London and Manchester have the highest rates of malware in the UK
London and Manchester have the highest rates of malware in the UK

Malware gets on computers in various ways. Many times, it is installed when computer users click on bogus links in spam emails or hacked social media messages.

New data released by the Enigma Software Group says computers in London, Manchester and Sheffield are the most likely cities in the UK to be infected with malware.

ESG's research team gathered their latest figures based on malware detection data from its anti-spyware program during 2016 in each of the 30 largest cities in the UK.

Manchester's rate was more than 500 percent higher than the national average, while London's rate was 200 percent higher. Sheffield and Derby had infection rates that amounted to more than double the national average.

To remain protected against malware infections, ESG recommends users follow these three essential methods:

  • Make sure your operating system is updated. Change the settings so that updates are automatically installed.

  • Use a trusted anti-virus program and make sure it is set to regularly and automatically scan your computer and install updates.

  • Think twice before clicking on a link in an email message or social media post. Ask yourself if the link seems legitimate and if it's something you were expecting to receive. If in doubt, leave it alone.

“We're not sure what causes infection rates to be significantly higher in one city or another. 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,” said Ryan Gerding, ESG spokesperson.