Top 20 Cities Vulnerable to Cyber Crime

Internet security provider AVG recently conducted a survey of 8,000 Internet users spread over 35 cities. With this data they have determined which 20 cities are the most vulnerable to online threats like identity theft and email security breaches. Here are the top 20 cities, from least to most vulnerable:

Houston, TX

Memphis, TN

Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA

Indianapolis, IN

San Jose, CA

Baltimore, MD

St. Louis, MO

Philadelphia, PA

Portland, OR

Salt Lake City, UT

Sacramento, CA

Washington, D.C.

Denver, CO

Detroit, MI

Charlotte, NC

Oklahoma City, OK

Dallas, TX

Atlanta, GA

Tampa, FL

San Antonio, TX

A case in point, Silicon Valley in San Jose, California.

Silicon Valley is expected to be one of the topics on the table for the talks between Presidents Obama and Xi Jinping. The fight against hacking needs to be taken to another level, experts say, and Obama is certainly focused on stopping these threats. Silicon Valley high-tech firms must also take the lead in upgrading security to prevent hacks, since the President’s main point is to do with military operations and technologies. China of course denies allegations of trying to hack US government secrets.

Former Homeland Security official Paul Rosenzweig said that the private sector must take responsibility for their own security. The technology being used must be protected by those who created it. Just like with a car that can be broken into, he said, software that can be hacked is not acceptable to consumers. The manufacturers then have the responsibility to make sure it is secure. The good news is that bigger firms are beginning to take this responsibility seriously, which helps a lot in the fight against cybercrime.

Cyber Retaliation

Frustration inside Silicon Valley firms is growing as attacks continue, and there are rumors that some companies are considering countering the threats with attacks of their own. It is illegal, but hot enough so that attorneys and judges staged a mock trial at the 2013 RSA Conference in March. In May, the Commission on Theft of American Intellectual Property recommended that Obama and Congress lift the ban on cyber-attack retaliation.

Cyber retaliation makes sense if it is viewed as a wartime strategy, but there are warnings against offensive moves. The average American corporation does not have the hacking know-how needed to stage an effective attack. Attempts would simply irritate the attacking hackers and cause matters to escalate, leaving companies more vulnerable than before.

Hacking is Big Money

Hacking is a very lucrative business. It is much more cost-effective for a company or government to steal complete information on how to manufacture a product rather than to buy the technology or pay for the research required to get to that stage in product development. Most of these hacks are accomplished through email viruses, and companies must educate their employees to take more care with how they treat random links sent to them. The enemy has the advantage here, and better defense is the better solution.

China’s economy has long been supported by the manufacture of cheap copies of goods, and this is not likely to change. Their interest in expanding their technological base is then likely to proceed in the same manner. Stolen intellectual property can be sold by hackers to companies that will try to duplicate the product. Since they did not spend millions developing the technology, they can sell it much cheaper than the original. This is a smart way to shore up the economy for any developing country.

Former Federal Communications Commission public safety chief James Barnett said that private firms must take the lead in battling hackers. The government should then play a supporting role, giving incentive like tax cuts or credits for companies that make the effort. He said, “The private sector’s role is to continue to innovate, something it can do much better than the government, and something that Silicon Valley does better than just about anywhere in the world.”

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