Who's got the world's cleanest computers? According to a Norwegian security company, it's Finland.
The company, Norman, analyzed data from its free Malware Cleaner application and broke down rates of infection by country. The Finns had the lowest rate, with just over 24 percent of PCs infected by a virus, worm or Trojan.
Finland has topped other recent studies of computer cleanliness. A Microsoft study last year found an astoundingly low national infection rate of 1.2 per 1,000 machines, and in January a Brussels think tank ranked Finland just behind Israel in terms of preparedness for cyberattacks. The country is known for producing well-known security firms such as F-Secure and Codenomicon, as well as Linux creator Linus Torvalds.
Three other Nordic countries — Norway, Sweden and Denmark — were in the top five. Perhaps there's something about overcast skies, cold fish and Lutheranism that lends itself to computer security.
A very different place — Puerto Rico — was No. 4, which Norman blogger Johanna Puustinen (a Finnish surname, for anyone keeping score) had no explanation for.
Also in the top 10 cleanest were the poor African nation of Sudan and the isolated Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar, perhaps indicating that fewer links to the Internet might lead to low infection rates.
That hypothesis would certainly be supported by the ranking of totally-wired South Korea as the world's second "dirtiest" country in terms of malware, with more than half of its PCs infected. Other studies have put South Korea tops in broadband penetration and speed, but then again "clean" countries such as the Nordics and the Netherlands aren't far behind in being technology forward.
The world's most malware-ridden country? Albania, according to Norman. Sixty-five percent of machines in the poor Balkan nation that were scanned by Malware Cleaner reported infections.