The Czech computer security company AVG Technologies has declared Austin, Texas as No. 1 in North America when it comes to online security.

 

The report, based on a survey of 15 North American cities in which nearly 4,000 respondents were interviewed, sought to determine the types of behavior Internet users engage in and how savvy they are when it comes to protecting their identities.

 

The U.S. grabbed the top nine spots for best practices online — New York City is No. 2 — but Montreal rounded out the top spots at No. 10. (Last year, AVG released a list of America's least secure cities.)

 

It's important to note, however, that the survey only included four of the biggest U.S. cities. Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Dallas, San Antonio and San Diego all fall into the top 10 most populated American cities, but are found nowhere on AVG's list.

 

As far as passwords go, AVG found, the majority of Americans and Canadians keep mum. Sixty-five percent of Americans never share their passwords with anyone and 61 percent use a different password for each account.

In Canada, 70 percent keep their lips zipped when it comes to passwords, but less than half create a unique password for each site they use.

 

More than half of the respondents in the U.S. and Canada said they backed up their data on an external hard drive or USB drive. In contrast, a third of respondents in each nation did not back up their smartphone data.

When it comes to fraud prevention, Canadians and Americans have work to do. Only 38 percent of U.S. residents check their bank statements on a regular basis for irregularities. In Canada, that number falls to 28 percent.

 

Between the two countries, AVG found that U.S. cities were generally more secure when they go online.

 

In order, the cities included are:

1. Austin
2. New York City
3. Los Angeles
4. Denver
5. Washington, D.C.
6. Atlanta
7. Chicago
8. Seattle
9. Portland
10. Montreal








 

Despite the San Francisco Bay Area's reputation as the technology capital of the world — it's home to Facebook, Apple, Twitter and Google, just to name a few — San Francisco clocked in at a less-than-stellar No. 11.

 

The remaining cities are all Canadian. In order, they are:

12. Ottawa
13. Toronto
14. Vancouver
15. Quebec City


 

There are simple steps users can take to improve online security. These include only using one credit card for online shopping, installing software that detects spyware, adware and malware, and keeping a close eye on all your accounts.

 

As with most online activities, what you do matters a lot more than where you are. No matter what city you live in, if you browse safely and securely, you too can be as savvy as an Austinite.

 

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This story was originally written for SecurityNewsDaily and is reprinted with permission here. Copyright 2012 SecurityNewsDaily, a TechMediaNetwork company.