The top ten riskiest online U.S. cities reads like a list of the top ten U.S. digital hubs, with DC, Seattle and San Francisco at the top, Boston in the middle, and Raleigh, NC just making it on the list.
Norton teamed up with independent research firm Sperling’s BestPlaces to uncover the nation’s top 10 cities1 that have the highest number of cybercrime risk factors.
The Top 10 Riskiest Online Cities in the U.S. are:
#1 – Washington, D.C.
#2 – Seattle
#3 – San Francisco
#4 – Atlanta
#5 – Boston
#6 – Denver
#7 – Minneapolis
#8 – Sacramento, Calif.
#9 – Raleigh, N.C.
#10 – Austin, Texas
Cities with the greatest risk factors do not necessarily correlate with the highest infection rates, reflecting the fact that many consumers are taking precautions to keep themselves safe.
“In our examination of the riskiest online cities, we’ve considered a number of factors that can potentially affect online safety,” said Bert Sperling, founder of Sperling’s BestPlaces and lead researcher for the analysis. “By looking at data from consumer lifestyle habits as well as cybercrime data provided by Symantec, maker of Norton products, we’re able to provide a holistic view of the various factors that put a person at potential risk.”
DC placed exceptioanlly high in all risk categories
Sperling’s BestPlaces determined the per-capita rankings by examining several consumer behaviors — from the prevalence of PCs and smartphones, to ecommerce, social networking and accessing potentially unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots, among others.
- As the leading riskiest online city, Washington, D.C., placed exceptionally high in almost all the categories measuring potential risk, and had the second-highest reported usage of smartphones. The nation’s capital also ranked high among cybercrime data factors, including attempted malware infections and attempted Web attacks.
- The second city on the list, Seattle, which was the riskiest online city in 2010, scored at the top in the majority of the categories surveyed, including email usage and social networking activity. Both Seattle and San Francisco (which ranked third), reported high numbers of Wi-Fi hotspots and hours spent on the Internet.
- Residents of Atlanta and Boston, which ranked fourth and fifth respectively, share high rankings among the cybercrime data. In particular, Atlanta recorded the highest per-capita number of spamming IP addresses. Both cities’ inhabitants exhibit a tendency toward potentially risky online consumer behavior, such as online financial transactions.
- The other cities in the top 10 include Denver, Minneapolis, Sacramento, Raleigh and Austin. According to the research, Denver and Minneapolis placed high among potentially risky factors within the cybercrime data. Sacramento, the only city that wasn’t included on the 2010 top 10 list, ranked above average across all categories, while Raleigh and Austin reported high levels of risky online behavior.
Detroit has something to brag about
“With the explosion of smartphones, tablets and laptops in recent years, and the rise of apps and social networking sites, our online and offline lives are blending together in ways that we’ve never before experienced,” said Marian Merritt, Norton Internet Safety Advocate.
“While there are many positive aspects as a result, this analysis highlights the potentially risky factors we face each time we go online. By taking a few simple precautions now, people can make sure they stay protected against online threats.”
Of the 50 U.S. cities examined, Detroit was once again ranked the least risky online city, returning low scores in the number of Wi-Fi hotspots, potentially risky online consumer behavior and PC expenditures. Other low-ranked cities include Tulsa and El Paso, which placed in the 48th and 49th spots, respectively.