Five Riskiest States for Cybercrime

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When it comes to cybersecurity practices of consumers, a new report shows that Florida ranks as the riskiest state with most residents lagging behind in their awareness of online safety practices.

The Cyber Hygiene Index: Measuring the Riskiest States, conducted by Ponemon Institute and commissioned by Webroot, surveyed more than 4,000 consumers across all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and found that New Hampshire scored the highest. In contrast, Florida came in dead last, reflecting that most residents are not ready to prevent, detect or respond to cyber-related attacks such as malware, phishing, ransomware and identity/credential theft.

Wyoming and Montana were just above Florida, an indication that despite high profile breaches such as Equifax, individuals across the US lack cybersecurity education. The spectrum is wide, though, and at the other end, individuals residing in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Utah have the safest online habits.

Only 24% of Americans are aware of the best practices that will increase online security, such as regularly monitoring bank and credit card statements and understanding how to block pop-ups, updating online account passwords, and taking precautions before clicking on an email. Additionally, only half of Americans use antivirus or other internet security software on their laptops, desktops or smartphones.

Nearly two-thirds (72%) of survey respondents living in Florida reported that they share passwords or other access credentials with others, while more than half (53%) of New Hampshire residents claimed that they never share passwords with others.

Interestingly, the number of devices an individual owns is a greater indicator of their cyber-risk than is their age. The survey results found that the more devices an individual owns, the lower their level of cyber-hygiene. In fact, 75% of respondents 30 and under reportedly engage in riskier online behaviors than older respondents. 

“Regardless of the region, the riskiest states index shows that many people in the US are jeopardizing their safety with inadequate cybersecurity practices. To help fight widespread threats like ransomware and phishing attacks, internet users should run a security solution on their personal devices and make sure that all security and other software applications are up to date,” said David Dufour, vice president of engineering and cybersecurity, Webroot.  

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