Lily Collins, star of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and Mirror, Mirror, has replaced Emma Watson as McAfee’s most dangerous celebrity to search for online.
For the seventh year in a row, McAfee researched popular culture’s most famous people to reveal the riskiest Hollywood actors, musicians, comedians, and personalities on the Web.
The “McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrities” study revealed that women are more dangerous than men, with nine of the top ten being female. Following Lily Collins, Avril Lavigne takes the number two spot and Sandra Bullock comes in third. Jon Hamm is the only male to make the top 10 list this year. Musicians also comprise nine of the top 20 most dangerous celebrities.
Cybercriminals consistently take advantage of consumer interest around award shows, new movies and TV shows as well as the latest cultural trends driven by celebrities. These criminals capitalise on the public’s fascination with celebrity to lure them to sites laden with malware that enables them to steal passwords and personal information.
This year, searching for a celebrity name coupled with the search terms “free app download” and “nude pictures” resulted in the highest instances of malware-laden sites.
“Today’s consumers often are completely unaware of security risks when searching for celebrity and entertainment news, images and videos online, sacrificing safety for immediacy,” says Craig Hockley, regional director: South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa at McAfee.
“Cyber criminals prey on consumers’ addiction to breaking news and leverage this behaviour to lead them to unsafe sites that can severely infect their computers and devices and steal personal data.”
Fans searching for “Lily Collins and free downloads”, “Lily Collins and nude pictures”, “Lily Collins and fakes” and “Lily Collins and busted” are at risk of running into online threats designed to steal personal information, such as e-mail addresses and passwords. Clicking on these risky sites and downloading files such as pictures and videos expose surfers to a larger risk of downloading viruses and malware.
McAfee research found that searching for the latest Lily Collins pictures and downloads yields more than a 14,5% chance of landing on a website that has tested positive for online threats, such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and other malware.
The study uses McAfee SiteAdvisor site ratings, which indicate which sites are risky to search when attached to celebrity names on the Web and calculate an overall risk percentage.
The top 10 celebrities from this year’s study with the highest percentages of risk are: Lily Collins – 14,5%; Avril Lavigne – 12,7%; Sandra Bullock – 10,8%; Kathy Griffin – 10,6%; Zoe Saldana – 10,5%; Katy Perry – 10,4%; Britney Spears – 10,1%; Jon Hamm – 10%; Adriana Lima – 9,9%; Emma Roberts – 9,8%.
Jon Hamm (number eight) is the only man to rank in the top 10, followed by Justin Timberlake at number 12 and Patrick Dempsey at number 13 in the top 20.