Computers in Manchester, London, and Sheffield are more likely than computers in any other city in the UK to be infected with malware. The Enigma Software Group (ESG) research team compiled their latest data based on malware detection data from SpyHunter during 2016 in each of the 30 largest cities in the UK. Manchester had the highest rate, and it wasn't even close. Manchester's rate was more than 500% higher than the national average. London, Sheffield, and Derby each had infection rates more than double the national average. Leicester rounded out the top five.
"We're not sure what causes infection rates to be significantly higher in one city or another," said ESG spokesperson Ryan Gerding. "There could be a number of factors including the demographics of the area, how widespread PC usage is (versus Mac or mobile devices), we've even seen weather play a role in infections from time to time. The important thing is that people in these specific areas, and everywhere else for that matter, need to always remain vigilant against malware, spyware, and other heinous online activity."
Malware gets on computers in a number of different ways. Sometimes it comes bundled with other legitimate software that users download from websites. Many times malware is installed when computer users click on bogus links in spam emails or hacked social media messages. Still, others get tricked into downloading malware by adult websites and illegal video streaming sites.
"Malware makers are always looking for ways to trick you into clicking on a link that will deliver their payload," Gerding says. "Unfortunately, computers in Manchester, London, and Sheffield seem to be more susceptible to these scammers."
Infections can range from the annoying to the downright criminal. Some infections cause more pop up ads to show up when users are browsing the web. Other infections can secretly change your default homepage and search engine. Still, others create bogus messages claiming there is a different kind of infection on a user's computer, and then ask the user to pay to remove the infections. One of the most insidious infections is called ransomware. Those infections lock up valuable files on your computer (photos, Word documents, movies) and refuse to unlock them unless you pay a ransom.
3 Essential Methods for Consumers to Remain Protected Against Malware Infections
- Make sure your operating system is up to date. And change the settings so that updates are automatically installed.
- Use a trusted anti-spyware program. We obviously recommend SpyHunter. But whatever program you use, make sure it is set to regularly and automatically scan your computer and install updates.
- "Think about that link". If you are asked to click on a link in an email message or a social media post, think twice. Ask yourself whether the link seems legitimate and if it's something you were expecting to receive. If you have any doubt, leave it alone.
Top UK Cities with the Highest Per Capita Malware infection Rates in 2016
- Manchester 523% higher than the national average
- London 200% higher than the national average
- Sheffield 163% higher
- Derby 151% higher
- Leicester 66% higher
- Liverpool 64% higher
- Southampton 51% higher
- Nottingham 31% higher
- York 11% higher
- Cardiff 5% lower than the national average.