Cybercrime In The EU – Where Are You Safe?

September 15 15:49 2017 Print This Article

Cybercrime In The EU - Where Are You Safe?Is your website safe? It’s an important question, but one that is all too often treated as an afterthought, a minor issue that can be dealt with further down the line ‘should the worst occur’.

But what exactly is ‘the worst’? Is it the manipulation of a national democratic vote? Perhaps it’s the leaking of more than 700 million email addresses and passwords? Or is it a spate of international ransomware attacks that have crippled systems around the globe?

Whatever your definition of ‘the worst’ is, cyber security has become an essential part of day to day life for both individuals and businesses. In fact, interest in the term has tripled over the last five years according to Google Trends data.

As our real lives become increasingly entwined with our virtual ones, understanding just how vulnerable you are online can offer insights into the measures you should take to ensure your digital safety.

Whether that’s using an app like Last Pass to protect your password collection, ensuring your website has an SSL certificate, or simply knowing what constitutes a potentially spammy email link, finding out just how vulnerable you are is essential in understanding how to protect yourself, your business and your customers.

To this end, Website Builder Expert recently conducted research into just how vulnerable computer users in the EU are to cybercrime. We looked at the European Union due to the wealth of publicly available data, number of countries involved and the socio-economic diversity between the 28 countries. We used publicly available data from Microsoft, the European Union, Rapid7 and the ITU’s Global Cybersecurity Index to look into:

● How many EU residents had already experienced cybercrime
● How often residents in the EU encountered malware and viruses each year
● Each EU nation’s commitment to cyber security initiatives
● How exposed the internet connections were in each EU nation (Across 30 ports)

We felt that this selection of data would give us an excellent understanding of not only how often EU residents encountered or were directly affected by cybercrime, but also the level of infrastructure in place to protect them.

Our results indicated that Malta, the southernmost EU nation, was the country most vulnerable to potential cyber crime attacks. This is despite the fact that Maltese computer users currently sit in the middle of the pile for actual malware and cybercrime encounters.

What pushed Malta to the head of our results was the nation’s high proportion of exposed internet connections, with more than 73% of all internet ports currently exposed, along with the Maltese government’s substandard cybersecurity legislation and low-level of international co-operation with its IT peers. These factors combined indicate Malta’s population to be at greater potential risk than any of its EU neighbours.

Among the top five most vulnerable nations were names you may expect such as Greece and Romania, but also some more unlikely candidates such as Spain. This was particularly surprising as we had expected to find countries with lower GDPs ranking as more vulnerable, and yet we ranked Spain in the top five vulnerable nations despite it having the fourth largest GDP in Europe.

Spain ranked as highly vulnerable due to the fact that it has even more exposed internet connections than Malta, with 76% of ports currently exposed. Fortunately for the Iberian nation its cyber security initiatives were deemed more substantial than Malta’s hence its position as fifth most vulnerable rather than first.

At the other end of the table, we found Finland to be the least vulnerable EU nation thanks to its low cybercrime encounter rate and robust cyber security measures, which were put into place by the Finnish ministry of Defence around 2013.

Somewhat surprisingly, in among the expected big names at the bottom of our table such as the UK and Germany, we also found Estonia. The Eastern nation’s appearance at the more secure end of our ranking is testament to far-ranging changes in government security strategies and legal frameworks made in response to statewide cyber-attacks in 2007.

These results only go to show that there is a lack of cohesion among EU nations in fighting what is becoming an ever larger threat to our digital security. Regardless of whether nations finished as vulnerable or not in our research, dealing with cybercrime clearly needs to seen as a much higher priority across the continent.

Thankfully in recent months we have seen positive moves coming the 28-nation strong community with the announcement of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a piece of legislation that should tighten up digital privacy laws.

It’s a start, but we’ve a long way to go before we begin to feel truly safe online.

The original article (and image) was originally posted here: https://www.cybersecurityintelligence.com/blog/cybercrime-in-the-eu—where-are-you-safe-2786.html

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GDPR Associates
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