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Report Ranks Countries by Internet Threat Exposure

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Analyzing global Internet threat exposure

An IT security and analytics firm recently published a report that analyzed Internet threat exposure at both a general level and at a country and region level.

Rapid7 determined relative “exposure” by examining the prevalence of any given region (usually unknowingly) giving easy access to sensitive data over the Internet, such as through database systems. For the purposes of the report, the company tallied up results and compared the results on a global level to ultimately produce their National Exposure Index.

The company created a heat map of the world that showed the prevalence of threats and exposure to attacks. The map essentially visualized the number of servers in a specific region that have open ports, making them insecure -- and vulnerable.

Belgium tops the list

The National Exposure Index produced a list of most secure and most insecure countries overall, based on Rapid7's testing criteria. Belgium sat atop the list as the country with the most exposure, followed by Tajikistan, Samoa, Australia and China.

Ten most vulnerable nations

  1. Belgium
  2. Tajikistan
  3. Samoa
  4. Australia
  5. China
  6. Hong Kong
  7. Dominican Republic
  8. Afghanistan
  9. South Africa
  10. Ethiopia

In its analysis, Rapid7 found a correlation between the gross domestic product (GDP) of a country and the overall Internet “presence” of that nation. In other words, richer countries simply use the Internet more. But this increased Internet presence for higher-GDP countries did not always translate into a greater overall vulnerability.

Rapid7 concluded the report by calling some of the results "troubling" and by urging countries to take action and secure IT systems: "With the race towards an IoT-dominated future well underway, we must rethink how we design, deploy, and manage our existing infrastructure."

Matt Mills Matt Mills has been involved in various aspects of online media, both on the editorial side and on the technology side, for more than 16 years. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and is currently involved in multiple projects focused on innovation journalism.