.COM Still Riskiest Domain Name

  • Vietnam least safe country domain
  • Japan most safe domain
  • Aussie makes top 10 safest domain

In the latest survey by security software specialist McAfee, Australia’s domain name, .au, comes in as one of the 10 safest. At the other end of the country domain name spectrum Vietnam’s .vn domain is the most risky.

The world’s most heavily trafficked web domain, .com, is also now the overall riskiest with 56 percent of all risky sites end in .com.

McAfee analysed more than 27 million websites to uncover which domains are the most dangerous, finding that.com and .info are the riskiest top-level domains, while .JP (Japan) ranks as the safest country domain for the second year in a row.  The report also found that 6.2 percent of the 27 million websites analysed pose a security risk – up from 5.8 percent last year.

“This report underscores how quickly cybercriminals change tactics to lure in victims and avoid being caught,” said Paula Greve, director of web security research for McAfee Labs™.  “Last year Vietnam’s .VN was a relatively safe domain, and this year it jumped to the third most dangerous domain.  Cybercriminals target regions where registering sites is cheap and convenient and pose the least risk of being caught.  A domain that’s safe one year can be dangerous the next.”

“Whilst .AU is relatively safe, Australian consumers are increasingly shopping from international locations or booking overseas holidays from global websites,” said Michael Sentonas, Chief Technology Officer for McAfee in Asia Pacific. “Simply viewing a web page can return malicious code that can steal your password and identity information, so Australian should be cautious and not assume that the “most popular” sites are safe havens”.

A top-level domain, also known as a “TLD,” is the letter code at the end of a website that indicates where the site is registered. Most people do not pay attention to the TLD suffix when they search, and many click on the first result that looks interesting.  This leaves the surfer vulnerable to criminals who optimise sites for search engines and take advantages of typos such as .CM (Cameroon) instead of .COM.

The report reveals drastic changes in country domain rankings with .VN (Vietnam) skyrocketing to third place, up from 39th in 2009.  In fact, 58 percent of the country’s registered sites are ranked as risky.  

By contrast, .SG (Singapore) became safer this year, dropping to the 81st most risky domain from 10th in last year’s report.  Singapore’s registration process now requires appropriate documentation when seeking to register any .SG site, which helped to improve its safety levels, according to the Singapore Network Information Center.

 “What online surfers may not know is that simply viewing a page can return much more than they bargained for,” said Greve. “Cybercriminals lay invisible traps all over the Internet that are intended to steal consumers’ passwords, bank information or even identities.”