US among ten most risky nations for internet use

According to data compiled from 127 million computers by AVG anti-virus software, the company’s researchers formulated a list of the best and worst among 144 countries when it come to facing virus and malware attacks. One in 48 web surfers in the US is vulnerable to such an attack according to AVG’s data.

This put the US in ninth place among the 10 riskiest countries for internet use, certainly a dubious accomplishment, but far from the top spot where surfers in Turkey had a one in 10 chance of experiencing an internet-based attack.

Rounding out the rest of the top five were Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Bangladesh.

The AVG list has Sierra Leone as the safest place to use the net, followed by Niger, Japan, Togo, and Namibia.

The top of the list is dominated by African countries, likely due to the fact that internet usage on the continent lags behind other areas of the world; what’s just as likely is the relatively scarce number of machines running the free AVG anti-virus in Africa, which Infosecurity notes, has likely skewed the results. The data show that Africans face a 1 in 108 chance of internet-based attacks, whereas North America comes in as the riskiest location, with odds of 1 in 51.

Other notables on the list include the UK in 30th place (1 in 63), Australia in 36th (1 in 75), and China in 79th (1 in 135).

Critiquing the data, gathered in late July, Roger Thompson, chief product officer for AVG, said there are many good reasons why internet users in the Caucus/Central Asia region, occupying three of the top five spots, faces an increased threat of internet-based attacks.

“Some of it may be down to a tendency to access semi-legal or illegal download sites, while some of it probably is down to being less cautious when it comes to sharing links and files online”, he wrote in his security blog. “Another factor is the popularity of Internet cafes and people generally sharing computers, but even in these countries, a minority of users account for a large proportion of attacks.”

Thompson said the lists, although not arbitrary, reflect only a “snapshot” of the overall trends in internet-based threats by region, and is more than likely to change over time. “Web threats, malware and viruses are designed to target different users across the world and this results in its own geographic footprint depending on concentrations of users across the globe”, he added.

What’s Hot on Infosecurity Magazine?