An Awful Lot of People Seem to Have Fibbed About Responding to the Heartbleed Bug


Via Hayley Tsukayama, check out this question about the Heartbleed bug from Pew Research:

That’s pretty impressive, no?

“I think it’s a pretty striking number,” said Lee Rainie, the center’s director, in an e-mailed statement….Rainie added that the urgency of the coverage likely prompted people to act quickly to address the issue. “We didn’t ask people how they’d heard about Heartbleed, but I’d guess that it was a combination of media coverage plus chatter in users’ networks via social media and e-mail,” he said. “And much of what we were seeing was the basic message, ‘This one is really serious and you need to respond.'”

I too think this is a pretty striking number. But I don’t believe it for a second. If you had security consultants make personal house calls to every internet user in the United States, I don’t think 61 percent would change their passwords. I would frankly be surprised if 61 percent of internet users even know how to change their passwords.

Am I being too cynical? Maybe. But what I’m curious about is where this number comes from. Since I doubt that the real number of password changers is even half of the Pew number, why did so many people fib about it when a pollster called them? And what does that say about how people respond to pollsters in general?

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