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Cameroon top exporter of Malware: McAfee

McAfee's new survey suggests Malware is on the rise and identifies Cameroon as the world's larger exporter of it. Are reports from anti-virus software makers objective?
Written by John Dodge, Contributor on

On Africas's east coast, Somalia has world's most brazen and infamous maritime pirates. On the Dark Continent's western shore, Cameroon has got digital piracy covered with the most top level domains infected with Malware.

That's the conclusion of McAfee's latest Mapping the Malware survey of the world's most digitally dangerous domains. Beware of any URL ending .CM for there's a better than one in three chance a worm, Trojan or virus is lurking within. Malware is exactly what it sounds like, malicious software.

Let's put that in perspective. The second riskiest top level domain is .com which is almost without a doubt the web domains you and I click on most with a slightly less than one in three chances it's infected. When was the last time you clicked on a .com URL and wondered if you'd be victimized by Malware? Like never?

Rounding out the top five are China, Samoa and .INFO.

While 5.8 per cent of the 27 million domains evaluated in the report were deemed risky compared to 4.1 per cent in both 2007-08, determining if the web is a more dangerous place than it was a year ago is difficult, according to the survey. That's because McAfee's survey methodology changed this year and is purported to be more accurate and proportionally weighted (Let's face it: the huge .com domain and .PH denoting the Philipines are not created equal).

Anyway, McAfee published a handy home security type map so you can quickly quickly assess threats (below).

Or you can buy its anti-malware software. That's what bugs me about this  survey - look no further than survey's conclusion for the sales pitch.

"The best way to stay safe is to have an up-to-date
security suite, like McAfee® Total Protection, which
also has safe search technology, like McAfee
SiteAdvisor," the report concludes. A bit of a scare tactic?

Those of us who do not have backgrounds in computer security or IT must make a leap of faith and accept what's in the report. My new laptop hounds me to try Norton Internet Security and makes me click on "close without enabling security" to get the trial invitation out of my face. That's a not-so-subtle scare tactic that suggests if I don't load Norton Internet Security RIGHT NOW, my laptop will be fatally infected.

My one tussle with Malware (a Trojan) this year was taken care of with a free download called MalwareBytes' Anti-Malware. There's also a version that cost $25 one time which automatically scans your computer. The  freebie requires manual scans. In my frantic web search to determine how to get rid of it, I learned Malwarebytes was only program that could kill it. And it did.

I know it's a dangerous digital world out there and McAfee's survey could very well be the closest thing to an accurate assessement of such shadowy threats. But hypothesize for a moment if Microsoft Windows muted these threats and they went down by 50 per cent. Would McAfee report that, too?

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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