Buenos Aires is the most dangerous city when it comes to virtual threats in Latin America. Research done by the security company Symantec, in alliance with the research firm Sperling’s BestPlaces, shows that the capital of Argentina is the one with most users vulnerable to virtual attacks of many different kinds, ranging from thefts of passwords to social media threats. São Paulo appears in fourth place in the list, and Rio de Janeiro is fifth (see the whole list at the end of this post) — both are right after San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Bogotá, Colombia.
According to Symantec, even though these are the cities with the highest chances to be virtually “attacked,” most of those attempts may not come to pass. It is a measure of exposure, not of cases that actually happened. Sperling’s BestPlaces, a consulting firm specializing in geographical data analysis, has determined a per capita raking by examining daily habits of inhabitants of different Latin American cities, considering the use of home computers, laptops and smartphones. Some important points considered in the analysis was the availability and use of Wi-Fi points, social media, online shopping and internet banking, among others.
The cities were assigned point values between zero and 100 based on their data element’s percentage of the range between the most desirable score in that category and the least desirable score in that category. This way, the point values assigned to the cities preserve the proportionality of the data in comparison to the group.
Buenos Aires has the highest rates of internet access and social networking use among the cities considered in the research. Therefore, its high level of possible attempts is proportional to its exposure. In the city, smartphone and PC ownership is also high, according to Symantec.
San Juan ended up with the highest aggregate numbers among the cybercrime data, with the region’s highest scores for attempted malwares and web attacks, while Bogotá reported moderate levels among cybercrime data, but a high number of households with internet access and social networking use, which also makes the total exposure bigger.
São Paulo had the greatest number of Wi-Fi hotspots per capita, but the lowest level of social networking. The research also shows that it has the highest rate of spamming IP addresses and a high rate of attempted malware. Like São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro had a high incidence of attempted malware and spamming IP addresses, and a high number of Wi-Fi hotspots, but reported an average number of social networking, smartphones and PC ownership.
Among the ten cities of the list, the three in Mexico had the best results: Mexico City, Monterrey and Guadalajara. According to the research, this is due to the low number of Wi-Fi spots, low level of smartphone use and low broadband speed when compared to the other cities.
Following is the list of the cities most vulnerable to virtual attacks:
1. Buenos Aires, Argentina
2. San Juan, Puerto Rico
3. Bogotá, Colombia
4. São Paulo, Brazil
5. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
6. Lima, Peru
7. Porto Alegre, Brazil
8. Mexico City, Mexico
9. Monterrey, Mexico
10. Guadalajara, Mexico