Most Cyber Crime Prone Countries In The European Union

By Alice Chen on June 17 2020 in Technology

A hacker in action. Image credit: BT Image/Shutterstock.com
A hacker in action. Image credit: BT Image/Shutterstock.com
  • 17.64% of machines in the Netherlands were subject to a cyber attack in 2020
  • Having different passwords is a key aspect of keeping your accounts secure
  • Ireland is the most cyber secure country in Europe

Greater and greater number of people are finding themselves creating identities and storing valuable information online. What was once only for the most tech-savvy people has now become a platform for the masses. Everyone has accounts online and nearly as many people have some form of data or files that they wouldn't want to be hacked or otherwise accessed. Unfortunately, with this rise in technological usage comes a similar rise in cybercriminals who target susceptible people through a variety of methods ranging from basic phishing to malware and ransomware attacks. Some countries are more plagued by this problem than others, so here are the top 10 most cybercrime prone nations in the EU.  

10. Croatia

Starting off the list of the top 10 from the bottom is Croatia. In this country, 4.55% of machines have been subjected to cloud provider incoming attacks, mining encounters, malware encounters, and ransomware encounters. It's such a big issue that Minister of the Interior Davor Božinović has spoken about the issue as the fastest growing security challenge in the country. He specifically cited phishing attacks and called cyber warfare, silent, invisible, and something of which most people are unaware. 

 Image credit: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock.com

9. Hungary

Next up is Hungary. For this nation, a significant 4.83% of machines have been victim to incoming attacks from the cloud and/or encounters with crypto mining, malware, and ransomware. Thankfully there have been strong and concerted efforts towards shoring up this weakness. According to the International Telecommunication Union's cybersecurity ranking, Hungary climbed up from 51st place in 2017 to 19th place in 2019. Still, Balázs Bencsik, head of Hungary's Cyber Security Institute, said that the training of experts needs to be improved. 

8. France

France faces a machine hacking attack rate of 5.41% A study by Symantec found that 19.3 million French citizens were affected by cybercrime in 2017. Of note is the fact that these crimes rarely happen from within the country, in most cases coming from outside jurisdictions. This makes it very hard to follow up on these crimes as to investigate would require the cooperation of another country, meaning police struggle to find culprits in these crimes. Interestingly in the country, there has been a recent shift towards ransomware attacks focusing on larger enterprises rather than consumers and small businesses.

7. Romania

Romania places 7th in this list with a rate of 6.24% of machines subject to hacking attacks and attempts. The Eastern European country is a hub for cyber-related gangs, with large groups like the 2018 gang being charged for the theft of 1 million euros. In this particular case, phishing emails were used and money was withdrawn from ATMs in Romania. And it doesn't stop there with the US Embassy reporting that in 2011 Romanian hackers stole 1 billion dollars from Americans. As a result of this nexus of crime, authorities have developed cybercrime fighting units but their end results are yet to be seen.  

6. Lithuania

Lithuania is a country known for its lush green landscapes and a rich selection of beers. It's also a country that has a 6.40% rate of machines attacked by hackers and outside forces. But this hasn't stopped them from fighting back. The country has created a national Cybercrime Centre of Excellence for training research and education, a group that has also joined a larger network for centers of cybercrime and cybersecurity. Important to note is that the focus of this center is on educating and training law enforcement agents.   

Image credit: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com

5. Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country in southeastern Europe that is often informally referred to as Bosnia. Its landmass is dotted with medieval villages, rivers, lakes, and craggy mountains. It also has a rate of 7.06% for hacking attacks on digital machines in its borders. Studies have shown that cybersecurity is not a priority in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Furthermore, research stresses that the country needs to work on its readiness to contribute to the safety of the internet while improving the quality of life of its citizens.   

4. Ukraine

Ukraine is a country that is currently subject to Russian military intervention, but in addition to this, it is also a country besieged by cybercrime attacks, with 10.35% of its machines involved in these attempts. Like other Eastern European countries on this list, Ukraine is a hotbed of hackers and other online criminal activities. In fact, it ranks among the top 10 in the countries in the world in cybercrime closely mirroring its placement as a country that is subject to a lot of cyberattacks.

3. Belarus

Coming in as the third-highest cybercrime prone country is Belarus, which has a high 10.83% of machines exposed to cybercrime attempts. It is also a hub of cybercrime activity, with Chief of the High-Tech Crimes Investigation Office, Vadim Ustinovich, stating in 2018 that he expected cybercrimes to continue to rise. He further notes that 75% of cybercrime are thefts committed using computer equipment. Figures around cybercrimes may be on the low side as they may not always be reported despite how many people in Belarus are being affected.  

Image credit: Heiko Kueverling/Shutterstock.com

2. Bulgaria

Bulgaria sees a significant jump up in cybercrime attacks with 17.55% of their machines assaulted by outside hackers and criminals. A significant cyber event that happened in 2019 was the hacking of the country's tax agency which resulted in most adults in the country having their data compromised, but even aside from that, there are still a large number of other attacks on computer and other devices as indicated by the stats.

1. Netherlands

Topping out the list is the Netherlands with a whopping 17.64% attack rate on the country's machines. In 2019, roughly 22 out of 100 Dutch individuals fell victim to cybercrime. 8 out of 100 individuals stated that an account they had was hacked in 2019. To combat these activities, the National Cyber Security Centre oversees digital security in the Netherlands, with a focus on monitoring suspect sources on the internet and advising organizations on how to protect themselves online. 

Most Cyber Crime Prone Countries In The European Union

RankCountryThe total of cloud provider related incoming attacks, cryptocurrency mining encounters, malware encounters and ransomware encounters on machines in each country
1Netherlands17.64%
2Bulgaria17.55%
3Belarus10.83%
4Ukraine10.35%
5Bosnia and Herzegovina7.06%
6Lithuania6.40%
7Romania6.24%
8France5.41%
9Hungary4.83%
10Croatia4.55%

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