Norton teamed up with independent research firm Sperling’s BestPlaces to uncover Canada’s top 10 cities1 that have the highest number of cybercrime risk factors.
This year marks the second time Norton and Sperling’s BestPlaces have collaborated to highlight the various factors that contribute to the potential risk of cybercrime.
The Top 10 Riskiest Online Cities in Canada are
No. 1 – Burlington, ON
No. 2 – Port Coquitlam, BC
No. 3 – Vancouver, BC
No. 4 – Langley, BC
No. 5 – Calgary, AB
No. 6 – Fredericton, NB
No. 7 – Toronto, ON
No. 8 – New Westminster, BC
No. 9 – Edmonton, AB
No. 10 – Victoria, BC
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.”
Sperling’s BestPlaces determined the per-capita rankings by examining several consumer behaviors – from the prevalence of PCs and smartphones, to social networking and accessing potentially unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots, among others.
For the second time, leading “riskiest” online city, Burlington, ON., placed high in all four categories measuring cybercrime data per capita, including attempted malware infections, attempted web attacks, attempted spamming and attempted bots by city. Burlington also ranked high amongst internet use and expenditures.
Port Coquitlam, BC again ranked second in the analysis this time around. Port Coquitlam scored at the top in the majority of the categories surveyed, including cybercrime data per capita. Both Port Coquitlam and Vancouver (which ranked third), reported high numbers of social networking use.
Residents of Victoria, which came in as Canada’s tenth “riskiest” online city, ranked highest among Wi-Fi hotspots and Fredericton, which ranked sixth overall, had the highest use of social networking.
Other cities in the top 10 include Langley, Calgary, Toronto, New Westminster and Edmonton. According to the research, Toronto and Calgary both ranked amongst the highest for spending on personal computers. Langley, ranked above average across all categories, while Edmonton and New Westminster were the only cities that weren’t included on the 2010 top 10 list.
“This report highlights some of the factors Canadians should be considering no matter where they live,” said Lynn Hargrove, Director of Consumer Solutions, Symantec Canada. “I suggest Canadians take a good look at how they are connecting online and what security perimeters they’ve put in place – if they are not certain they are as safe as possible, it’s easy to get educated and make small changes that go a long way to protect their information.”
“This is the second time that Burlington has come out on top in this ranking. We choose to look at the positive aspects,” said Rick Goldring, Mayor of Burlington. “This report shows our residents are connected and are reaping the benefits of using the Internet for both personal and business needs. This is a good opportunity to look at these risk factors and remind residents – even those in other cities – to protect themselves and their information online.”
Of the Top 50 Canadian cities examined, Levis, Quebec ranked the least risky online city. Levis ranked low across all categories and had the lowest ranking for cybercrime data. Other low-ranked cities include Longueuil and Gatineau in Quebec, which placed in the 48th and 49th spots, respectively.
Top 3 Safety Tips from Norton
1. Proceed with caution when using Wi-Fi hotspots
Wi-Fi hotspots are a great resource, but make sure you’re using a secured network if conducting online purchases or banking from a laptop, tablet or smartphone.
2. Use complex and unique passwords for each site
Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers and make your passwords as random as possible. It’s also good practice to change your passwords regularly, but managing all these passwords can be tricky. Norton offers a free, cloud-enabled service that allows consumers to easily and securely store and synchronize logins, passwords, credit cards, and other Web form information across browsers and devices. ID Safe beta is available for free download from IdentitySafe-beta.norton.com
3. Stay educated
For more information and tips on staying safe no matter where you live, visit Norton’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/Norton and Norton.com for a complete list of consumer security products.