An analysis of 100 million security software installations in 144 countries claims to have determined just where the most dangerous, places to access the Internet are. The results are surprising to say the least.
The results of AVG Technologies' first ever Global Threat Index report were published yesterday, and concentrated on answering one question: where in the world are you most likely to be hit by a malicious computer attack or virus?
The answer, it would seem, would be the Caucasus region. Web surfers in Turkey, Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan are the most likely to face security threats whilst using the Internet. By contrast, however, seven out of the top ten safest places to surf are in Africa, with the safest of them all being Sierra Leone, followed by Niger and Japan.
If you look at the results on a continent by continent basis, then you are least at risk in South America and most at risk in North America. Sorry about that folks. If it makes you feel any better, the numbers suggest that on a global scale your chances of being attacked while online on any given day are 1 in 73.
Some of the conclusions of the AVG Global Threat Index analysis include:
Turkey leads the league table for risky surfing, with AVG's software having to step in to protect on average, one in 10 users of the Internet. Web users in Russia (1 in 14 were hit), Armenia (1 in 24), and Azerbaijan (1 in 39) also suffer high rates of attacks.
Other areas where Web surfers are disproportionately at risk include Bangladesh (1 in 41), Pakistan (1 in 48) and in Vietnam and Laos in Southeast Asia, where the chances of facing an attack are both one in 42.
What about other major Western countries? The United States ranks number nine when it comes to the riskiest places to surf the Web (1 in 48), the United Kingdom ranks 31st (1 in 63), Australia comes in 37th (1 in 75) while Germany comes in at number 41 (1 in 83).
Sierra Leone had the fewest attacks with, on average, one in 692 Web surfers facing an attack. Niger also fared well, with just one in 442 Web surfers on average experiencing an attack. It is important to note however that these countries have a low level of internet access, with low broadband penetration.
It is because of its high internet use and broadband penetration that Japan, where there is an average of just one in 404 facing an attack, is arguably the safest place to surf the net. Meanwhile Taiwan (1 in 248 attacked), Argentina (1 in 241 attacked), and France (1 in 224 attacked) all came in the top 20 safe list.
Analyzing the data by continent, your chances of getting attacked while surfing the Web in North America are 1 in 51, in Europe 1 in 72, while in Asia (including Asia Pacific) 1 in 102. The safest continents are Africa (1 in 108) and by a large margin South America (1 in 164).
While African countries make up seven of the top 10 'safe surfing' list, it's noteworthy that the chances of being attacked in all South American countries are more than 1 in 100. The riskiest country in South America was Peru at 1 in 131, which globally still only ranks 78th out of 142 countries.
However, I am somewhat confused by the point of this research as surely what actually matters is not where you are accessing the Internet but how you are accessing and whether you are doing so in a 'safe' manner or not? Some link-clicking idiot will be more at risk in Sierra Leone than a paranoid security-savvy chap doing all the right things in Turkey.
Still it is interesting stuff, nonetheless, and AVG has provided some video advice for people wishing to be stay secure whilst travelling abroad with their laptop.