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Cyber Hygiene Index

Measuring the riskiest states

A survey was conducted by Ponemon Institute, sponsored by Webroot, to measure consumers' ability to protect themselves from online criminal attacks. The findings were compiled into a Cyber Hygiene Index (CHI). It defines cyber hygiene as "an individual’s ability to maintain a high level of readiness in order to prevent, detect and respond to cyber-related attacks such as malware, phishing, ransomware and identity/credential theft."

Florida ranked worst for cyber hygiene, followed by Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico and Illinois.

The state with the best hygiene was New Hampshire.

The survey asked a variety of questions, examples include:

  • Over the past year, did you have your identity stolen?
  • Do you use anti-virus software on your laptop, desktop or smart phone?
  • How frequently do you update your computer operating system?
  • Do you ever share passwords or other access credentials with others?
  • Do you use public WiFi when traveling for business or leisure?

Read the full report

Did you know that 50 percent of Americans don't use antivirus software?

This was just one of the surprising stats revealed from the survey.

Webroot compiled a summary of what the top and bottom states are doing wrong.

What the riskiest states are doing wrong

  • Identity theft had little to no impact on their cyber hygiene habits. That means even after learning the consequences first hand, very few people changed their habits.
  • These states had the highest per-person average (28 percent) of having experienced 10+ malware infections in a single year.
  • 50 percent+ of respondents in Florida, Illinois, Montana, and 45 percent of respondents from New Mexico and Wyoming said they don’t use any kind of antivirus or internet security.
  • 47 percent of respondents never back up their data.
  • An average of 72 percent share their passwords.

What the safest states are doing right

  • Following cases of identity theft, nearly 80 percent of respondents from the 5 safest states reported that they had altered their online habits, and almost 60 percent changed their passwords.
  • Only 14.4 percent of respondents the safe states experienced 10 or more infections a year.
  • The safest states typically reported running paid-for antivirus/security solutions, rather than freeware, unlike their risky counterparts.
  • Finally, nearly half (43 percent) of the 5 safest states automatically update their operating systems, and 35 percent of respondents regularly back up their data, either on a daily or continuous basis.
  • And of the top 4, password sharing was hardly an issue (88 percent of respondents from those states reported they don’t share passwords at all.)
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