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The Most "Dangerous" Domain Names

Published October 27, 2010

The third annual report  from McAfee "Mapping the Mal Web - The World's Riskiest Domains" has a few surprises this year; but Australian domain name owners and those visiting Australian sites will be happy to know space is one of the safest in the world.

McAfee says that "risky" sites, those that may contain malware, constituted an unweighted 5.8% of all domains from around the world tested, up from 4.1% in 2007 and 2008.

The five TLDs with the greatest risky registrations are (weighted risks):

-  .CM (Cameroon) - 36.7%
-  .COM (Commercial) - 32.2%
- .CN (China) - 23.4%
- .WS (Samoa) - 17.8%
- .INFO (Information) - 15.8%

Sites registered to Asia-Pacific TLDs are significantly riskier than the web overall, with an average risk of 13.0%. While Australia is in the Asia-Pacific, it is one of the few exceptions in terms of risk level.

Seeing .com at number two will be a surprise for many, but McAfee points out that scammers prefer registrars with inexpensive registrations, bulk registrations and "no questions asked" registration - a feature common with .com domain name registrars.

The often occurring "no questions asked" approach of  registering .com names is quite a contrast to domain name registration as potential registrants are asked additional questions and when in doubt as to the validity of information provided,  ethical registrars will perform checks to ensure the information is correct. This not only helps protect web site visitors from those who would seek to use them to serve malware, but also helps provide some protection against the rampant practice of cybersquatting.

This thoroughness is reflected in McAfee's results with Australia ranking 93 on its "Worldwide Risk Rank" out of 104 TLD (Top Level Domains) and ccTLD (country code Top Level Domains) - making the space one of the safest to visit in the world.

Source (PDF)

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