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Where In The World Is Safest To Go Online?

Turkey and Russia have highest odds of web attacks, Japan is safest

Your chance of getting attacked while online is one in 73, no matter where you are in the world: But some regions are riskier than others, such as North America and Europe, while Turkey and Russia are the most dangerous countries, according to new data.

AVG tracked data from the last week in July 2010 on more than 100 million PCs in 144 different countries and found that on average one in ten users get infected online in Turkey, followed by Russia, one in 15; Armenia, one in 23; Azerbaijan, one in 24; and Armenia, one in 39. Bangladesh followed with one in 41, and Vietnam, and Laos each had the odds of one in 41. The U.S. tied Pakistan, with a one in 48 chance of getting attacked.

The UK (one in 63), Australia (one in 75), and Germany (one in 83) all fared a bit better.

And these were Web attacks that were detected and stopped by AVG. "Even the global average of facing a 1 in 73 attack on any given day does not present great odds if averaged out across a year," blogged Roger Thompson, chief research officer for AVG.

So where is it relatively safe to go online? Where broadband is scarce: Sierra Leone had the least number of attacks, with one in 696 users infected, followed by Nigeria, with one in 442.

But AVG says Japan with its widespread broadband access and Internet is technically the safest place in the world to go online, with one in 403 users getting attacked. Other safer harbors for surfing include Taiwan, with a one in 248 average; Argentina, one in 241; and France, one in 224.

"While we know that the web is without borders, I think it's reasonable to expect that non-English speakers would tend to be drawn to websites in their own language. Either some nationalities of people indulge in more risky behaviors than others, or it indicates that there is localized gang activity targeting their own nationals," Thompson told Dark Reading. "If we watch it over a period of time, I would actually expect the rankings for the English-speaking countries to stay about the same, but I think we'll see variance in non-English countries, as the local gangs' activities ebb and flow."

But AVG notes that the data represents only a snapshot of the threat and different malware is targeted at different users. "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," AVG's Thompson said in a blog post, but it does provide fair warning for travelers.

"If you are travelling without your computer and use a public machine or borrow a friend or colleague's, ensure that when accessing web based services like email, that you log out and close the browser when you have finished your session and that you don't agree to store any passwords or log-in information on that machine," he said.

A full copy of AVG's report is available for download here.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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