India was ranked among countries most vulnerable to damaging cyber attacks, data-mining experts from the University of Maryland and Virginia Tech in the United States found. The scientists ranked 44 nations in a book they co-authored. China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and South Korea were also listed among those most susceptible to such attacks. The United States was ranked the 11th safest, while several Scandinavian countries including Denmark, Norway and Finland were ranked among the best protected from cyber crimes.

Lead author VS Subrahmanian, a professor at the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, said they aimed to identify countries’ current cyber security policies and determine how they can be changed to lower exposure to such attacks. In a two-year-long study, the researchers analysed more than 20 billion automatically generated reports that were collected from four million machines worldwide each year.

Their rankings were, in part, based on the number of machines attacked in a country and the number of times each machine was attacked. While machines in the US faced most threats from trojans, viruses and worms, misleading software such as fake anti-virus programs and disk cleanup utilities were far more common in the US compared with other countries.