Symantec Ranks Cities by Cyber Crime Threat: Report

Dennis Faas's picture

Security company Symantec recently compiled a list naming the 50 most dangerous cities in the United States for cyber crime. Some of the top entries are big surprises.

The rankings are based on those cities Symantec determined were most susceptible to a cyber attack, and factor in the number of high-risk activities and crimes committed in a particular state and city.

The study wasn't all just about where cyber attacks take place, however. The study also also investigated other factors -- for example, if a city has a high use of public wireless Internet or network access (WiFi), hosts many online shopping sites, and has frequent use of online banking services, it might be considered more vulnerable than others. (Source:

Seattle Most Likely to be Attacked by Cyber-Thieves

Interestingly enough, Symantec ranked Seattle the most vulnerable to cyber attack. The remarkable thing about that is pretty straightforward: located right next to Redmond, Washington -- the home of Microsoft -- one might imagine that being so close to the software giant would envelop Seattlers in a sphere of safety, but, as the report suggests, that's simply not the case.

The Seattle ranking is based on the fact that almost 70 per cent of all residents are regular Internet users and another 29 per cent say they use the web at least five times each day. Also, more people in Seattle admit to accessing bank accounts and paying bills online (27 per cent) than any other major U.S. city. According to Symantec, that makes it a place where cyber-thieves are likely to attack.

Also ranking high was San Francisco, a city on the lip of Silicon Valley and the home of Apple.

Top 10 USA Cities Listed for Cyber Crime Threat

According to Symantec, the top ten cities under the highest cyber crime threat in the United States is as follows:

  • Seattle
  • Boston
  • Washington, D.C.
  • San Francisco
  • Raleigh, N.C.
  • Atlanta
  • Minneapolis
  • Denver
  • Austin
  • Portland, OR.

Study Intended to Raise Awareness, Not Fear

The point of the study, Symantec says, is not to scare people living in these ten cities.

Indeed, just because one does play World of Warcraft and check their bills online in Denver doesn't mean they're really that much more vulnerable than a Detroiter. What it does mean, however, is that people in these cities, along with those in all North American cities, need to practice safe Internet surfing, and that starts with ensuring your PCs are up to date, including the operating system, antivirus, and anti-malware software -- plus using common sense.

Cybercrime is a very serious issue: according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center's 2009 annual report, it accounted for some $560 million in damages, more than double the year prior. (Source:

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