'Tis the season for online shopping, and for internet users with bad security habits it's also the season to end up with a malware infection.
Reports from Enigma Software's SpyHunter anti-malware app reveal that malware infections spiked 123% during Thanksgiving weekend alone—an ominous portent of a malware season to come.
In the age of BYOD, businesses need to be aware of malware infection rates and risks. Machines used at home are often used at work, and vice versa, making this news just as pertinent to home users as it is to businesses.
If you live, or work, in one of the following 10 cities you should be especially concerned. These 10 topped the list for malware infections during the holiday weekend, so businesses and home users should take the time to update software, scan devices, and be sure any machine entering a work network is protected and malware-free.
SEE: IT leader's guide to the threat of fileless malware (Tech Pro Research)
The 10 most infected cities during Thanksgiving weekend 2017
Percentages listed indicate increased infection rate over the norm.
1. Charlotte, NC
Black Friday: 66.86%
Sunday: 213.28%Cyber Monday: 700.23%
Weekend overall: 316.29%
Black Friday: 701.67%
Sunday: 81.63%Cyber Monday: 112.94%
Weekend overall: 275.78%
3. New York
Black Friday: 243.81%
Sunday: 243.23%Cyber Monday: 220.85%
Weekend overall: 237.92%
4. Salt Lake City
Black Friday: 153.19%
Sunday: 285.11%Cyber Monday: 153.19%
Weekend overall: 212.77%
5. Sacramento, CA
Black Friday: 199.52%
Sunday: 361.17%Cyber Monday: 56.89%
Weekend overall: 210.22%
SEE: Cybersecurity in an IoT and mobile world (free PDF) (ZDNet/TechRepublic special report)
6. Grand Rapids, MI
Black Friday: 120.59%
Sunday: 76.47%Cyber Monday: 286.03%
Weekend overall: 203.31%
7. Austin, TX
Black Friday: 238.79%
Sunday: 132.76%Cyber Monday: 290.52%
Weekend overall: 190.95%
8. St. Louis
Black Friday: 204.52%
Sunday: 150.10%Cyber Monday: 232.30%
Weekend overall: 179.04%
9. Columbus, OH
Black Friday: 199.34%
Sunday: 58.47%Cyber Monday: 282.98%
Weekend overall: 169.63%
Black Friday: 34.50%
Sunday: 288.89%Cyber Monday: 28.65%
Weekend overall: 167.54%
You can fight malware infections on your machine using the following tips from Enigma Software:
- Always install OS updates when they become available.
- Make sure you have an antivirus product installed. Keep it updated and schedule regular scans.
- Beware of links in emails, even ones that look legitimate. When in doubt, navigate to the webpage yourself using your internet browser.
- If a website asks you to install software prior to browsing, don't do it. Malicious software often masquerades as updates to Flash player or other harmless software. If the site says you don't have it, go to the site in question and download the update/missing plugin from them.
- Social media messages that contain links should always be verified with the sender as being legitimate. A random link to a shopping site is more likely to be coming from a compromised account than a friend of family member.
- These 10 US states have the highest rate of malware infections in the country (TechRepublic)
- Security: Making yourself a hard target for hackers is easier than you think (ZDNet)
- The top 5 malware threats targeting Macs (TechRepublic)
- Facebook Messenger user? Watch out for fake messages rigged with malware (ZDNet)
Brandon Vigliarolo has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.