McAfee Names the Riskiest Domains on the Web - Identify and Avoid
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The point of McAfee’s report isn’t to make Internet users so paranoid about the web that they avoid it altogether--or perhaps even worse, become unable to enjoy surfing the web out of fear of malware, spyware, or spam at every click. Though it’s become a cliché, knowledge is power, and knowing what to look out for will assist in keeping your computer and its software safe and in working order.
Dangerous domains contain risky websites that feature malicious downloads or send out large amounts of spam. It’s important to be an educated Internet user and encourage more restricted domains by visiting websites that are safe, and avoiding and discouraging others from browsing websites that look suspicious.
When lists such as McAfee’s are released, it is believed that legitimate businesses will register their sites at safer domains, and that it will place added pressure on bad TLD managers, hopefully causing them to improve their policies and practices. According to numbers released by McAfee, this isn’t just wishful thinking either. Just being mentioned on the list as a risky domain has proven to be enough to get some domains to whip themselves into shape--and fast.
For example, McAfee notes that the very small Pacific island of Tokelau earned a 10.1 percent risk rating during the second year that the report was conducted in 2007. After being cited in the report, Tokelau took some pretty major steps to create a better name for itself and increase its safety. By 2008, the island was found to have a risk rating of just 1.43 percent, which is an impressive improvement of 85.8 percent.
When figuring out how to avoid dangerous domains, it’s important to understand that potential online threats won’t always appear the same. That’s because they’re always changing. This is especially illustrated in McAfee’s Mapping the Mal report; as a way to avoid being caught, cyber criminals constantly move their malicious sites and other activity to new and different regions. These are areas where registering their site is not only cheap but convenient. This enables them to get away with their crime (for a while, anyway) while they also effectively carry out their intention to install malware and spyware on your computer.
According to McAfee, this is why the best way to avoid dangerous domains is by using safe security software, being cautious, and keeping a close eye on “where the mal web is moving.” Obviously, the average Internet user can’t keep track of every potentially risky domain -- or even a small fraction of them -- especially when you consider that they’re very difficult to trace.
For example, France’s domain (.fr) has been found to be relatively safe, but that doesn’t mean you can trust every site that ends in that TLD. For instance, downloading a file located on a seemingly safe .fr domain isn’t as straightforward as you may think. You may find yourself downloading a file on the .fr domain that’s coming from a .ro (Romania) domain, which McAfee has found to be quite risky.
So, aside from being aware of these web surfing pitfalls, it’s also important to invest in some decent security software. Some packages can be quite expensive, but depending on your system and the sites you visit, it may be worth it. McAfee recommends having an up-to-date security suite installed on your computer -- something that features safe search technology. Hopefully, through awareness and software, users will find surfing the web to be a lot less risky.
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