MAL­WARE

The Columbus Dispatch - - Mar­ket Sum­mary - Tferan@dis­patch.com @tim­feran

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.”

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