Computer virus attacks, malware infections drop to 17 percent in U.S.; Experts say it's due to Catholics giving up porn for Lent

Virus attacks and malware infections reportedly dropped to 17 percent in the U.S. since February, according to a security software company. Experts at the Enigma Software Group (ESG) suggested that this might be tied to Catholics giving up pornography for the Lenten season.

(Reuters/Kacper Pempel)A man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture taken on May 13, 2017.

Since the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, experts at the ESG saw the drop on virus attacks and malware infections via its SpyHunter software. Noticing the trend, ESG engineers then rounded up specific cities with the most number of Catholics to check for patterns.

"It's very common for people who participate in Lenten activities to curtail usage of things like social media and technology in general in the weeks leading up to Easter," Ryan Gerding from ESG said to explain why they picked Catholic cities in the U.S. "They may also reduce the amount of time spent on adult websites, which are common sources of malware infections. We think all of those activities together help to explain why infections are dropping during Lent," he continued.

Gerding also said that his company observed the same patterns during Lent in 2016, which saw a 14 percent drop. For this year, the drop rates in virus infections were even larger in specific places compared to the national average.

Pittsburgh resulted in a 38 percent drop in virus attacks since the start of Lent, while Boston and New York's numbers were not far behind with 36 percent and 31 percent, respectively. Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Las Vegas had virus drop rates between 21 to 23 percent. Miami, Minneapolis and Milwaukee had virus drop rates from 11 to 18 percent.

But a survey conducted by a popular adult entertainment site at the end of 2016 and 2017 indicated that there were no significant decrease and changes to its members' activity during Lent. Engineers at Pornhub, however, noticed a spike in searches for "bunny" at Easter.

Experts also say that adult entertainment websites are prone to virus attacks and malware infection because of these sites high traffic volume and the fact that most users won't usually report this due to shame or embarrassment.