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April 6 , 2010

Burlington residents at greatest risk for cybercrime

The Norton Top 10 Riskiest Online Cities Report Reveals Who in Canada is Most Vulnerable to Cybercrime

Cybercrime is a leading cause of identity fraud and a growing threat affecting many Canadians. A new study by Norton from Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC) and independent research firm Sperling's BestPlaces has exposed the country's top 10 cities most vulnerable to this lucrative form of digital crime.

While bigger cities such as Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto often top the list in crime reports, Burlington, Ont., placed first in the rankings to claim the title of the Riskiest Online City, according to Norton. This economic hub and one of the province's fastest growing municipalities ranked at or near the top in categories such as cybercrimes, consumer expenditures on computer hardware and software, and Internet access.

Two smaller cities in B.C., Port Coquitlam and Langley, trailed just behind to claim second and third place due to high scores in cybercrimes as well.

"This study is a real eye-opener, demonstrating that larger urban centres, such as Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, which have a diverse mix of high and low income communities, don't necessarily have the same level of Internet access as do wealthier suburbs like Burlington, Oakville and Kelowna," said Lynn Hargrove, Director, Consumer Solutions, Symantec Canada. "Residents in areas with more access to computers, the Internet and WiFi hotspots will go online more often to shop, bank and communicate with family and friends, making them greater targets for cybercriminals."

The rankings were determined through a combination of Symantec Security Response's data on cyberattacks and potential malware infections, as well as third-party data about online behavior, such as Internet accessibility and WiFi hotspots.

The following are ranked the Norton Top 10 Riskiest Online Canadian Cities:
1. Burlington, ON
2. Port Coquitlam, BC
3. Langley, BC
4. Vancouver, BC
5. Calgary, AB
6. Oakville, ON
7. Markham, ON
8. Toronto, ON
9. Kelowna, BC
10. Kitchener, ON

Both Vancouver and Toronto rank high in the consumer expenditure and WiFi hotspot categories, placing them near the top of the list as riskiest. Oakville's residents spend more on Internet access and computer expenditures than residents of any other city in Canada, with Markham's residents not far behind. Calgary also has high consumer expenditures and Internet access. Kelowna and Kitchener both place high due largely to high levels of cybercrimes.

Of the 50 Canadian cities examined, most of Quebec's municipalities ranked among the least riskiest. Longueuil, for example, ranked lowest across the board in all areas, including cybercrime, access to the Internet, expenditures on computer equipment, and wireless Internet access. Sherbrooke and Gatineau came in second and third, respectively, to round out the bottom of the list.

"Despite people's familiarity with technology and the Internet, this study shows that everyone is exposed to a certain level of risk when they are online," said Bert Sperling, founder and researcher of Sperling's BestPlaces. "No matter where you live - be it Burlington or Longueuil - it's important to be vigilant in everyday online behavior in order to protect yourself against cybercrime of all types."

Top 3 Safety Tips from Norton
No matter where your city ranks on the list, people everywhere can benefit from online safety tips to help prevent becoming a victim of a cybercrime:

- Use legitimate security software that offers complete protection against known and unknown online threats - There are a lot of security solutions to choose from, but comprehensive security solutions like Norton Internet Security and Norton 360 will ensure
you're fully protected against malware, spyware, hackers, zero-day threats, and identity theft. Parents should also protect their kids too from online threats and inappropriate content by using OnlineFamily.Norton, a free family safety solution.

- Always keep your computer's operating system and the software you run
on it patched - Don't ignore prompts to update your OS or applications with critical security fixes. Cybercriminals can get in through "holes" in unpatched computers.

- Stay educated - Visit the Norton site www.everyclickmatters.com and download the Norton Family Online Safety Guide to learn more about the realities of cybercrime and how to stay protected.

To develop these rankings, researchers at Sperling's BestPlaces analyzed data for each city including the number of cyber attacks and infections (data provided by Symantec Security Response), level of Internet access, expenditures on computer hardware and software and wireless hotspots.

The Norton Top 10 Riskiest Online Cities study analyzed 50 of the largest cities in the Canada, by population defined by Statistics Canada.

Full survey content and additional details regarding methodology, criteria and sources are available upon request.

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