Oh what a difference an “o” can make!

By on Jan 04, 2010

I don’t know about you, but I love Christmas in Australia, long summer days, the sound of cicadas at night, seafood on Christmas day or traditional ham with roasted vegies, I just love the festive season. And I must confess that I love Christmas shopping.  Yep, I’m one of those people!  Once I’ve put some time and thought into what gift I’d like to give to my family members, I get on the net and surf for the perfect bargain or simply to find out which retailers have the gifts I want. 

 

But in my haste to type in an address I do make typos and I’ve just read a report that tells me one little typo like missing the “o” in “.com” could land me somewhere I don’t want to be!

 

This week McAfee released its third annual Mapping the MalWeb report which reveals the domain names (eg. .com, .au, .sg) that are the most risky.  This year’s winner is Africa’s Cameroon.  Cameroon’s “.cm” domain is one typo away from “.com” with 36.7% of the countries domain names (websites) containing viruses and other nasties that are designed to cause havoc with your home computer.  That’s well over a third of the sites that are out to get you or more precisely, get your computer! Certainly not what you need  this Christmas.

 

On a more positive note, Hong Kong’s “.hk” domain which was last year’s number one offender dropped from #1 to #34 on the list.  This was due to the domain managers aggressive clamp down on scam-related registrations.  As of this years report, now only 1.1% of “.hk” websites pose a risk.  Australia’s domain “.au” is relatively safe in comparison to the rest of the web (only 0.2%), but it certainly doesn’t mean we’re safe while surfing the wild, wild web. The top four domains were as follows:

 

Cameroon (.cm)           36.7%

Peoples Republic of China (.cn)     23.4%         

Samoa (.ws)    17.8%

Philippines (.ph)    13.1%

 

So here are my tips on how to stay safe while surfing this summer:

 

Tip #1

Well the number one tip goes without saying, Slip, Slop and Slap when you’re lapping up the glorious Aussie sun and don’t forget to reapply!

 

Tip #2

If you’re surfing indoors, I only have one word for you –ANTIVIRUS!

Now I’ve got to admit, since starting out on this quest as Cybermum I’ve learnt a few things and I think one of the most important lessons has been you can never have too much protection when it comes to your home computer.  I liken having up to date security software to reapplying your sunscreen, just because you loaded some security software a couple of years ago, doesn’t mean you’re safe now!… You’re bound to get burnt unless you reapply, so for your computer this means update! Check out McAfee Total Protection.

 

Tip #3

If you can end up in Cameroon surrounded by infected sites simply by missing an “o” it’s certainly worthwhile checking your spelling before hitting the enter key!

 

 

I know I find it difficult to determine when a site is safe or not, I certainly know that my kids wouldn’t have even given it a second thought, until I loaded McAfee’s SiteAdviser on our home computer.  This is pretty cool and it’s been really easy for my kids to understand as it provides a traffic light system of red, yellow and green icons to indicate a web site’s risk level, so I know when my kids are surfing the net this summer they’ve got their own little traffic warden steering them away from sites that could have seen them surfing in Cameroon instead of Australia!  This great tool comes with each McAfee product or can be downloaded for free from the website.

 

Happy Christmas shopping and safe surfing.

 

Moira

About the Author

Cybermum Australia

Alex Merton-McCann McAfee’s Cybermum in Australia, Alex, is a mother of four boys aged 13 to 20, who juggles family, work, home life, sporting commitments, hobbies and her children’s ever growing social lives (on and offline). Like many Australian parents, Alex has concerns about the safety of her children, who are growing up in an ...

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