Symantec reports on 10 riskiest US cities for electronic crime

The report, compiled in conjunction with research firm Sperling's Best Places, found that Seattle and Boston were, respectively, in pole and second position as the US cities most vulnerable to cybercrime.

Washington, DC came in third place, which Symantec says may be due to the city – along with Boston in the second slot – having higher-than-normal densities of WiFi hotspots.

High-tech hubs San Francisco and Raleigh are ranked fourth and fifth.

According to Symantec, San Francisco tops the list for riskiest online behavior and highest number of WiFi hotspots per capita.

Along with Raleigh, the IT security vendor says these cities are considered some of the most tech-savvy population centers in the nation, proving that even skilled and experienced internet users are at risk when it comes to cybercrime and online insecurity.

Rounding out the top 10 are Atlanta, Minneapolis, Denver, Austin and Portland.

Symantec says that Atlanta residents experience the most cyberattacks and potential infections. Minneapolis and Portland, meanwhile, are near the top for risky online behavior, while Denver and Austin score high across the board.

"With more people than ever relying on the internet to stay in touch, shop and pay their bills, feeling confident and secure in our information-driven world is vital," said Marian Merritt, Norton internet safety advocate.

"This study highlights the cities most at risk for cybercrime and reminds individuals, families and businesses across the country of the hazards they face each time they go online," she added.

So what about the cities at the bottom of the list?

Of the 50 cities examined, Detroit came in as the least risky online city. Motor City's residents were less likely to participate in risky online behavior compared to other cities in the study, and it also ranked low in cybercrime, access to the internet, expenditures on computer equipment, and wireless internet access.

Interestingly, El Paso, Texas, and Memphis, Tenn., came in second and third, respectively, on the list of least risky online cities.

Bert Sperling, founder of Sperling's Best Places, said that, despite people's familiarity with technology and the internet, the study shows that everyone is exposed to a certain level of risk when they are online.

"No matter where you live – be it Seattle or Detroit – it's important to be vigilant in everyday online behavior in order to protect yourself against cybercrime of all types", he said.

The rankings were determined through a combination of Symantec Security Response's data on cyberattacks and potential malware infections, as well as third-party data about online behavior, such as accessing WiFi hotspots and online shopping.

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