A couple of days ago, McAfee released the information that .cm was the most dangerous domain on the internet currently. It’s not so much that Cameroon has more internet scammers, but more that the internet scammers of the world have turned to .cm domains to create malware sites when people mistype a .com address. Unfortunately I think that a lot of people are now going to associate the country of Cameroon with being full of nefarious net thugs, which is quite unfortunate, as I say it’s simply not true. You can read a full breakdown of all of this in a PDF on McAfee’s site. (Yeah, a PDF is kinda like a fax machine, if you were wondering…)
The funny thing in this is that as I state on my about page, rarely is it the case that I am able to combine my Croatian lineage with my interests in African tech. Well, it appears that this is one instance (again) where there is actually an overlap.
As a complete opposite to .cm, it turns out that the .hr domain for Croatia is one of the safest in the world–Croatia in Croatian is Hrvatska thus the HR. Again, this doesn’t mean that there are less scammers in Croatia, it just means that of those sites using the .hr domain name, there are less that are harmful on the web. Why is this?
To start out, a Croatian domain is considerably more expensive to register than a .cm, so that does play in to things to some extent. Then there is the fact that unless you have a Croatian website, in Croatia, .hr sucks as a domain extension. No one in their right mind would bother to register that for typo mistakes because really, there are none to be had. This all makes it a safer domain purely due to being less desirable.
But beyond these two points, there is something else that plays in to this in that you have to be a Croatian citizen or have a Croatian company (incorporated in Croatia) to purchase one of these very expensive domains. This in effect limits the possible buyers to a maximum of about 5 million. While that sounds like a lot, think about the fact that from what I found, it seems that anyone can register a .cm domain. This creates a potential pool of billions of buyers. Obviously your chances to have a couple of bad apples in the bunch rises a great deal in this.
I think that when saying .cm is the most dangerous domain on the internet (or .cn or .hk or whatever) there needs to be a total given along with this to state how many of these sites are actually registered by the people of that country. I’d bet good money that if you did that, you’d see that nearly none of the malware idiots are Cameroonians because the overall penetration of the internet in Cameroon is around 3% currently. So, people just don’t have the access to go about creating some nefarious site when there are much better things like email, Facebook, or other communication tools to use when one has limited and very expensive net time.
In all honesty, I think we screwed up (or rather the US with ICANN screwed up) in creating non-country specific domains in the first place such as .com, .net, .org, .info, .travel, .biz, etc. I think that if we only had domain extensions per country to date and you had to be a citizen of that country to get one, things would look a great deal different in internet land and I have absolutely no idea who on the net would have the “most dangerous domain” honors.