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Damaging cyberattacks on a global scale continue to surface every day. Some nations are better prepared than others to deal with online threats from criminals, terrorists, and rogue nations.
Data-mining experts from the University of Maryland and Virginia Tech co-authored a recent book that ranked the vulnerability of forty-four nations to cyberattacks.
According to Homeland Security News Wire, the authors conducted a two-year study that analyzed more than twenty billion automatically generated reports, collected from four million machines per year worldwide. The researchers based their rankings, in part, on the number of machines attacked in a given country and the number of times each machine was attacked.The United States ranked 11th safest, while several Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Norway, and Finland) ranked the safest. China, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea ranked among the most vulnerable.
The findings include economic and educational data gathered by UMD’s Center for Digital International Government. The researchers integrated all of the data to help shape specific policy recommendations for each of the countries studied, including strategic investments in education, research and public-private partnerships.
Trojans, followed by viruses and worms, posed the principal threats to machines in the United States. However, misleading software (that is, fake anti-virus programs and disk cleanup utilities) is far more prevalent in the United States compared with other nations that have a similar gross domestic product. These results suggest that U.S. efforts to reduce cyber threats should focus on education to recognize and avoid misleading software.
In a foreword to the book, Isaac Ben-Israel, chair of the Israeli Space Agency and former head of that nation’s National Cyber Bureau, wrote: “People — even experts — often have gross misconceptions about the relative vulnerability [to cyberattack] of certain countries. The authors of this book succeed in empirically refuting many of those wrong beliefs.”