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Eastern Europe tops Mal-Web

Romanian and Russian domains are the most likely hosts of web nasties, says McAfee.

Romanian and Russian domains are the most likely to host malicious downloads, browser exploits and scams, according to a survey by security firm McAfee.

The survey – dubbed ‘Mapping the Mal Web’ - analysed 265 top-level domains and the findings suggest that there are large differences in safety from one domain to another. According to the survey, domains in Romania and Russia are the most risky, with 5.6% of Romanian and 4.5% of Russian sites being flagged as high risk. Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Ireland were found to be the safest.

McAfee used its SiteAdvisor tool to analyse and rank the domains. The tool automatically tests websites for a broad range of potential security problems such as exploits, downloads containing spyware, adware, and other unwanted programs and pop-ups.

The results highlight the risks that administrators of top-level domains face. Mark Maxwell, a senior product manager at McAfee said: “This study should serve as a wake-up call. Clearly, some countries are getting it right and the more risky top-level domains need to improve.”

The report also showed how certain web activities such as signing-up at a site or downloading a file are significantly more risky when carried out at certain domains. It was found that entering an email address at a random .info domain results in a 73.2% chance of it being spammed. The .info domain is the most dangerous generic domain, with 7.5% of its sites rated as risky in contrast to just 0.3% of .edu sites.

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