Africa web surfing safe


Image: AVG's view of the web risk hotspots. By AVG
AVG's view of the web risk hotspots

Security firm AVG reports that Africa is one of the safest continents for surfing the web.


AVG conducted a survey of over 100 million PCs in 144 countries to compile its latest report on internet surfing risks. Based on the results, the company determined the average chances of a web surfer in every country facing an internet attack. It found the highest risks were faced by internet users in Turkey and Russia, while users in Japan and Sierra Leone had the lowest risk in the world.

Ten of the safest countries to surf the internet are in Africa, according to the survey. However, Africa as a whole was slightly riskier than South America, which was rated the safest continent in the world for web surfers. North America was rated the riskiest.


Globally, the average internet user has a 1 in 73 chance of falling prey to malware or viruses. In Turkey, users have a 1 in 10 chance of being attacked. In Russia, this drops to a 1 in 15 chance.

Other areas where web surfers are disproportionately at risk include Bangladesh (1 in 41), Pakistan (1 in 48) and in SE Asia, Vietnam and Laos (where the chances of facing an attack are both 1 in 42). The US is at number nine when it comes to the riskiest places to go online (1 in 48) , UK is ranked 30th (1 in 63), Australia 36th (attack ratio = 1 in 75) while German web surfers chances of being attacked is 1 in 83.

Sierra Leone had the fewest attacks with on average one in 692 web surfers facing an attack. Niger too fared well, with just one in 442 surfers on average being attacked. The overall average for Africa is 1 in 108.

According to AVG spokesperson, Roger Thomson, “ Our research tells us a lot about the behaviour of web surfers worldwide. Internet users in Turkey, Russia, the Caucasus and South-east Asia for example show disproportionately higher rates of being attacked than the global average of 1 in 73.

“ There are a number of reasons for this. Some of it may be down to a tendency to access semi-legal or illegal download sites, while some of it probably is down to being less cautious when it comes to sharing links and files online. Another factor is the popularity of Internet cafes and people generally sharing computers. However, it is safe to say that even in these countries, a minority of users account for a large proportion of attacks.”

“ If you look at Japan at the other end of the scale - a country where both Internet use and broadband protection is very high - our software only picked up a web attack for every 403rd user. Our take on this is that Japanese web surfers are generally more aware of safe and risky surfing behaviours.

The risks in Africa were found to be as follows:

North Africa
Egypt 1 in 62.4
Algeria 1 in 86.9
Libya 1 in 87.7
Mauritania 1 in 92.4
Tunisia 1 in 110.7
Morocco 1 in 112.1
Average 1 in 74

Sub-Saharan Africa
Mali 1 in 49.9
Sudan 1 in 53.9
Nigeria 1 in 67.5
Benin 1 in 76.6
Ghana 1 in 99.4
Ivory Coast 1 in 101.5
Gabon 1 in 113.1
Angola 1 in 129.7
Botswana 1 in 134.4
Ethiopia 1 in 135.8
Senegal 1 in 140.6
Uganda 1 in 153.6
Liberia 1 in 153.8
Burkina Faso 1 in 163.4
South Africa 1 in 172.3
Tanzania 1 in 180.6
Kenya 1 in 216.1
Zambia 1 in 262.2
Mozambique 1 in 263.8
Zambia 1 in 262.2
Namibia 1 in 353.1
Togo 1 in 359.4
Niger 1 in 442.0
Sierra Leone 1 in 696.0
Average 1 in 152.7

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