Ireland's web domain .ie is the safest internet address in Europe and the second safest in the world, according to a new report from security software firm McAfee.
The Mapping the Mal Webstudy ranks Japan's .jp address as the world's least riskiest country domain to have while Cameroon's .cm was considered the most dangerous.
The report ranks the world’s domains in order of safest to riskiest by examining the extent to which they contain risky websites, malicious downloads or send out spam.
This year marks the first time that the .ie domain has achieved the top ranking in Europe with a 0.1 per cent risk compared to a 32 per cent risk rating for the .com domain.
Last year there was a 26.8 per cent rise in registrations of Irish Internet addresses to 34,623, according to the IE Domain Registry (IEDR), the managed registry for the country's official internet address.
The Cameroonian domain was ranked so highly because it is a common typo for .com, something which has not gone unnoticed by cybercriminals who have rushed to set up fake websites that lead to malicious downloads, spyware, adware and other potentially unwanted programs.
According to McAfee, as many as 37 per cent of websites with the .cn domain pose a security risk to internet users.
Hong Kong fell 33 spots from the most risky domain in 2008 to the 34th most risky domain this year. Now only 1.1 percent of .hk sites pose a risk, whereas last year nearly one in five .hk websites were risky.
.com, which is the most heavily trafficked non-country domain, jumped from being the ninth to the second most dangerous address while .gov was the safest.
Of the 27 million websites and 104 top-level domains McAfee rated for its report, 5.8 per cent were found to pose a security risk to internet users, equivalent to more than 1.5 million risky websites
Websites registered to Asia-Pacific domains are significantly riskier than elsewhere, with 13 per cent of sites posing a threat.
Overall, the world's least risky country domain names are in Japan, Ireland, Croatia, Luxembourg and Vanuatu.