Cyber security and data theft are issues on the minds of many business owners. And while firewalls, malware software, and training help stem the tide of cyber intruders, can the state you live in make you more vulnerable to attack?
According to a recent report by SonicWall (CLICK HERE to get a free copy), 10 states lead the pack for being most at for malware attacks.
Malware attacks often target vulnerable workplaces or agencies. Stolen user data is then resold on the black market, ransomware attacks may be paid out in hard-to-trace cryptocurrencies, and then there's the kick of simply spreading chaos for its own sake.
The states were ranked based on 2021 incidents of malware spread, or the likelihood of an attack. And among top states eight out of 10 are snow states.
Here's a rundown of the states most at risk for malware attacks based on spread:
No. 10 Wisconsin
- Malware spread: 17.9%
- Total malware detected: 44.5 million
No. 9 Montana
- Malware spread: 17.9%
- Total malware detected: 5.2 million
No. 8 New Jersey
- Malware spread: 18.1%
- Total malware detected: 88.2 million
No. 6 Rhode Island
- Malware spread: 18.4%
- Total malware detected: 51.0 million
As a side note about Rhode Island, in 2021, according to an article in Beyond Identity and distributed by Stacker Studio, a notorious fraudster named Manish Kumar was sentenced to two years in prison for his cybercrimes in Rhode Island. In this case, the threat of malware was a criminal bluff—Kumar ran a scam that notified people of malware attacks that weren't real. Then he had colleagues in India sell the victims fake technical support services.
- Malware spread: 18.6%
- Total malware detected: 39.1 million
No. 3 Iowa
- Malware spread: 19.2%
- Total malware detected: 49.6 million
No. 2 South Dakota
- Malware spread: 21%
- Total malware detected: 3.0 million
As a side note, similar to Iowa, 2021 malware attacks in South Dakota tended to target the agriculture center.
No. 1 Kansas
- Malware spread: 21.4%
- Total malware detected: 41.0 million
As a side note, this is Kansas' second year as No. 1. In response to what was seen as a rampant streak of cyber attacks, Governor Laura Kelly formed a cyber attack task force in July 2021. In a statewide survey of schools in particular, administrators reported many school computers didn't have antivirus software installed.