AVG Lists Most Dangerous Countries for Web Surfers

New research from AVG Technologies ranks the countries where Web surfers come under attack the most. Topping the list are places such as Turkey and Russia. But the countries with the least attacks may surprise you.

A snapshot of the threat landscape by AVG Technologies named Turkey the most dangerous place to surf the Web.

AVG's analysis is based on an examination of attacks during the last week of July. According to the company, AVG software detected attacks against one in 10 customers browsing the Web in Turkey during that period. Also near the top of the list were Russia (one in 15), Armenia (one in 24) and Azerbaijan (one in 39).

The global average was one in 73 users. In the United States, one in 48 users were attacked, the same proportion as in Pakistan. Vietnam and Laos had a slightly worse percentage, coming in at one in 42 for both countries.

"Make no mistake, analyzing virus data by country doesn't tell us in which region users are completely safe on the Internet," blogged Roger Thompson, chief research officer for AVG. "This is because viruses and malware know no boundaries and don't stop at borders for Visa authorization, but it is a useful snapshot into user behavior."

There are a number of reasons for the differences between countries, he added.

"Some of it may be down to a tendency to access semi-legal or illegal download sites, while some of it probably is down to being less cautious when it comes to sharing links and files online," he explained. "Another factor is the popularity of Internet cafes and people generally sharing computers, but even in these countries, a minority of users account for a large proportion of attacks."

On the other side of the safety scale is Japan, where AVG software picked up attacks for one out of every 403 users. Sierra Leone had the fewest attacks, with just one out of every 696 Web users being hit. Other countries listed among the top 20 safest places are Taiwan (1 in 248 attacked), Argentina (1 in 241 attacked) and France (1 in 224 attacked).

Analyzing the data by continent, AVG found the chances of being attacked while surfing the Web in North America are one in 51, while in Europe the chances are one in 72. The safest continents are Africa (one in 108) and South America (one in 164).

The research should serve as a warning to anyone going abroad and using the Internet, Thompson wrote.

"If you are travelling without your computer and use a public machine or borrow a friend or colleagues, ensure that when accessing Web-based services like e-mail, that you log out and close the browser when you have finished your session and that you don't agree to store any passwords or log-in information on that machine," he blogged.