AVG ranks safest web-surfing nations; as usual, take with a grain of salt
Good news for Africa’s world image, even if the data is misleading. A study by online security company AVG recently determined that Internet users in the Caucasus region (Turkey, Russia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan) have the greatest chance of facing cyber attacks. Such results, however biased or limited by the method of data tracking/collection, are a breath of relief for Africa, which often receives the dubious distinction of having either high levels of cyber crime, or unsafe domains.
In fact, seven of the ten safest nations for web surfers were determined to be in Africa. Sierra Leone, Niger, Togo, and Namibia offer the safest online experience, with only 1 in 696 individuals facing a cyber threat in Sierra Leone. As a continent, Africa is two-times safer than North America, and slightly safer than Europe, with approximately 1% of Africans facing cyber threats. On the downside, it appears that Egypt, Tunisia, Mali, and Nigeria all ranked as relatively unsafe places to access the Internet.
The survey briefly hints at the reason behind these findings: there is minimal broadband penetration in these nations. As a result, users who rely on slower connections to access the Internet rarely stray from well-known sites (think search engines, news sites, and social networks). Moreover, non-broadband users are less likely to visit illegal downloading sites that often contain malware. In addition, the sample size from small nations with limited Internet, let alone broadband access, could produce large uncertainties in the data. Still, however accurate the survey results may be, the take-away message is clear: exercise caution online and always have anti-virus software on hand.