The world’s most dangerous celebrities … online, that is
By Digital News Asia October 9, 2014
- Searches for musicians and comedians are most common among Americans
- Kimmel only the second male to make No 1, following Brad Pitt in 2008
JIMMY Kimmel, comedian and late night host of Jimmy Kimmel Live, has replaced Lily Collins (Mirror, Mirror) as McAfee’s most dangerous celebrity to search for online.
For the eighth year in a row, McAfee researched popular culture’s most famous people to reveal the riskiest personalities on the Web.
The McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrities study revealed that an eclectic mix of comedians and musicians are among the most dangerous, the company said in a statement.
Jimmy Kimmel is the second male to find his way to the No 1 spot (moving up from No 39) following Brad Pitt in 2008. Deejay Armin van Buuren takes the No 2 spot behind Kimmel, and Ciara, the third.
Additional celebrities in the top 10 include Blake Shelton, Britney Spears (holding her place at No7), and three New Jersey natives: Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and Chelsea Handler.
As underscored by the recent hacking of female celebrities’ private photos, cybercriminals are consistently looking for ways to take advantage of consumer interest around popular culture events such as award shows, new movies and TV shows, as well as the latest celebrity-driven cultural trends.
These criminals capitalise on the public’s fascination with celebrity to lure them to sites laden with malware, which enable them to steal passwords and personal information.
“In wanting to get their hands on the latest celebrity news, images and videos consumers may easily disregard their safety,” said David Freer (pic), Asia Pacific vice president, Consumer, McAfee.
“Knowing users’ enduring interest in celebrities, cybercriminals deliberately mislead them to harmful sites especially as they fail to consider the potential security risks lurking behind their Internet searches,” he said.
McAfee chief privacy officer Michelle Dennedy said, “Celebrity names coupled with the terms ‘video’ and ‘picture’ are some of the most-searched terms on the Internet.
“Cybercriminals exploit consumers’ need to be updated on celebrity news, leading them to sites that can harm their devices and compromise personal data. We want to ensure we’re equipping consumers with the knowledge they need to keep both themselves and their devices safe,” she added.
McAfee research found that searching for the latest Jimmy Kimmel pictures and downloads yields more than a 19% chance of landing on a website that has tested positive for online threats, such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and other malware.
The top 10 celebrities from this year’s study are:
In addition to Jimmy Kimmel (No 1); Chelsea Handler (No 9), Jimmy Fallon (No 12), Adam Sandler (No 14), Jason Segel (No 19), Wee Man (No 35), and Cameron Diaz (No 41) all rank in the top 50.
Representing popular music genres on the rise, country music stars and electric dance music (EDM) artistes pump up the top 50 list. Four musicians make the top 50, with two of them landing within the top 10: Armin van Buuren (No 2) and Blake Shelton (No 6).
Other musicians at play include Calvin Harris (No 17) and Carrie Underwood (No 47), McAfee said.
This year, several rap, hip-hop and R&B hit-makers are in the top 20: Ciara (No 3), Flo Rida (No 4), 50 Cent (No 13), Cheryl Cole (No 16) and Iggy Azalea (No 20).
Additional superstars heating up the top 50 are Jason Derulo (No 24), Jay Z (No 26), Chris Brown (No 28), Paul McCartney (No 29), Jennifer Lopez (No 31), Pitbull (No 34), Jessie J (No 44), Rihanna (No 45), Justin Timberlake (No 46), and Pharrell Williams (No 49).
Also, four native New Jerseyians are in the top 25: Bruce Springsteen (No 5), Bon Jovi (No 8), Chelsea Handler (No 9), and JWoww (No 23).
Several of America’s sweethearts are in the top 50 this year, including Jessica Alba (No 14), Kate Winslet (No 18), Jennifer Lopez (No 31), Jessica Biel (No 33), Jennifer Aniston (No 37), Jennifer Garner (No 38), and Cameron Diaz (No 41).
Last year, searching for downloads of Kanye West, Kourtney Kardashian, Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian and Kris Jenner were popular among Americans.
This year, the Kardashian clan is nowhere to be found. Instead, Jersey Shore star JWoww (No 23) and celebrity mogul Jay Z (No 26) claim spots on the list.
How you can stay protected:
- Beware of clicking on third party links: You should access content directly from official websites of content providers. For example, visit ABC.com to find Jimmy Kimmel’s latest episodes.
- Ensure you use web protection that will notify you of risky sites or links before you visit them. Stick to official news sites for breaking news.
- Don’t download videos from suspect sites: This should be common sense, but it bears repeating: don’t download anything from a website you don’t trust – especially video. Most news clips you’d want to see can easily be found on official video sites and don’t require you to download anything.
- ‘Free downloads’ are by far the highest virus-prone search term: Anyone searching for videos or files to download should be careful as not to unleash unsafe content such as malware onto their computers.
- Always use password protection on your phone and other mobile devices: If you don’t and your phone is lost or stolen, anyone who picks up the device could have access to your personal information online.
- Don’t log in or provide other information: If you receive a message, text or email or visit a third-party website that asks for your information – credit card, email, home address, Facebook login, or other information – to grant access to an exclusive story, don’t give it out. Such requests are a common tactic for phishing that could lead to identity theft.
- Search online using a tool, such as SiteAdvisor software, which protects users from malicious websites and browser exploits. A complimentary version of SiteAdvisor software can be downloaded at www.siteadvisor.com
The study was conducted using McAfee SiteAdvisor site ratings to determine which sites are risky to search when attached to celebrity names on the Web and calculates an overall risk percentage.
McAfee SiteAdvisor technology protects users from malicious websites and browser exploits.
SiteAdvisor technology tests and rates nearly every website it finds, and uses red, yellow and green icons to indicate the website’s risk level. Ratings are created by using patented advanced technology to conduct automated website tests and works with Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari and Firefox.
The terms ‘Jimmy Kimmel,’ ‘Jimmy Kimmel downloads,’ ‘Jimmy Kimmel mp4,’ and ‘Jimmy Kimmel torrentz’ were used to search for Jimmy Kimmel, and replicated for each celebrity on the list. The results indicated the percentage of risk of running into online threats designed to steal personal information.
Fans clicking on these risky sites and downloading files including photos and videos become more vulnerable to downloading viruses and malware.
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