(photo credit: Courtesy)
Iraq’s security situation may have improved over the past few years, but not if you are surfing the net in Baghdad.
A new study by internet security company AVG has found that Iraq is the most dangerous place in the Middle East to surf the Internet, with a 1 in 49.6 risk that the average Internet user will be attacked.
Based on data taken from over 100 million computers using AVG’s products in 144 countries during the last week of July, the study found Internet safety to be well below the global average in a number of Middle Eastern countries. Internet users in Oman were found to have a 1 in 54.9 chance of being attacked, followed by 1 in 55.4 in Iran.
The safest Middle Eastern country for web browsing, the study found, is Israel, with a 1 in 210.9 chance of being attacked. Israel was followed by Syria, with a 1 in 181.4 chance of an attack, and a 1 in 112.1 chance in Morocco.
The global averaged is a 1 in 73 chance of an attack, with Turkey being the most risky country on earth, with a 1 in 10 chance of being attacked.
“Overall, the results for the Middle East are similar to the European ones, with countries such as Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates being close to the global risk average of 1 in 73 users facing an attack,” Roger Thompson, Chief Research Officer for AVG, told The Media Line.
Thompson refuted the notion that might there is a connection between a country’s economic development and the number of attacks, as Israel, a developed country, ranked high in safety, while unstable Iraq was at the bottom.
“There is no real link between economic development and attacks, for example the United States appears at number nine in the risk table,” he said. “What it really comes down to is web behavior, surfing habits and is a measure of malicious activity in that country.”
“For example, the USA's high rank is probably down to the extensive, unguarded use of social networks among the general web population and the level of malicious activity,” he said. “Similarly, Iraq may well come top in the Middle East, because open Internet access is a relatively recent development.”
The report also points to factors as to where and how one uses the Internet. Japan, for example, is the world’s safest country to browse the Internet, with just a 1 in 403 chance of facing attack. Japan has both high Internet usage and broadband protection as people use their own computer at home instead of using an internet café, where protection might not be equally good.
“Wherever you are in the world, though, our advice remains the same: be
careful where you surf at all times, particularly when using public
places, ensure your data is secure and backed up and don’t give away
your personal data and passwords,” Thompson said.
Noam Froimovici, CEO of Power Communication, which does consulting for
Internet security firms, said that while Israelis are good at using
anti-virus programs, they are not willing to spend money on it.
“In the business community you will find that 96 percent are using
anti-virus programs,” he told The Media Line “Among consumers over 95
percent have anti-virus programs, but of these almost 60 percent are
using free anti-virus programs. That is a problem because they have
limited capabilities and that’s a risk as the user thinks that they are
protected but they are more exposed.”
Froimovici said that one major difference between Israel and the United
States and Europe is the willingness to spend money on Internet
“In Israel they would rather spend time struggling with three different
programs but in the United States they are willing to spend money to get
Complete data from the Middle East and North Africa.
The Middle East
Iraq 1 in 49.6
Oman 1 in 54.9
Iran 1 in 55.4
Qatar 1 in 56.3
Yemen 1 in 64.9
Kuwait 1 in 74.6
UAE 1 in 80.5
Jordan 1 in 98.0
Saudi Arabia 1 in 110.5
Syria 1 in 181.4
Israel 1 in 210.9
Egypt 1 in 62.4
Algeria 1 in 86.9
Libya 1 in 87.7
Mauritania 1 in 92.4
Tunisia 1 in 110.7
Morocco 1 in 112.1