Page last updated at 05:06 GMT, Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Cameroon revealed as web threat hotspot

Escape key
Ireland's domain (.ie) was found to be the safest in Europe.

More than one third of websites in the West African country of Cameroon pose a security risk to surfers according to a new report by security expert McAfee.

Web addresses for Cameroon end ".cm" - attracting careless web users who wrongly type ".com".

Fraudsters take advantage of spelling mistakes and typing errors to set up false sites that may look similar to those the surfer intended to visit.

But they can contain spyware, adware and malicious downloads instead.

Last year's survey put Hong Kong (.hk) at the top of the riskiest domain names.

However a clampdown on domain registration has made it safer in 2009.

1. Cameroon (.cm)
2. People's Republic of China (.cn)
3. Samoa (.ws)
4. Philippines (.ph)
5. Former Soviet Union (.su)

Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Ltd, which supervises domain registration for .hk websites, said that asking for proof of identity was one measure which had led to a decline in suspicious applications.

So instead, those wishing to exploit web surfers turned their attention to common typing errors.

"The bad guys got good at exploiting bad typing skills," Shane Keats, senior research analyst at McAfee and co-author of the report, told BBC News.

He added that when looking for a host country in which to set up a fraudulent domain, scammers tend to look for three things: "low cost, ease of registration and lack of regulation".

McAfee surveyed 27 million websites for the report - of which 688,861 were sites hosted by Cameroon. 36.7% were found to be suspicious.

The safest domains surveyed were Japan (.jp), Ireland (.ie) and Croatia (.hr).

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