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News

McAfee domain survey puts Hong Kong at the top of the risk list

McAfee : 04 June, 2008  (Technical Article)
From Finland in the safest position to Hong Kong in the most dangerous position, McAfee report informs surfers of risky domains
The 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 report called "Mapping the Mal Web Revisited" which is 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% of all Web sites ending in the ".hk" domain pose a security threat to Web users. China (.cn) is second this year with over 11%. By contrast Finland (.fi) replaced Ireland (.ie) as the safest online destination with 0.05%, followed by Japan (.jp).

The most risky generic domain from 2007's report became more dangerous with 11.8% 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. The full McAfee "Mapping the Mal Web Revisited" report is available for download.

Using the award-winning McAfee SiteAdvisor technology, McAfee analysed 9.9 million heavily trafficked Web sites found in 265 different country (those ending in country letters eg 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. 2

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% 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% to 4.7%.
* The Philippines (.ph) experienced a 270% 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% 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 re-examine its policies," said Jeff Green, Senior Vice President of Product Development & 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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