Cameroon (.cm) has overthrown Hong Kong (.hk) as the Web’s riskiest domain, according to McAfee’s third annual Mapping the Mal Web report. Cameroon jumped to the number one spot this year with 36.7 percent of the .cm domain posing a security risk, but did not even make the list last year. Because the domain .cm is a common typo for .com, many cybercriminals set up fake typo-squatting sites that lead to malicious downloads, spyware, adware and other potentially unwanted programs. The only other African domain in the top 100 is South Africa’s .za at 96.
via McAfee Newsroom
Africa is home to about 100 million PCs, 80% of which are estimated to be infected with some kind of malware. This has occurred because the intense poverty throughout the continent has resulted in a pervasive distribution of pirated software and the inability to pay for Anti-Virus protection. Currently, most Internet access is via dial-up, but once broadband comes to Africa, all of those infected PCs will become an easy target for bot herders looking to build the next mega-botnet; Think about it. Almost a hundred million PCs with little to no AV protection connected to the Internet backbone via a super highway instead of a dirt path. What could a bad operator do with a botnet of that size? Pretty much anything he wants, including paralyzing an entire nation’s networked infrastructure. That’s all systems connected to the Internet, including power, water, communications, commerce, etc.
If this were a public health risk, (a) it would never have been allowed to get this far out of hand, and (b) labs would be working around the clock to produce enough anti-virus serums to stop the pandemic in its tracks. If every infected PC in Africa were a person, this would rank as the second worst pandemic in the history of the world.