McAfee, the computer security company, has released its latest “Mapping the Mal Web” report. For the fourth time, the report surveys the most dangerous top-level Internet domains. Here are this year’s top five.

  • .COM (Commercial) 31.3%
  • .INFO (Information) 30.7%
  • .VN (Vietnam) 29.4%
  • .CM (Cameroon) 22.2%
  • .AM (Armenia) 12.1%

McAfee examined sites in various domains for threats via malware, browser exploits, spam, aggressive pop-ups and suspicious affiliations. The company used their Global Threat Intelligence database, which gathers information from around 150 million sensors located in 120 countries.

Using those same criteria here are the five safest domains.

  • .TRAVEL (Travel and Tourism Industry) .02%
  • .EDU (Educational) .05%
  • .JP (Japan) .08%
  • .CAT (Catalan) .09%
  • .GG (Guernsey) .10%

The sheer volume of .COM use puts it up top and makes it hard to avoid. The others high on the list can be avoided often with ease. Even if it’s not so easy, the Internet user should, says McAfee, make the effort.

“Each year, criminals develop more intricate and innovative techniques for hiding their activities.”

To fill out the top 10 bad domains:

  • .CC (Cocos Islands) 10.5%
  • .ASIA (Asia-Pacific) 10.3%
  • .NET (Network) 10.1%
  • .RU (Russia) 10.1%
  • .WS (Western Samoa) 8.3%

Among other findings were that risk overall climbed to a record 6.2% — of more than 27 million live domains evaluated — from 2009’s 5.8%. This is a solid trend and there is no reason to believe it won’t continue. Also, botnets “drove a huge spike in new malicious site categories.”

Although the domain devoted to mobile, .MOBI, is one of the safer, McAfee says this blossoming sector deserve close security scrutiny as it develops.

Read more ReadWriteWeb coverage of domain issues.

curt hopkins