American paranoia moves online -

The Land of the Free has found a new fear which is fast replacing terrorism and its number one bugbear.

The US is good at collective fear. It was founded by those who feared Catholics, whipped up by a fear of witches, then a fear of paying tea tax. Later on there was a fear of communists, then terrorists.

Now a security study by Unisys said that more Americans want the presidential candidates to focus on protecting the government and the electrical grid against hackers than fighting terrorist groups.

The good thing about a fear of hackers is that you do not have to suffer from extreme security arrangements at airports.

The Unisys study said that more than 74 percent wanted better protection of government computer systems against hackers and criminals.

Over 73 percent thought it was better to protect the US electric power grid, water utilities and transportation systems against computer or terrorist attacks.

The survey, based off a random phone survey of 1,000 households in America, asked: "How important is it for a candidate to emphasise the following issues in the upcoming 2012 presidential election?" - along with a set of questions about how worried Americans were about other security threats, such as identity theft and online fraud.

Unisys did not mention how may Americans wanted to see US presidents deal with witchcraft and Catholics, so we guess the Land of the Free has evolved a bit.