in at the top of the list with a 316 percent increase. That was followed by Detroit, which had a 275 percent increase; New York with a 237 percent increase; and Salt Lake City with a 212 percent increase.
One other Ohio city was in the top 40 — Cleveland was 15th with a 146.6 percent increase for the weekend.
By day, malware infections rose in Columbus by 199.3 percent on Black Friday, 137.7 percent on Saturday, 58.47 percent on Sunday and 282.98 percent on Cyber Monday.
Columbus also made the top-40 list last year, with a 96.7 increase over the average infection rate during the holiday weekend.
“I’m afraid it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better,” said Matt Curtin, cybersecurity expert and founder of Interhack Corporation.
“What we are seeing is infrastructure that
is vulnerable,” Curtin said.
“We don’t necessarily think of computers and phones as infrastructure, but they are. The fact is the entire world is connected so closely now by that infrastructure. You might live in a great neighborhood, a gated community, with guards. But you’re still five router hops away from the Russian mob.”
Enigma compiled the report by looking at infections reported on its SpyHunter antimalware software installed on computers throughout the United States. It compared those infections with the average number of infections detected in the month leading up to the holiday shopping weekend.
The most common ways that cybercrooks target personal computers include: spam emails and links promising great deals; fake emails that look like they are from real online retailers; and “poisoned” search results, which has crooks making fake web pages that show up in Google searches for particular products.
The problem has gotten worse across the country over the past few years. Last year, infections over the holiday shopping weekend jumped 106 percent. That was higher than 2015’s spike, which was 84 percent, and 2014’s rise of 42 percent.
National figures showed that Cyber Monday had the biggest jump in infections — increasing 137 percent over typical levels. But every day between Black Friday and Cyber Monday showed a jump of more than double the usual number of infections.
Just because the Black Friday weekend is over doesn’t mean that consumers can let their guard down.
“In fact, last year, the biggest day for malware infections during the holiday shopping season didn’t come until the middle of December,” Gerding said. “So, it’s important to always remain vigilant.”