I created this graphic with data from the CIA World Factbook, specifically the “Internet Hosts” field, defined as “a computer connected directly to the Internet”, which “normally” sits at an Internet Service Provider (ISP), and the grand total of which is “one indicator” of a nation’s overall Internet connectivity.
The data is from 2012, and encompasses 903,908,845 total Internet-connected computers, starting with the United States (505 million) and ending with the Marshall Islands (3).
This visualization highlights a few important things to consider in the Internet era.
First of all, one 2013 report noted that roughly one-quarter of the world’s malware communications were sent to servers in the U.S. Therefore, it is unsurprising that the U.S. is also home to most of the world’s Internet-connected computers (almost 56%).
Here are the top ten most Internet-connected countries in the world:
- United States (505,000,000)
- Japan (64,453,000)
- Brazil (26,577,000)
- Italy (25,662,000)
- China (20,602,000)
- Germany (20,043,000)
- France (17,266,000)
- Australia (17,081,000)
- Mexico (16,233,000)
- Russia (14,865,000)
But there is much more to learn from this map, especially from countries that punch above their traditional weight (for example, in terms of population or territory) in cyberspace, such as Australia, Israel, Iceland, Singapore, Thailand, and the countries of Scandinavia. Check out South Africa, which dwarfs the rest of the African continent - combined! In Asia, China has 10 times the population of Japan, but Japan has 3 times more Internet-connected computers.
For many countries - especially those with poor human rights records - reducing the number of communication nodes is used to facilitate surveillance, control information space, and collect revenue. I discussed this government strategy at DEF CON in 2007.
It is interesting that South Korea, which has the fastest Internet speed in the world, gives every student a free computer tablet, and ranks #26 on the world population list, has only 315,697 Internet hosts (good for #62, and well below Guatemala). Still, that is far ahead of North Korea, which has 8 (at least one of which is in the office of you-know-who).
Finally, consider that Antarctica*, with no permanent residents (although between 1K-5K researchers), has 7,764 Internet connections, placing it ahead of dozens of member states of the United Nations, including (in descending order) Tajikistan, Jamaica, Cuba, Kuwait, Laos, Rwanda, Nigeria, Qatar, Turkmenistan, Eritrea, Algeria, Tunisia, Haiti, Niger, Mali, Syria, Senegal, Ethiopia, Sudan, Congo, Iraq, Mauritania, Central African Republic, North Korea, and Chad.
- Kenneth Geers
* my Tableau software could not plot Antarctica’s data on this map.