Cities with a high rate of smartphone usage, a large number of Wi-Fi hotspots, many hours spent on the internet, and a tendency for residents to exhibit risky online shopping and general behavior puts them at a high risk for cyber crime, according to Norton. The online security company teamed up with Sperling's BestPlaces to determine the cities with the highest risk.
Washington, D.C., Seattle, San Francisco, Atlanta and Boston were the most risky cities, the research found. Although cities with great risk factors don't necessarily mean they have the highest rate of infection, students who earn a cyber crime degree or online cyber crime degree likely will focus on the risk factors and ways to reduce them.
"With the explosion of smartphones, tablets and laptops in recent years, and the rise of apps and social networking sites, our online and offline lives are blending together in ways that we've never before experienced," said Marian Merritt, Norton internet safety advocate. "While there are many positive aspects as a result, this analysis highlights the potentially risky factors we face each time we go online. By taking a few simple precautions now, people can make sure they stay protected against online threats."
Norton offered three key safety tips that could keep internet users from becoming victims of identity theft and other cyber crimes. Precaution when using Wi-Fi hotspots is very important, as is using complex and unique passwords for each online site and account a user has. Web users also should just remember to stay educated on the variety of available consumer security products.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security plays a key role in keeping the country safe from cyber attacks, which President Barack Obama has said is one of the most serious economic and national security threats we face.
"We're building one of the best teams anywhere to keep our federal civilian networks secure, and secure the cyberspace and critical infrastructure on which we all depend," the department said on its website. "That means working across the federal government, partnering with the private sector and empowering the general public to create a safe, secure and resilient cyber environment, and promote cyber security knowledge and innovation."
Obama said cyber security is a large area of focus for the United States, because without it, the country may not have a chance to flourish in innovation and the markets may suffer.