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Top 10 “Riskiest” Online European Cities of 2012 Presented by Norton

Manchester, UK ranked No.1 in European Region for Potential Risk Factors
London, UK – 22 February, 2012 – Norton teamed up with independent research firm Sperling’s BestPlaces to uncover the top 10 cities in Europe that have the highest number of cybercrime risk factors. Manchester is ranked No. 1 partly because it has the highest incidences of Wi-Fi hotspots and malware attempts.

The 2012 Top 10 “Riskiest” Online Cities in Europe are:
  1. Manchester, United Kingdom
  2. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  3. Stockholm, Sweden
  4. Paris, France
  5. London, United Kingdom
  6. Dublin, Ireland
  7. Milan, Italy
  8. Rome, Italy
  9. Barcelona, Spain
  10. Berlin, Germany
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 behaviours – from the prevalence of PCs and smartphones, to social networking and accessing potentially unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots, among others.

  • Manchester in the UK earned the #1 spot in European region, with the highest incidences of Wi-Fi hotspots and malware attempts. It also had high percentages among its population for prevalence of computers and Internet access, as well as social networking use.
  • London’s levels among the cybercrime data hovered near the 25th percentile, and Although London’s cybercrime data was low, its high levels of Internet use, social networking and coputer prevalence raised its overall risk factors for an average ranking at #5.
  • Dublin had a comparatively low level of smartphone use, but average numbers among the cybercrime data, low levels of computer use by its residents, and an average number of Wi-Fi hotspots.
“With the explosion of smartphones, tablets and laptops in recent years and the rise of apps and social networking sites, our online and offline lives are blending together in ways that we’ve never before experienced,” said Marian Merritt, Norton Internet Safety Advocate. “While there are many positive aspects as a result, this analysis highlights the potentially risky factors we face each time we go online. By taking a few simple precautions now, people can make sure they stay protected against online threats.”

Of the Top 10 “riskiest” cities in Europe, Berlin had the lowest numbers among the cybercrime data, with all four categories in the 10th percentile and the lowest scores for bots by city and malware attempts. Berlin also had the lowest rate of smartphone use, though PC ownership and social networking was slightly above average.

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. Visit Norton.com for a complete list of consumer security products including Norton One, the first-of-its-kind security membership plan that transforms the way consumers interact and manage their security software across multiple devices – including PCs, Macs, Android phones and tablets. Norton One will be commercially available in March 2012.
About Norton
Norton protects the Stuff that matters to consumers, across all aspects of their digital lives. Norton provides a range of security solutions including technologies for PCs and mobile devices, live tech support services and online backup. Like Norton on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/norton.

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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.

Editor’s Note – A summary of the findings can be viewed in the Symantec press room http://www.symantec.com/en/uk/about/news/release/