Emma Watson Takes Out the Title of Most Dangerous Cyber Celebrity Online
SYDNEY, Australia, Sept. 11, 2012 – Dannii Minogue is McAfee's 2012 Most Dangerous Celebrity to search for online in Australia (using ‘.com.au’ search engines). The McAfee Most Dangerous CelebritiesTM study found Australia’s Isla Fisher and Elle Macpherson to be two of the most dangerous celebrities to search for in cyberspace, ranking 11th and 16th respectively (using ‘.com’ search engines). For the sixth year in a row, McAfee researched popular culture’s most famous people to reveal the riskiest actors, athletes, musicians, politicians, designers and comedians on the web.
Cybercriminals follow the latest trends, often using the names of popular celebrities to lure people to sites that are actually laden with malicious software designed to steal passwords and personal information. If you’re not careful when you’re searching for the latest videos or files to download, you could end up with a malware-ridden computer along with the trendy content. This year, searching for a celebrity name with “free downloads” and “nude pictures” as part of the search term resulted in the highest result of risky sites.
Dannii Minogue has bumped Nicole Kidman, last year’s riskiest Australian celebrity, down to second place in the Australian results. Fans searching for “Dannii Minogue and free downloads,” “Dannii Minogue and nude pictures,” “Dannii Minogue and fakes,” and “Dannii Minogue and busted” are at risk of running into online threats designed to steal personal information. Almost one in 11 resulting sites were identified by McAfee® SiteAdvisor® as risky. Clicking on these risky sites and downloading files like pictures and videos exposes surfers or consumers to the risk of downloading viruses and malware.
Interestingly, Elle Macpherson has proven more dangerous to international users than to her fellow Australians. Making it to 16th on the global list, around one in 13 ‘.com’ search results associated with Elle were identified as risky, while only around one in 22 ‘.com.au’ search results were the same. Isla Fisher also received a lower risk rating in Australian than she did globally.
“Cyber criminals often disguise security threats in what appears to be a harmless website and use celebrity names and free downloads to lure users to their site,” said Melanie Cole, Consumer Marketing Programs Director, McAfee Asia Pacific. “Australians, just like users around the world, are at risk of coming across malicious websites when searching for such celebrity content. So to keep safe it’s important to think before you click or use our McAfee SiteAdvisor® free tool. ”
Most Dangerous Celebrities Online (‘.com’ search results)
Emma Watson has replaced Heidi Klum as McAfee's 2012 most dangerous celebrity to search for online. The McAfee Most Dangerous CelebritiesTM study found that women are more dangerous than men with Jessica Biel taking the number two spot and Eva Mendes coming in third. Funnyman Jimmy Kimmel is the only male to make the top 20 list this year.
McAfee research found that searching for the latest Emma Watson pictures and downloads yields more than a 12.6% chance of landing on a website that has tested positive for online threats, such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and other malware.
“The searches for Emma Watson identified one risky website in around every eight results,” said Cole. “These numbers show just how common it is for users to come across sites that pose a real security threat. If users are educated about the risks and use technology to help identify them, they are much less likely to click on a malicious link or download and infect their PC.”
The study uses McAfee® SiteAdvisor® site ratings, which indicates which sites are risky, to search for 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:
1. Emma Watson – Best known for her role as Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” franchise, the British actress tops the list as the 2012 Most Dangerous Celebrity. Watson continues to star in feature films including “My Week with Marilyn” and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and is an ambassador for Lancôme.
2. Jessica Biel – The 2009 Most Dangerous Celebrity rose two spots this year from coming in at number 4 in 2011. Biel continues to be in the spotlight with fiancée Justin Timberlake and her role in 2012’s “Total Recall.”
3. Eva Mendes – A new addition to the list, Mendes has starred in films including “2 Fast 2 Furious” and “Hitch.” She is currently in the news for her fling with Ryan Gosling.
4. Selena Gomez – The tween musician and actress is best known for her role as Alex Russo on Disney’s “Wizards of Waverly Place” and for dating teen heartthrob Justin Bieber. She has been cast in the upcoming film “Parental Guidance Suggested” and was recently named one of Forbes’ Top 10 Best Social Media Superstars.
5. Halle Berry – The Academy Award winning actress is famous for her stand out roles in action and horror films including “Catwoman” and “Gothika”. Berry is in the spotlight for her custody battle with baby daddy Gabriel Aubry.
