependent on our online identity, that if something would happen, it would really be bad."

The solution? Consumers have to demand stronger security protections, and governments and companies have to invest in delivering them, said Frank Cilluffo, director for the center for cyber and homeland security at The George Washington University. "I don't think we'll ever build high enough walls and wide enough motes and big enough locks," he told Axios. "Consumers have to start taking security more seriously."

Additional findings:

  • Concern is 13 points higher among 18-24 year-olds than 55-65 year-olds
  • Concern is 14 points higher among those with lower income than with higher income.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
53 mins ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.