This Is the Most Malware-Infested City in America
Where you live could be putting your cybersecurity at risk.
Cybersecurity has never been more important, especially with all of the data breaches we hear more and more about in the news. Hackers can attack your computer and digital information by using malware, short for malicious software. These programs can infiltrate your computer without your consent and they include everything from viruses that corrupt your data before spreading to other computers, to spyware that can steal your money or identity. Unfortunately, if you live in one Southern city, you need to take extra precautions against these cyber threats. Learn more about the top mobile security threats of 2021 and the best ways to stay safe.
Atlanta, Georgia, is the city with the highest malware infection rate in the country, according to EnigmaSoft. Researchers at the company, which produces the SpyHunter 5 anti-malware software, compiled data from SpyHunter over the first six months of 2018 to identify which American cities are most affected by malware. According to a press release, the infections SpyHunter detected ranged from “nuisanceware” that simply slowed down computers to ransomware that threatens to delete files unless the user pays a ransom. Are you an avid smartphone user? Here’s everything you need to know about malware on iPhones.
Atlanta’s malware infection rate was more than 1,000 percent higher than the national average. Next on the list were Orlando, Florida, and Denver, Colorado, (both with infection rates greater than 900 percent above average), followed by St. Louis, Missouri, and Tampa, Florida.
“It’s hard to say exactly why one city or state has a higher rate of infection than others,” EnigmaSoft spokesperson Ryan Gerding said in the press release. “There’s a wide variety at the top of the list. Larger cities, smaller cities, and cities in every geographic area. The same is true for the least infected areas. New York and San Francisco ranked near the very bottom of the list.”
EnigmaSoft also identified the states with the highest malware infection rates. The top five, starting with the most infected, are Colorado, New Hampshire, Virginia, New Jersey, and Oregon.
On August 16, 2019, following the release of this data, a number of locations in Texas fell victim to a malware attack. Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered a level two alert in the state’s emergency response system. While many details regarding the attack were not released to the public, we know that it is one of the biggest planned attacks to this day. Check for viruses and see how to remove hidden malware on your Android.
“Ransomware usually spread through phishing but this was not the case here,” explains Patrick Smith, Editor-in-Chief of Fire Stick Tricks. “This attack was targeted at smaller cities and towns, and as they do not have dedicated IT departments, and they mostly rely on IT contractors or outsourcing companies. Most probably, an employee of such a contractor helped the hackers.”
Most of the cities affected used offline backups to restore their computer systems while others just rebuilt what was lost instead of paying the $2.5 million the hackers asked for in ransom. Texas pulled in assistance from the FBI, Homeland Security, Texas A&M University, along with other relevant agencies according to Smith.
The bottom line is, while some cities have been known to be more greatly targeted, no one is completely safe. To protect your devices from malware, regularly backup your data, either onto an external drive or the cloud, make sure your computer automatically installs operating system updates, and look out for suspicious emails or messages on social media. If you live in one of the most infected cities or states, you may want to consider installing anti-malware programs. Next, check out our guide full of everything you need to know to keep your phone safe.
- EnigmaSoft: “Atlanta, Orlando, and Denver Have the Highest Malware Infection Rates Among Major Cities in the U.S. During First Half of 2018”
- DIR: “Update on Texas Local Government Ransomware Attack”
- Patrick Smith, Fire Stick Tricks