norton cybercime indexMissing the Department of Homeland Security's color-coded warnings lately? Probably not. But computer security company Norton, part of industry giant Symantec, has created a new "Cybercrime Index" you can browse for free to take a daily measure of what online nasties might attack you today or steal your personal data tomorrow. And it's got plenty of colors and charts -- at the time this was written, threats overall were down 4%, and sported a green downward arrow.

The index tells you about recent trends in online attacks in a more up-to-date way than waiting for other security companies' quarterly reports. At the moment, according to the index, the big risk is ID theft scams, with new cons targeting online payment accounts and online gaming accounts.Buttons appear at the bottom of the index that allow browsing of material on fraud, malware and spam. The "fraud" button spawns a page that talks about the numerous tax-season e-mail phishing gambits.

The "malware" button reveals, among other factoids, that today's most hijacked search terms (which, put simply, hackers use to attract unsuspecting users to a bogus page that contains a badware download) are:

Quanti Sono I Fusi Orari (loosely, "world time zone index" in Italian)
Mahjong Games
Free Mahjong
Ma Belle Ferme ("My Beautiful Farm," a French children's game site)
Spartacus 2

Today's most dangerous websites -- meaning infected with malware, which their operators don't necessarily know about -- are:

1314.QQ.com
product.pconline.com.cn
todaykorea.co.kr
auto.sina.com.cn
logpo.jp

Interestingly, four of those five domains are in Asia (.cn for China, .kr for Korea, .jp for Japan), though the list of most "bot-infected" countries (where automated robots use compromised home, work and school PCs), is topped by the United States.

You can browse the index for free, but it's important to note that Norton also sells computer security products, so it's hoping you will buy them. Plus, a little "scare factor" is always good for getting people to do something -- just look at the way the Department of Homeland Security issued those color-coded warnings during the previous presidential administration.

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