Tech Hotspots are Riskiest Cities for Cyber Crimes

Wi-Fi hotspot (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)Seattle is the most vulnerable city for cyber crimes; Detroit the safest. And if your city is anywhere in between, be very careful of Wi-Fi hotspots, choose your online shopping venues wisely and keep your computer operating system updated and patched.  
Those are some of the results and advice from a study by Symantec, the online security company best known for Norton products, and the independent research firm Sperling’s BestPlaces.
One obvious outcome of the study: Cities with the most connectivity, including Wi-Fi hotspots, are some of the most vulnerable.
Cyber crime affects one in five online shoppers and cost Americans an estimated $560 million in 2009, Symantec said. Internet fraud often results in identity thieves hacking successfully to uncover credit card numbers or other valuable pieces of information.
Why Seattle?
Because unsuspecting Seattle citizens display online behavior that can “expose people more to cyber crime, such as online shopping and banking online, and wireless Internet access,” Symantec said.
Boston and Washington, D.C. came in second and third place.  The two cities were each cited for a large number of Wi-Fi hotpots.
“High-tech hubs” San Francisco and Raleigh were ranked fourth and fifth.
San Francisco got a separate distinction of demonstrating the “riskiest online behavior and highest number of Wi-Fi 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 cyber crime and online insecurity,” Symantec concluded. 
Rounding out the top ten: Atlanta, Minneapolis, Denver, Austin and Portland, Ore.
“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 cyber crime and reminds individuals, families and businesses across the country of the hazards they face each time they go online.”
The safest city for online behavior illustrates the most obvious lesson from the study. Detroit was the least vulnerable, but it also ranked low in access to the Internet, expenditures on computer equipment, and wireless Internet access.
Researchers for the study analyzed data from each city that included cyber attacks, potential infections, the level of Internet access, expenditures on computer hardware and software, wireless hotspots, broadband connectivity, Internet usage and online purchases.
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