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What's the riskiest country to visit -- on the Web?


McAfee just released its newest malware mapping report, where it checks out malicious sites by "top level domain," generic ones like .com, plus all of those country-specific ones, such as .us. Though .com is still the place you can find the most malware, the two countries market in bright red by the security firm are Vietnam (.vn) and Cameroon (.cm). The safest country is Japan (.jp).

When it comes to generic domains, .com was the worst, but partly because it's so huge: 56 percent of sites deemed risky are in the .com domain. Scarier is .info, which seems like it's mostly a haven for creeps. The squeaky-cleanest domains are .edu and .travel.

The report confirms that the overall Web is getting riskier: 6.2 percent of websites on the Web as a whole are considered "risky," up from 5.8 percent last year.

For the .vn domain, 58 percent of sites are risky. But when that is weighted in the overall picture, by comparing the sheer number of risky .vn sites to all risky sites on the Web, it goes down, by a tad. It's still nasty, so stay away! Ditto for .cm, which is 44.2 percent risky.

What defines risky? The presence of excessive pop-ups, phishing scams or browser exploits. These include enabling viruses, keystroke logging and spyware. McAfee also tracks links to see if they direct people to other known sketchy sites.

Reports McAfee: "Vietnam (.vn) moved from number 39 riskiest in 2009 to third riskiest in 2010. The predominant risks associated with .vn relate to malicious activity, sites being used to proxy to other malicious hosts, as well as command-and-control activity."

So, should you set fire to your computer and hide under your desk? Should you avoid visiting any new websites ever? McAfee says, "As more criminals find ways to bury and disguise their activities, Web users must find new ways to stay on top of these threats while preserving the joy and value of surfing the Web." I guess that means you're supposed to buy their software. Maybe that's why they do these studies! In any case, just pay attention.

McAfee via SecurityWeek via Slashdot