Malware infections see 20 percent drop on World Cup match days

The rate of computer malware infections has dropped by an average of 20 percent on game days in countries whose teams are playing in the World Cup, according to data published by EnigmaSoft, a maker of anti-malware software. The drop in malware infections is seen as a sign that on game days, people are switching off their computers and tuning in to watch the games instead.

The findings are based on data compiled from worldwide users of EnigmaSoft’s anti-malware platform, SpyHunter, who report new infections of malware through the software.

Since the World Cup kicked off in Russia on June 14, the number of people reporting new malware infections has dropped by an average of 19.88 percent on match days for countries whose teams are playing that day.

A computer screen shows the 2018 FIFA World Cup emblem in a Moscow branch of Liga Stavok, one of the leading Russian betting companies. (Getty Images)

“A day to day drop that dramatic can only happen when people get offline in massive amounts,” explains EnigmaSoft spokesperson, Ryan Gerding. “We think the World Cup games are a big enough distraction to make that big of an impact.”

Here’s a breakdown of the countries the data was compiled from and the percentage of the drop in infections experienced on match days.

  • Uruguay – 41.39% drop
  • Croatia – 28.93% drop
  • Mexico – 23.48% drop
  • Sweden – 21.87% drop
  • Belgium – 21.82% drop
  • France – 19.14% drop
  • Colombia – 19.07% drop
  • Switzerland – 18.25% drop
  • Spain – 18.18% drop
  • Germany – 17.96% drop
  • Brazil – 17.55% drop
  • England – 16.88% drop

But apparently, the drop in infections is just a temporary one.

“In each country that experienced a drop on game day, infections jumped back up again to normal levels the very next day,” explained Gerding. “We anticipated that as the games move through the quarterfinal rounds, the malware will drop even more on game day as the games become even more significant.”

Ironically, the one country in the tournament not to experience a drop in malware when its team is playing in the World Cup, is host nation Russia. On match days when the national team was playing, Russia actually saw a 5.98 percent increase in malware infections.

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