Two-thirds of people believe that cyber-espionage is necessary for maintaining a country's economic and political standing, a survey reported by tech news website Computing has revealed.
The survey, which was conducted by security firm Sophos, compiled the responses from 1,077 computer users as part of the company’s half-yearly 2010 Security Threat Report update.
The report found that 63 per cent of respondents thought that digital spying methods, such as cyber-espionage, were acceptable, of which a quarter said that it didn't matter if it was done during times of peace.
Sophos said that 40 per cent thought that cyber-espionage is acceptable when at war.
Only one third of respondents thought that cyber-espionage should not be undertaken at any time.
Writing in the company blog, Graham Culey, senior technology consultant at Sophos, wrote: "It's perhaps surprising that so many people seem to think that using the internet as a tool for spying, or even as a weapon, is acceptable practice. After all, by giving the green light to these kinds of activities you'd also have to expect to be on the receiving end too. Maybe yours will be the next company probed by an overseas power?".