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The "Baddest" Top Level Domains - Top 10

February 14, 2020

Around 6 months has passed since we took a peek at Spamhaus's list of what it currently considers are the top 10 most abused domain extensions - and again a lot has changed.

You may not have heard of Spamhaus, but you'd certainly feel the impact if it wasn't around. 

The Spamhaus project has been an ongoing initiative for more than 20 years. A non-profit organisation, it tracks spam and other cyberthreats along with maintaining blacklists relied on by ISPs and hosting services around the world. Your inbox would likely have a lot more spam in it if these blacklists didn't exist.

Something else Spamhaus maintains is its "10 Most Abused Top Level Domains" list.

As at early this week, here's how the list looked, with the "baddest domains" ranked in descending order.

As has been the case when previously reporting on this list, there aren't any domain extensions in the above that appeared back in August, but bear in mind it changes quite often depending on activity. It's based on Spamhaus's observations for the previous 30 days.

What was new this time around is there were five country code top level domains (ccTLDs) in the list - in August last year there were none. Those extensions were .tk (Tokelau), .gq (Equatorial Guinea), .cf (Central African Republic), .ml (Mali) and .ga (Gabon). In some cases, contributing to the "badness" as Spamhaus puts it could be the fact some of these are free to register by anyone in the world - so potentially more open to abuse.

The remainder in the top 10 were new generic Top Level Domains (ngTLDs). 

Spamhaus assigns a score to each extension based in part of how many domains come to its attention and the proportion of those where abuse was noted. In the case of .live, 65% of domains were considered "bad".

Just as a comparison, a tiny .3% of Australian domains were considered bad by the organisation as at early this this week; further highlighting the general excellent credibility of Australian domain names. The result seen this week for Australia is actually an improvement on that of last August (.7%), which was still pretty low.

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