Malware Infections Spike 123% Over 2017 Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend

malware infections spike 2017 thanksgiving weekendComputer malware infections jumped 123% from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. That's according to data released by Enigma Software Group (ESG), makers of the anti-malware software SpyHunter. ESG looked at infections reported on our SpyHunter anti-malware software installed on computers throughout the United States and compared those infections to the average number of infections detected in the month leading up to the holiday shopping weekend. ESG found a 123.65% spike.

"We believe a big part of the jump in infections is directly related to online holiday shopping," said ESG spokesperson Ryan Gerding. "First, any time there are more people engaging in more activity online, infections will go up. Millions of Americans spent more time shopping online this weekend than they normally would. Second, we believe malware makers are taking advantage of people's online habits to trick them into clicking on links that will cause infections. Sophisticated phishing attacks appear to be particularly strong this season."

ESG's data found that Cyber Monday showed the biggest jump in infections, with an increase of 137% over typical levels. But every day between Black Friday and Cyber Monday showed a jump of more than double the usual number of infections:

  • Black Friday saw a 110% spike
  • Saturday the 24th saw a 119% spike
  • Sunday the 25th saw a 127% spike
  • Cyber Monday saw a 137% spike

Last year infections over the holiday shopping weekend jumped 106%.

ESG also looked at malware infection rates in several large cities over the four days between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Charlotte had the largest spike in infections with a whopping 316% increase. Followed by Detroit, which had a 275% increase; New York with a 237% increase; and Salt Lake City with a 212% increase. A full list of the 40 major cities with the highest infection spike is below.

"Just because the first weekend of the holiday shopping season is past us doesn't mean consumers should let their guard down," Gerding said. "In fact, last year, the biggest day for malware infections during the holiday shopping season didn't come until the middle of December. So, it's important to always remain vigilant."

Top 5 tips to protect yourself from malware infections during the holiday shopping season and beyond

  1. Make sure your computer's operating system is up-to-date, and is scheduled to install updates automatically.
  2. You should have a reliable anti-malware software like SpyHunter installed, and make sure to run frequent scans and updates.
  3. Never click on links in suspicious or unsolicited emails. Sometimes, emails may appear to come from a legitimate source but are, in fact, spam and may contain malicious links.
  4. Be wary of unfamiliar websites that ask you to install software before continuing with your shopping. Unwanted or unfamiliar sites may have malicious scripts or links.
  5. Be cautious of links found in social media messages. Such links include those found on Twitter direct messages and messages sent to you via Facebook. Potentially malicious messages may look like they are coming from your friends, but there's a good chance their account has been compromised and cybercrooks are attempting to trick you.

40 major cities with the highest infection spike during the 2017 Thanksgiving weekend

CITY BLACK FRIDAY SATURDAY SUNDAY CYBER MONDAY HOLIDAY WEEKEND
Charlotte 66.86% 284.79% 213.28% 700.23% 316.29%
Detroit 701.67% 206.89% 81.63% 112.94% 275.78%
New York 243.81% 243.81% 243.23% 220.85% 237.92%
Salt Lake City 153.19% 259.57% 285.11% 153.19% 212.77%
Sacramento 199.52% 223.30% 361.17% 56.89% 210.22%
Grand Rapids 120.59% 330.15% 76.47% 286.03% 203.31%
Austin 238.79% 101.72% 132.76% 290.52% 190.95%
St. Louis 204.52% 129.26% 150.10% 232.30% 179.04%
Columbus, OH 199.34% 137.71% 58.47% 282.98% 169.63%
Baltimore 34.50% 318.13% 288.89% 28.65% 167.54%
Kansas City 31.66% 633.54% -62.38% 50.47% 163.32%
Denver 138.90% 129.53% 210.72% 146.70% 156.46%
Chicago 146.83% 178.04% 156.28% 140.21% 155.34%
Boston 163.98% 48.04% 196.09% 212.14% 155.06%
Cleveland 214.55% 188.09% 110.19% 73.44% 146.57%
Miami 133.11% 133.11% 138.18% 128.04% 133.11%
Louisville 156.15% 25.90% 12.88% 334.15% 132.27%
Little Rock 238.24% 145.10% 37.25% 96.08% 129.17%
San Diego 175.36% 7.66% 115.32% 196.07% 123.60%
Phoenix 123.21% 93.91% 177.51% 90.46% 121.27%
Milwaukee 110.35% 137.88% 106.42% 102.49% 114.29%
Washington, DC 76.47% 180.95% 135.29% 64.18% 114.22%
Tampa 71.43% 133.77% 66.23% 177.92% 112.34%
Pittsburgh 87.09% 142.89% 110.07% 106.78% 111.71%
Dallas 42.18% 70.14% 184.36% 141.23% 109.48%
Portland 152.39% 205.75% 70.31% 2.60% 107.76%
Houston -23.04% -11.81% 302.46% 130.89% 99.63%
Buffalo 105.76% 122.22% 19.34% 126.34% 93.42%
Las Vegas -53.22% 176.80% 153.41% 75.44% 88.11%
San Antonio 68.56% 42.96% 94.17% 145.38% 87.77%
Indianapolis 106.41% 29.01% 52.46% 160.36% 87.06%
Raleigh 29.64% 67.99% 102.68% 141.02% 85.33%

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