Seattle Tops Report As U.S. City Most Vulnerable To Cyber Crime

Cybercrime, a threat that affects one in five online shoppers and cost Americans $560 million in 2009 due to online fraud, may hit closer to home than many realize. Norton from Symantec teamed up with independent research firm Sperling’s BestPlaces to find and expose the nation’s top 10 cities most vulnerable to cybercrime.

The following are ranked the Norton Top 10 Riskiest Online Cities:
1. Seattle 
2. Boston 
3. Washington, D.C. 
4. San Francisco 
5. Raleigh, N.C. 
6. Atlanta
7. Minneapolis
8. Denver
9. Austin, Texas
10. Portland, Ore.

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.

  • At the top of the rankings, Seattle claims the dubious distinction of America’s leading riskiest cybercrime city, placing near the top in categories such as cyberattacks and potential infections; online behavior that can expose people more to cybercrime, such as online shopping and banking online; and wireless Internet access.
  • Boston and Washington, D.C. follow in second and third place. Both cities experience a very high level of cybercrime, perhaps due in part to their large number of Wi-Fi hotpots.
  • High-tech hubs San Francisco and Raleigh are ranked fourth and fifth. San Francisco tops the list for riskiest online behavior and highest number of WiFi hotspots per capita. Many of these cities are considered some of the most tech-savvy cities 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. According to the Norton research, Atlanta residents experience the most cyberattacks and potential infections. Minneapolis and Portland 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 of cybercrime and reminds individuals, families and businesses across the country of the hazards they face each time they go online. We’re here to educate consumers about how to protect themselves and ideally never fall victim to cybercrime.”

Of the 50 U.S. 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. El Paso, Texas and Memphis, Tenn. came in second and third, respectively, on the list of least risky online cities.

“Despite people’s familiarity with technology and the Internet, this study shows that everyone is exposed to a certain level of risk when they are online,” said Bert Sperling, founder and researcher of Sperling’s Best Places. “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.”

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