Which European countries are most at risk of cybercrime?

New research identifies the most cyber insecure countries in Western Europe.

Cybercrime continues to cause problems for governments and businesses around the world. While some countries are certainly better positioned than others to ward off and defend against cyberattacks, every nation remains at risk from malicious threat actors.

Recent research from Specops Software sought to investigate the differing levels of risk that Western European countries face from cybercrime, and identify which country was most likely to encounter cybercrime activity. Collecting data from Microsoft's Security Intelligence report, Specops Software was able to identify the 10 most ‘cyber-insecure' countries in Western Europe as well as the 10 countries in the region least likely to encounter cybercrime activity. The research focused primarily on the frequency that European countries faced cloud provider related incoming attacks on Azure. Additionally, the research analysed the monthly percentage of machines that encountered cryptocurrency mining, malware, and ransomware.  

In recent years, these two areas have become integral to cybercrime strategies. Often, threat actors will target cloud providers such as Azure in order to compromise virtual machines. They then use these machines to assault other devices or deliver spam campaigns - giving them access to an even wider network of devices that can be taken advantage of. Alongside these efforts, cybercriminals also regularly try to infect devices with cryptomining malware that encourages the device to use its own computing power to mine for cryptocurrency. This can cause the device's performance levels to drop which can significantly impact business operations, especially if several devices become infected simultaneously.

The most cyber insecure countries

  1. Netherlands
  2. Bulgaria
  3. Belarus
  4. Ukraine
  5. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  6. Lithuania
  7. Romania
  8. France
  9. Hungary
  10. Croatia

Data suggests that the Netherlands is the country most likely to face cybercriminal activity. The nation experienced a high proportion of cloud provider incoming attacks to Microsoft Azure with 16.28% of accounts in the region facing breaches between Jan-Oct 2019. Yet, while the number of cloud provider incoming attacks was significant, the country hasn't faced high levels of cryptocurrency mining, malware, or ransomware attacks, with incident rates of 0.02%, 1.60%, and 0.02% respectively. Overall, the chances of a device in the Netherlands encountering cybercriminal activity in any given month worked out at 17.64%.

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