In the race for national cybersecurity, Belgium is coming in last. The European nation is the country most exposed to hacking and other cyberattacks, according to a list compiled by information security firm Rapid7 released this week.
Rapid7 created a “heat map”of the world by scanning every public-facing IP address in the world. The map compiled a list of “open doors,” or servers that have ports open to an insecure service. While having a port open doesn’t mean the service will be used to steal information, it does make it easier for cybercriminals to use the door for hacking and other illicit online behaviors.
Tajikistan came in second on the list and Samoa third. China was ranked number five and the U.S. was number 14 out of 50 nations. Vietnam was ranked 50th, or the safest country from hacking on the list. The results of the scan surprised even the report’s authors, who had not foreseen Belgium coming in first.
“We expected to find that the most exposed countries were also the richest,” said Tom Beardsley, one of the report’s three authors, the Guardian reported. “If you’re a rich country, you have a lot of internet. But we didn’t find any correlation between the number of nodes and the exposure.”
The report comes several months after Belgium saw twin terror attacks in Brussels in March. Terrorists who had pledged allegiance to the organization known as the Islamic State group or ISIS carried out the bombings at an airport terminal and a busy subway station during rush hour, killing 32 and wounding hundreds more.
Following the attacks, the European Union counterterrorism chief warned that Belgium was at risk of a cyberattack, particularly against its nuclear facilities. At least 11 people working in nuclear plants soon had their security passes revoked over intelligence warnings, Euro News reported at the time.