McAfee have released research to provide consumers with a global road map, which uncovers the riskiest and the safest places to surf and search on the Internet.
McAfee analysed 8.1 million of the world's most trafficked websites registered on 265 top-level domains (TLDs), such as ".com" and ".biz" along with country-specific ones, such as ".jp" for Japan.
According to McAfee, the report, “Mapping the Mal Web”, revealed surprisingly large differences in safety from one domain to another. This global portrait estimates that each month, internet users make more than 550 million clicks to risky websites and that even relatively safe domains like Germany (.de) or the United Kingdom (.uk) account for millions of risky clicks.
“When it comes to safety, it turns out that the Web is no different than the physical world. There are safe neighbourhoods and safe Web domains, and then there are places no one should ever visit”, said Mark Maxwell, Senior Product Manager, McAfee Consumer and Small Business.
The research found that cheap registration of domain names is driving the growth in spam where Romania (.ro, 5.6% risky sites) and Russia (.ru, 4.5% risky sites) sites are among the top-level domains most commonly hosting malicious downloads, browser exploits, and scams.
The report also found that Some web activities, like registering at a site or downloading a file, are significantly more risky when done at certain domains. For example, giving an e-mail address to a random .info domain results in a stunning 73.2% chance of receiving spam email.
The data from the survey is taken from McAfee SiteAdvisor, a free "safe searching" tool that catalogues and warns users about unsafe sites.
The technology automatically tests websites for a broad range of potential security problems such as exploits, downloads containing spyware, adware, and or other unwanted programs and pop-ups.