Thursday, July 8, 2010

Halting the Spread of Malware

In some areas of the country, it appears there might there be a need for educational outreach programs on the merits of antiviral software and security firewalls. While major, more metropolitan cities like LA, and NYC have an overall higher rate of malware infections, there is actually a much higher per capita rate in smaller, regional cities.

A map that was recently put out by the Enigma Software Group showing density of malware infection rates has revealed that Atlanta has the highest per-capita of malware infections in the United States. New York City and Los Angeles, perhaps unsurprisingly, had the most incidents of malware infections, but Atlanta trumps the Big Apple and the Big Orange when infections are factored in based on a city's population percentage.

Other cities in the top 5 on a per capita basis included Birmingham, Denver, Chesapeake and Madison. NYC and LA, when scored on a per capita basis, actually finish near the bottom of the list.

There's a tricky parable in here somewhere and I'm trying to tread lightly. This could imply, I suppose, that computers in Atlanta are having a lot more unprotected interactions with one another than in other parts of the country. Perhaps the cities with higher malware infection rates are places where education and preventative measures are not as widespread as they are in more metropolitan area.

Does this call for a public education program in cities where malware is epidemic? Billboards could be put up, encouraging the use of antiviral software and mandatory screening for adware. Parents, perhaps need to have sit down discussions with their teenagers telling them about the importance of not opening strange emails. Certainly if measures are taken, the malware epidemic can be halted.

Okay, I'm making light of it but in fact malware is a serious problem that costs consumers and businesses millions of dollars. It can invade your privacy in any number of big and small ways and like a communicable disease, can be easily spread from one computer to another. So maybe more awareness of the potential threat isn't a bad idea.

On the other side of the spectrum from Atlanta is Jersey City, NJ which can be proud that it has the lowest per capita infection rate of computer malware in the U.S.

Is there really a reason why one city suffers a greater rate of malware than another? According to Alvin Estevez, CEO of the Enigma Software Group, there may be. Estevez says that, "Any time you have a city with high Internet connectivity and a large population of younger people, the Internet traffic is higher and so is the risk for malware infections."

Again, there is a distinctly obvious parable here, but I tread lightly, lightly. . .

What is there to say except, parents, encourage your kids to take precautions. Malware can infect anyone and just because a computer doesn't look like it's infected doesn't mean it isn't.

Lightly, I tread lightly. . .

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