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Study ranks Tampa near top in malware attacks

Posted: 10:36 PM, Jan 18, 2016
Updated: 2016-01-19 00:24:47-05

Tampa is one of the hardest-hit cities in the country when it comes to computer viruses, according to a new study, in fact, Tampa is number two in the nation when it comes to the number of malware infections per person.

But experts tell us it’s an easy problem to prevent.

Cyberattacks are constant, plentiful and come from all over the world.

And it's not hard to become the next victim.

The number one way… risky behavior on the Internet.

“You don't want to go to known places on the internet that might cause you infections,” said Stu Sjouwerman, the founder of Know-be-4, which trains organizations to avoid malware. 

He says cyberattacks are growing by leaps and bounds and often involve a new weapon, called "malvertising”, in which criminals bombard legitimate websites with ads containing malware.

“It's a game like Whack-a-Mole. The bad guys come back and put another malicious ad up there so you truly need to think before you click,” Sjouwerman said.

Tampa finished second nationwide last year when it came to malware infections, with a rate 842 percent above the national average.

Other cities in the top five included Little Rock, St. Louis, Orlando and Denver.

Sjouwerman says malware rates are high because people are clicking on risky sites, like those that offer free porn.

“You should pay for it. Free porn is a total invitation to problems,” he said.

Sjouwerman says opening attachments could download programs onto your computer, which could eventually give cyber attackers access to your personal information and bank accounts.

He says the best way to avoid malware is not to click any attachments.

"You cannot rely on just anti-virus. You have to be your own human fire wall,” Sjouwerman said.

Sjouwerman says if you do want to know more about offers that pop up on websites, go directly to those companies through their homepage.

And, if you notice your computer is suddenly running slow or your browser is acting funny, you might want to get it checked out by an expert.

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