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McAfee identifies the world's most dangerous domains to surf and search on the web news
04 June 2008

Mumbai: Hong Kong (.hk) domain has jumped 28 places as the most dangerous place to surf and search on the web according to a new McAfee Inc. report called Mapping the Mal Web Revisited, which was released today. Hong Kong takes the mantle from Tokelau, a tiny island of 1,500 inhabitants in the South Pacific.

''Just like the real world, the virtual threats and risks are constantly changing. As our research shows, Web sites that are safe today can be dangerous tomorrow. Surfing the Web based or conventional wisdom is not enough to avoid risk online,'' said Jeff Green, Senior Vice President of Product Development & Avert Labs.

The second annual McAfee Mapping the Mal Web report into the riskiest and safest places on the Web reveals that 19.2 per cent of all Web sites ending in the ''.hk'' domain pose a security threat1 to Web users. China (.cn) is second this year with over 11 per cent.

In contrast Finland (.fi) replaced Ireland (.is) as the safest online destination with 0.05 per cent, followed by Japan (.jp).

The most risky generic domain from 2007's report became more dangerous with 11.8 per cent of all sites ending in .info posing a security threat and is the third most dangerous domain overall while government websites (.gov) remained the safest generic domain.

The most popular domain, .com, is the ninth riskiest overall, says the report. The full McAfee ''Mapping the Mal Web Revisited'' report is available for download at www.mcafee.com/advice

Using its award-winning McAfee SiteAdvisor technology, tests sites for the presence of risky behaviors such as browser exploits, adware/spyware/Trojans/viruses, high likelihood of receiving spam, affiliation with other risky sites, and aggressive pop-up marketing, McAfee analysed 9.9 million heavily trafficked web sites found in 265 different country (those ending in country letters e.g. Brazil .br) and generic (those ending in .net or .info for example) domains.

The study compared the ratings of sites found in each of the 265 country and generic domains and ranked them by the number of risky Web sites found in each domain that contained adware, spyware, viruses, spam, excessive pop-ups, browser exploits or links to other red-rated sites.

It awards red site ratings are given to Web sites that exhibit one or more of these behaviors. Yellow site ratings are given to sites that merit caution before using. Rankings are restricted to 74 heavily tested top level domains and based on per cent of red and yellow sites.

The software can be downloaded free at www.siteadvisor.com and works with Internet Explorer and Firefox.

The World's Most Dangerous Country Web Domains (ranked in order) Overall rank in 2008 Overall rank in 2007 The World's Safest Country Web Domain (ranked in order) Overall rank in 2008 Overall rank in 2007
Hong Kong (.hk)
1 28
Finland (.fi)
74
70
PR of China (.cn)
2 11
Japan (.jp)
72
57
Philippines (.ph)
4 19
Norway (.no)
71 68
Romania (.ro)
5 4
Slovenia (.si)
70
62
Russia (.ru)
8
7
Colombia (.co)
69
64

Among country domains Romania (.ro) and Russia (.ru) remained in the top five most dangerous places with 6.75% and 6% of their Web sites ranked as risky while country domains like Japan (.jp) and Australia (.au) remained safe surfing environments.

Other key findings from McAfee ''Mapping the Mal Web Revisited'' report 2008 include:

  • The chance of downloading spyware, adware, viruses or other unwanted software from surfing the Web increased 41.5 per cent over 2007
  • Sites which offer downloads such as ringtones and screen savers that are also loaded with viruses, spyware and adware increased over the last year from 3.3 per cent to 4.7 per cent
  • The Philippines (.ph) experienced a 270 per cent increase in overall riskiness
  • Tokelau (.tk) and Samoa (.ws) were notably safer in 2008 dropping to 28th and 12th
  • In Europe, Spain (.es) experienced a 91 per cent increase in overall risk

''For administrators of top-level domains this study should act as a wake-up call. Last year's report spurred Tokelau's domain manager to reexamine its policies,'' said Jeff Green, senior vice president, product development and avert  labs. ''Not all domain managers are as accommodating so our mission is to educate consumers of the dangers and protect them in every way they enjoy the Web whether through their PC, the Web itself, or mobile phone. With our new secure search and website safety certification, we're taking the guesswork out of searching and surfing online so that consumers enjoy a safer Web experience.''


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McAfee identifies the world's most dangerous domains to surf and search on the web