.Com, Vietnam Listed As Most Dangerous Domains

The most popular generic top level domain, .com, is also the most prone to malware and attacks while cyber criminals are gravitating to Vietnam, makings its .vn domain the riskiest in the world, according to a McAfee study released Tuesday.

McAfee's fourth annual Mapping the Mal Web report, which analyzed the domains of 27 million Web sites, indicated that more than half (56 percent) of all risky sites end with the generic top level domain (TLD) of .com.

The number of dangerous sites may be on the rise. The study found that 5.8 percent of all domains were considered risky, up from 4.1 percent in 2008 and 2007. Altogether, seven of the 20 riskiest TLDs were from the Asia Pacific region, six were generic TLDs like .com, one was from the Americas, two from Africa and three were from former Soviet republics. Of the Asia-Pacific countries, the People's Republic of China, .cn, was by far the riskiest domain, posing a 23.4 percent risk.

Meanwhile, Vietnam topped the charts for the nation with the riskiest domain of .vn shooting up to third place overall from 39th in 2009. A total of 58 percent of the country's registered Websites are considered risky 2010, while users have a 29.4 percent risk of becoming infected.

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Vietnam was followed by Cameroon, .cm, with a 22 percent risk, and Armenia, am, carrying 12.1 percent risk.

Next: Some National Web Domains Safer Now

Conversely, Japan's .jp domain was deemed the safest for the second year in a row, followed by Catalan's .CAT, and Guernsey's .gg, all three of which carry a.1 percent risk for Web surfers.

For generic TLD, .travel and .edu were among the safest, with less than .05 percent of sites infected, or averaging one in 2,000 sites.

The national U.S. domain of .US, is the riskiest Americas TLD, with a risk of 5.7 percent that ranks 17th most dangerous worldwide.

However, there have also been some dramatic reversals in domain safety. Hong Kong's domain of .hk, which was the region with the riskiest domain in 2008, dropped in overall risk to 34th place. In addition, the Singapore domain .sg dropped to 81st from 10th in 2009, due to new regulations that require appropriate documentation for users seeking to register on the country's site.

The study reflects which countries have implemented stringent regulations regarding domain registrations and which countries registrars contain more loopholes.

Next: Cyber Criminals Look For Easy Targets

According to the study, cyber criminals tend to gravitate to nations with inexpensive domain registrations, contain generous refund policies, typically have a lax or a "no questions asked" registration policy and fail to act quickly when notified about malicious domains.

In addition, cyber criminals prefer domain registrations that allow them to register domains in bulk, which especially holds true for phishers and spammers who need large volumes of sites to offset the cost for the high level of takedowns.