Ireland has the safest web domain in Europe

1 Dec 2009

Ireland (.ie) has emerged as having the safest web domain address in Europe. Africa’s Cameroon (.cm) has overthrown Hong Kong (.hk) as the web’s riskiest domain, according to McAfee’s third annual Mapping the Mal Web report.

At the opposite end, Japan (.jp) is the safest country domain globally, landing in the Top 5 safest domains for the second year in a row.

Ireland’s .ie domain, which is managed by the IEDR, came second, followed by Croatia (.hr), Luxembourg (.lu) and Vanuatu (.vu).

World’s most heavily trafficked web domain

The most heavily trafficked web domain in the world, commercial (.com), jumped from the ninth to second most dangerous domain, while government (.gov) is the safest non-country domain.

“This report underscores how quickly cyber criminals change tactics to lure in the most victims and avoid being caught. Last year, Hong Kong was the riskiest domain and this year it is dramatically safer,” said Mike Gallagher, chief technology officer for McAfee Labs.

“Cyber criminals target regions where registering sites is cheap and convenient, and pose the least risk of being caught.”

Cameroon, a small African country that borders Nigeria, jumped to the No 1 spot this year, with 36.7pc of the .cm domain posing a security risk, but did not even make the list last year.

Often a typo

Because the domain .cm is a common typo for .com, many cyber criminals set up fake typo-squatting sites that lead to malicious downloads, spyware, adware and other potentially unwanted programmes.

Following aggressive measures from .hk’s domain managers to clamp down on scam-related registrations last year, Hong Kong fell 33 spots from the most risky domain in 2008 to the 34th most risky domain in 2009. Now only 1.1pc of .hk sites pose a risk, whereas last year nearly one in five .hk websites were risky.

Among country domains, the People’s Republic of China (.cn) and Samoa (.ws) remained in the Top 5 most dangerous places in the last two years.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years