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McAfee: The Internet Is Risky Business

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It’s no secret that the Internet is rife with phishing and malware sites that look to prey upon unsuspecting web surfers. In a recent study, McAfee decided to take a geographical look at both the safest and riskiest places to surf the web.

McAfee’s report, Mapping the Mal Web, documents the results of their study and sheds some light on the riskiest domains across the globe. According to McAfee, the results revealed some surprising discrepancies in security across international domains. McAfee estimates that Internet users make more than 550 million clicks to risky Web sites on a monthly basis and that even relatively safe domains like Germany (.de) or the United Kingdom (.uk) account for millions of risky clicks.

“With this report, McAfee has created a guide book to the Web’s most dangerous top level domains,” said Mark Maxwell, Senior Product Manager, McAfee Consumer and Small Business.

“When it comes to safety, it turns out that the Web is no different than the physical world. There are safe neighborhoods and safe Web domains, and then there are places no one should ever visit.”

McAfee rated the sites on a coloring system, with green sites representing those that are free of any malicious content. Yellow sites contain nuisance such as popups and red sites are the worst of the lot, often containing spyware, viruses, exploits and other harmful content.

More on the grading system from the report

4.1% of all sites tested by SiteAdvisor are rated red or yellow. But the incidence of red and yellow sites varies dramatically across top-level domains, ranging from a low of 0.1% for Finland (.fi) to a high of 10.1% for the tiny island of Tokelau (.tk). We find that Tokelauan domains, discussed later, offer some advantages to scammers.

"For administrators of top-level domains, this study should serve as a wake-up call. Clearly, some countries are getting it right. And the more risky top level domains now have the role models they need to improve," added Maxwell.

"For consumers, this study is a stark reminder that they need help navigating the Web safely. Tools like McAfee SiteAdvisor give consumers the information they need, when they need it, to make safer Web decisions." 

McAfee: The Internet Is Risky Business
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