Not all countries are equal when it comes to cyber security and internet freedom. Many are poorly equipped to handle cyber attacks, while others are better equipped but more frequently targeted. Some countries boast free and open internet, while others impose strict censorship systems that block access to the web and punish citizens for what they post.
Because so much data is now stored online, we’re constantly exposed to a number of dangers including ransomware, identity theft, malware and cyber attacks. These happen every second all over the world, costing the economy millions of dollars. But what countries are being attacked the most and who’s best prepared for a cyber attack?
This data visualization will delve into a number of metrics that demonstrate the variety of threats we face online, looking at which countries receive the highest amount of DDoS attacks, cyber espionage, and web application attacks. It’ll also journey across the world to find out which countries give their users the most freedom on the internet, and which are least prepared for cyber attacks. We’ll also take a look at just how much cyber crime is costing various countries.
7 easy ways to improve your privacy and security online
If you don’t want to be another statistic in next year’s report, we recommend you take a few simple steps toward protecting your privacy and security online.
Turn on your antivirus. There’s a good chance your computer already has antivirus software built in. If it doesn’t, or you don’t think it’s sufficient, there are plenty of free and paid antivirus programs to avail of.
Modern antivirus programs typically have two methods of finding and removing malware from your system. The first is a simple system scan, in which the antivirus will sift through every file on your computer to look for, quarantine, and remove malware. The second is real-time scanning, in which running processes and downloaded files are scanned as they appear on your computer and flagged accordingly.
Short for virtual private network, a VPN encrypts all of your internet traffic and routes it through a remote server in a location of your choosing. Commercial VPNs are typically paid subscription services that you can use by installing an app on your device. They have two primary effects.
The first is that all of your data is secured in an encrypted tunnel until it reaches the VPN server. This prevents your ISP and hackers on wifi networks from snooping on any of your internet activity and your traffic’s final destination.
The second is that your IP address, a unique number that can be used to identify your device and location, is masked behind the VPN’s server address. This helps to anonymize your internet activity. Most commercial VPNs group dozens or even hundreds of users together under a single IP address, making it impossible to trace activity back to a single user. VPNs can also be used to unblock geo-locked content that’s only accessible from certain countries, such as US Netflix or Hulu.
Secure browser extensions
Your web browser is the window through which you see the internet, and it can do a lot of things, but is also vulnerable to a number of attacks and exploits. A few browser extensions can help protect your privacy and improve security online. Here is a shortlist of browser extensions we recommend:
- HTTPS Everywhere – opts for the SSL-encrypted versions of web pages whenever they are available
- Disconnect or Privacy Badger – prevents websites from using tracking cookies and similar technologies to monitor your online behavior
- Ad Block Plus – advertisements are a common attack vector by which to deliver malware and phishing ads to users. A good ad blocker can keep them at bay.
A firewall is an essential defense against unsolicited internet traffic coming or going from your computer. Firewalls are installed on almost all modern operating systems and NAT firewalls on most routers. Keep them turned on and be selective about programs you allow to “phone home” through the firewall.
Use strong, unique passwords. Use our password generator to create random, unique passwords for each of your accounts. Use a password manager so you don’t have to memorize them or write them down.
If you don’t want to go that route, at least use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Never use the same password across all of your accounts. Never use your personal details that a hacker could figure out. Good passwords will go a long way in protecting your accounts.
Besides a good spam filter, there’s not much protection against phishing attempts. You just have to know how to spot them. Don’t open links or attachments in unsolicited emails or text messages. Always look for valid HTTPS certificates on websites where you need to input a password or financial information.
If you’re unsure about an email, contact the sender by some other means or ask a question that only they would know to verify their identity. Never, ever give out passwords or other private information in an email.
Read more: Common phishing scams and how to avoid them.
Don’t ignore security updates. Even though they can be annoying, not updating your software not only endangers your device, but everyone on your network. Once a security update has been issued, hackers will deliberately target that software and users who ignore the security updates. So always update as soon as is practical.