Using Wi-Fi When Travelling: Just How Secure Are EU Countries When It Comes to Internet Connections?


When travelling the globe, sometimes going offline is the only option. But more often than not, it’s very useful to have internet access. You can use it to navigate and find places to visit, and you use your online payment systems for buying goods and services. Travelers can also keep in touch with friends and loved ones as well as watch the news back home and feel less homesick. Yet a lot of crime also happens on the virtual world – which is an issue if you stand to lose a lot.

Cybersecurity Increasingly Important for Websites and Their Users

Most travelers want to have access to a fast, reliable and secure internet connection when on the road – which is why it is important to keep in mind how vulnerable each country is to cybercrime. This is especially interesting in areas like Europe, where it seems that safety across borders should be a given, but in fact there is great disparity with regard to the level of cybersecurity between even neighboring countries. Website Builder Expert recently conducted a survey to determine how EU countries fare in the online security domain, and the results might surprise you.

Website owners and developers are invested in cybersecurity because there are a lot of vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. Often it is web apps that are targeted in order for the criminal to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data. A traditional WAF (Web Application Firewall) is regularly used to eliminate risks like XSS, SQL injection and zero-day threats, protecting websites from OWASP Top 10 dangers while ensuring that websites comply with PCI-DSS standards set up for bank card payments. Yet, according to the particular type and location of a website, it might be more or less open to attacks from hackers.

Malta Ranks Last in Terms of Cybersecurity

The research by Website Builder Expert took into accounts factors like the number of residents who have already fallen victims to cyber-attacks, the frequency of malware incidents, the vulnerability of internet connections and the steps taken by authorities to promote cybersecurity best practices. Malta landed on the first spot on the list of vulnerable countries, scoring 42% on the vulnerability scale, while Greece and Romania came in second and third respectively, with 41%. Maybe there are no great surprises there, but Spain occupies the fifth spot with 40% – the same score with Slovakia, who ranked fourth.

Spain is quite a big country and a favorite destination for many travelers, so it is disquieting to know that it scores so low. This is in large part due to an extremely high percentage of exposed internet connections: 76% of them are “extremely” vulnerable to attacks. Portugal ranked eighth with 39%, which makes the Iberian Peninsula one of the least safe parts of the EU. Malta and Greece are also among the top destinations for summer holidays. Malta in particular seems to be lagging behind in legislative commitment and international cooperation, while 73% of its internet connections are exposed. On the opposite side of the scale, Finland is the safest EU country ranking at just 29% on vulnerability.

So next time you are on a trip in an EU country and you are ready to log onto that public Wi-Fi and transfer some money, think again – and check just how vulnerable you might be. The answer may surprise you.

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