6. Megan Fox – The sexy actress rose 9 spots compared to her number 15 spot last year. She is currently in the news for her pregnancy with husband Brian Austin Green and will be seen in the upcoming film “This is 40”.
7. Shakira – The belly-dancing singer/songwriter best known for her songs “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Whenever, Wherever” comes in at number 7. She was recently named one of Forbes’ World’s Most Powerful Women and was ranked number 6 on Forbes’ Top 10 Best Social Media Superstars.
8. Cameron Diaz – 2010’s Most Dangerous Celebrity fell to eighth place, with searches resulting in slightly fewer risky sites this year. She was most recently in the spotlight for allegedly dating Alex Rodriguez. She is rumored to star in “Expendables 3.”
9. Salma Hayek – The actress, producer and director received an Academy Award for her role as Frida Kahlo in “Frida” and recently starred in “Savages.” She is currently in the news for her controversial remarks about her Mexican heritage in a Vogue interview. She is married to billionaire François-Henri Pinault.
10. Sofia Vergara – The Columbian actress and model best known for her comedic role as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on ABC’s Emmy Award winning “Modern Family” rounds out the top 10 list. She also starred in the “The Three Stooges” film this year and was recently named one of Forbes’ World’s Most Powerful Women and highest paid TV actress. She recently announced her engagement to businessman Nick Loeb.
Paula Greve, director of web research at McAfee, said, “In today’s celebrity culture, consumers expect to be able to go online to catch up with the latest photos, videos, tweets, and stories about their favourite celebrities. Due to the richness of the data and the high interaction, often times consumers forget the risks that they are taking by clicking on the links.
As the sophistication and expectations of consumers with respect to their online experience has increased, so has the level and ability to deliver malware either by malvertising, exploiting the user’s browser without their awareness, or masking malicious URLs behind shortened URLs.”
Beware of the Supermodel
Three supermodels have made the top 20 list this year. Searching for downloads of Elle Macpherson (No. 16), Bar Refaeli (No. 17), and Kate Upton (No. 20) can result in landing on a risky site.
Headlines Don’t Equate to Risk
Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Kristen Stewart, and Robert Pattinson were all absent from this year’s top 50 list despite the publicity surrounding the Cruise-Holmes divorce and the Stewart-Pattinson cheating scandal.
“Hot movies and TV shows, awards and industry accolades seem to be more of a factor than headline-grabbing activity,” said Greve. “Still, searching for any celebrity can bring up risky sites and the public should use caution by not clicking on any page that looks suspicious.”
From One Year to Another
Heidi Klum, Piers Morgan, Mila Kunis, Katherine Heigl, Anna Paquin, Adriana Lima Scarlett Johansson, Brad Pitt, Emma Stone, and Rachel McAdams have all dropped out of this year’s top 10 list (Pitt, Stone, and McAdams tied for No. 10 last year).
Tips to Stay Protected:
• Beware of content that prompts you to download anything before providing you with content. You may want to opt to watch streaming videos or download content from an established site, such as ABC's iView or Netflix.
• Free downloads are significantly the highest virus-prone search terms. Anyone searching for videos or files to download should be careful as not to unleash malware on their computer.
• Since most people use a variety of devices to search for celebrities, be sure you have up to date, comprehensive security for all of your devices. It’s important to have protection, such as McAfee® All Access, on all Internet-enabled devices, including PCs, Macs, smartphones, tablets and netbooks.
• A complimentary version of SiteAdvisor software can be downloaded at www.siteadvisor.com.
For More Information:
• To download a graphic of McAfee's Most Dangerous Celebrities online, click here
• To learn more about the research and the risks of searching for celebrities, go to
o Web page - www.mcafee.com/most-dangerous-celebrities
o Blog - https://blogs.mcafee.com/consumer/family-safety/dangerous-celebrity-2012
o Blog - https://blogs.mcafee.com/consumer/identity-theft/celebrities-are-lures
• To continue the conversation, follow @McAfee on Twitter and tweet your thoughts with the hashtag #riskyceleb.
• Web surfers should visit the McAfee Security Advice Center and Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mcafee for information on the latest threats, and tips on surfing safely.
About McAfee SiteAdvisor technology
McAfee SiteAdvisor technology protects users from malicious websites and browser exploits. SiteAdvisor technology tests and rates nearly every trafficked site on the Internet and uses red, yellow and green icons to indicate the website’s risk level.
SiteAdvisor site ratings are created by using patented advanced technology to conduct automated website tests SiteAdvisor software works with Internet Explorer and Firefox.
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