Personal computers in America's state capitals have 224% more infections than the rest of their home states. That's according to data released today by ESG, makers of the anti-malware program SpyHunter. ESG looked at the malware infection rates detected on SpyHunter in each state capital and compared it to the average infection rate for the entire state. In 43 of the 50 states, the infection rate was higher in the state capital, in some cases, dramatically so. The capitals in Georgia, New York, Utah, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania each had infection rates that were more than 500% higher than the rest of their respective states. On average, the infection rate in capitals was 224% higher. Here's a list of the ten states with the biggest difference between capital infection rates and the rest of the state.
State Capital Difference in Infection Rate
- Atlanta, Georgia 992% higher in capital
- Albany, New York 970% higher in capital
- Salt Lake City, Utah 772% higher in capital
- Columbia, South Carolina 741% higher in capital
- Charleston, West Virginia 544% higher in capital
- Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 505% higher in capital
On average, the infection rate in capitals was 224% higher. And it wasn't just state capitals. Washington, DC has an infection rate that was 504% higher than the national average.
"It didn't matter if it was a big state, small state, large capital, or small capital, infections were almost always higher," said ESG spokesperson Ryan Gerding. "Now the big question is, why?"
Because ESG's infection data doesn't identify exactly who is being infected or how they got the infections, it's tough to know for certain exactly why infections rates are so much higher. But here are a few guesses:
- It could be that because state capitals are generally the centers of government activity, there may be a higher concentration of computers and computer activity.
- Another thought is that capitals may simply be more desirable targets for the crooks who make some kinds of malware. There may be more valuable computer data to access and compromise in capitals.
- Lastly, could it be possible that the lawmakers and lobbyists and government employees in state capitals just don't practice safe surfing as much as the rest of us?
"We know that a lot of malware infections come from risky online behavior," Gerding said. "This includes things like visiting adult websites, downloading unreliable software, and clicking on links in spam emails and bogus social media messages. Are we saying that politicians and other government employees are more likely to be looking at adult content than the rest of the state? No. But there are certain risky activities that make getting infections much more likely."
It's tough to tell for certain why the infection rate was so much higher in capitals. But there are steps that all computer users—in capitals or elsewhere—should be taking to maximize their computers' safety:
- Regularly back up your data. Ideally, you should have a physical backup (external drive connected to your computer) and a cloud-based backup. Either way, set your computer to back up your files automatically and frequently.
- Set your computer to automatically install any operating system updates that may become available.
- Install a trusted anti-spyware/malware software. Adjust the settings of the security software so that updates are installed automatically.
- Be wary of links that are sent to you in emails or social media messages. "Think about that link"
Full List of State Capital Difference in Infection Rate
Below is a full listing of each state capital and how their infection rate compared to the rest of the state.
|Utah||Salt Lake City||772.83%|
|New Mexico||Santa Fe||80.56%|