A sad day for modern society
By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
In the old days, massive snowstorms or power blackouts often resulted in increased birth rates nine months later.
Examples are many. The Orlando Sentinel and other news outlets reported that the 2004 hurricane season generated a Florida baby boom in 2005. After the New York City blackout of 1965, The New York Times reported that local hospitals experienced record-high births nine months later — in some cases more than doubling the number of births on that day in the previous year.
In a sad commentary on contemporary life, this baby-making trend may be endangered.
It turns out that on Tuesday, when Winter Storm Stella kept people inside, they spent more time on their computers and got more computer viruses.
Data backing up this turn of events was released on Wednesday by the Enigma Software Group, makers of the SpyHunter anti-spyware program (enigmasoftware.com).
Enigma looked at infections on its customer's computers in the northeast and compared them to infections in the days leading up to the storm. They found infections spiked anywhere from 15 to more than 90 percent in some areas inundated by Stella.
New York City was one of the municipalities hardest hit, with an 83.43 percent jump in computer infections on Tuesday, according to Enigma.
This data may confirm research by Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University, showing that millennials are having less sex than baby boomers and Generation X.
But it doesn’t explain why Boston, with all of its college students, saw only a 37.65 percent increase. Philadelphia’s infections increased 14.95 percent.
New Yorkers weren’t the only ones bypassing the real world for online comforts during the storm.
Highly infected states include New Jersey, with an 88.25 percent spike in computer infections on Tuesday; Pennsylvania, up by 79.18 percent; and Connecticut, with infections jumping 91.47 percent. Infections in Massachusetts increased only 27.06 percent.
"Any time we see a large number of people change their online habits, we see a change in infections," Enigma spokesman Ryan Gerding said in a statement.
"On Tuesday you had millions of people who stayed home from school and work. When they were snowed in, they went online, and when they went online, they got infections,” he said.
Gerding listed a few ways viruses and malware gets onto people’s computers.
Some come bundled with other software downloaded from the internet; some come from adult web sites that ask people to download a special viewer; and many times they come from links sent in emails and social media messages by criminals.
Enigma advises installing an anti-malware program on your computer; backing up all your important files to an external hard drive and in the cloud; installing updates automatically; and being especially alert before clicking on a link in email or social media.