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The Norton Top 10 Riskiest Online Cities Report Reveals Who’s Most Vulnerable to Cybercrime

Seattle Tops the List with its Residents at Greatest Risk

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – March 22, 2010 – Cybercrime, a threat that affects one in five online shoppers¹ and cost Americans $560 million in 2009 due to online fraud², may hit closer to home than many realize. Norton from Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC) 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 6. Atlanta
2. Boston 7. Minneapolis
3. Washington, D.C. 8. Denver
4. San Francisco 9. Austin, Texas
5. Raleigh, N.C. 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 WiFi 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.”

Top 3 Safety Tips from Norton
No matter where your city ranks on the list, people everywhere can benefit from online safety tips to help prevent becoming a victim of a cybercrime:

  • Use legitimate security software that offers comprehensive protection against known and unknown online threats – There are a lot of security solutions to choose from, but comprehensive security solutions like Norton Internet Security and Norton 360 will help ensure you’re fully protected against malware, spyware, hackers, zero-day threats, and identity theft. Parents should also protect their kids too from online threats and inappropriate content by using OnlineFamily.Norton, a free family safety solution.
  • Always keep your computer’s operating system and the software you run on it patched – Don’t ignore prompts to update your OS or applications with critical security fixes. Cybercriminals can get in through “holes” in unpatched computers.
  • Stay educated – Visit the Norton site www.everyclickmatters.com and download the Norton Family Online Safety Guide to learn more about the realities of cybercrime and how to stay protected.

For more information, please visit www.NortonRiskiestOnlineCities.com.


To develop these rankings, researchers at Sperling’s BestPlaces analyzed data for each city including the number of cyberattacks and potential infections (data provided by Symantec Security Response), level of Internet access, expenditures on computer hardware and software, wireless hotspots, broadband connectivity, Internet usage and online purchases.

The Norton Top 10 Riskiest Online Cities study analyzed 50 of the largest cities in the United States, by population defined by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Full survey content and additional details regarding methodology, criteria and sources are available upon request.

1. Seattle 18. Oakland, Calif. 35. Chicago
2. Boston 19. Nashville-Davidson, Tenn. 36. Baltimore
3. Washington, D.C. 20. San Jose, Calif. 37. Oklahoma City
4. San Francisco 21. Columbus, Ohio 38. Philadelphia
5. Raleigh, N.C. 22. Dallas 39. Jacksonville, FL\la.
6. Atlanta 23. Kansas City, Mo. 40. Tulsa, Okla.
7. Minneapolis 24. New York 41. San Antonio
8. Denver 25. Indianapolis 42. Milwaukee
9. Austin, Texas 26. Albuquerque, N.M. 43. Cleveland
10. Portland, Ore. 27. Miami 44. Tucson, Ariz.
11. Honolulu 28. Omaha, Neb. 45. Long Beach, Calif.
12. Charlotte, N.C. 29. Virginia Beach, Va. 46. Fort Worth, Texas
13. Las Vegas 30. Los Angeles 47. Fresno, Calif.
14. San Diego 31. Cincinnati, Ohio 48. Memphis, Tenn.
15. Colorado Springs, Colo. 32. Houston 49. El Paso, Texas
16. Sacramento, Calif. 33. St. Louis, Mo. 50. Detroit
17. Pittsburgh 34. Phoenix  

About Norton from Symantec

Symantec’s Norton products protect consumers from cybercrime with technologies like antivirus, anti-spyware and phishing protection - while also being light on system resources. The company also provides services such as online backup and PC tuneup, and is a trusted source for family online safety. Friend us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/norton and follow @NortonOnline on Twitter.

About Symantec

Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world. Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available at www.symantec.com.

About Sperling’s BestPlaces

Bert Sperling has been helping people find their own "Best Place" to live, work and retire for more than 20 years. His firm, Sperling's BestPlaces, puts facts in the hands of the public so they can make better decisions about best places to live, work, retire, play, or relocate. His bestselling books, Cities Ranked and Rated and Best Places to Raise Your Family, are published by John Wiley & Sons. More information about Bert and his work is available at www.bestplaces.net.

Note to Editors: If you would like additional information on Symantec Corporation and its products, please visit the Symantec News Room at http://www.symantec.com/news. All prices noted are in U.S. dollars and are valid only in the United States.

Symantec and the Symantec Logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Symantec Corporation or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

¹ Consumer Reports: http://pressroom.consumerreports.org/pressroom/2009/05/consumer-reports-survey-one-in-five-online-consumers-have-been-victims-of-cybercrime.html

² Internet Crime Complaint Center http://www.ic3.gov/media/2010/100312.aspx