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Risky Celebrity Searches: Avoid Hackers’ Traps!

posted by: Blog Author date: Oct 19, 2016 category: All, Phishing comments: 0

We all love finding out the latest celebrity gossip, but did you know that doing a simple Google search for your favourite celebrity can put your PC in harm’s way?

Every year Intel Security publishes its McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrities™ report. 2016 marks the 10th edition of the report and it lists Aussie gals Rebel Wilson, Rose Byrne and Delta Goodrem as the riskiest Australian’s to search for online.

With ransomware and malware attacks on the rise, cyber-criminals are making the most of our insatiable desire to find out about the latest movies, TV shows or breakups in the world of celebrity, by leading us to websites chock full of malware that will steal our passwords and other credentials.

So what has made these three Aussie girls so popular of late? Rebel Wilson has had quite a few popular movies out this year (‘AB FAB’ and ‘How to be single’) and has also been in the headlines for suing women’s magazines for allegedly lying about her age, name and background. A Google search for Rebel will leave you with a 10.5% risk of ending up at a malicious site. Rose Byrne and Delta Goodrem both tied for second place, with a 10% risk. Earlier in the year, Rose had a baby and was also a part of a few blockbuster films, so searches for her increased. Delta Goodrem has had a new No 1 album, as well as announcing that she will be joining the cast of popular Australian TV show ‘House Husbands’.

The Top 10 dangerous Australian celebrity searches are:

PositionCelebrityPercentage of Risk
1Rebel Wilson10.5%
2Rose Byrne10.0%
2Delta Goodrem10.0%
4Keith Urban9.67%
4Dr. Chris Brown9.67%
6Sia9.33%
7Kylie Minogue9.22%
8Iggy Azalea8.56%
9Margot Robbie8.44%
9Liam Hemsworth8.44%
9Joel Edgerton8.44%

 

Aussie female celebrities lead the way over males at 7:4 and the results also showed that actors were slightly more popular than singers (six against five).

On the Global scale, comedian Amy Schumer is the number one target for cyber-criminals, with singer Justin Bieber and TV host Carson Daly coming in second and third places respectively.

“Consumers today remain fascinated with celebrity culture and go online to find the latest pop culture news,” said Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at Intel Security. “With this craving for real-time information, many search and click without considering potential security risks. Cyber-criminals know this and take advantage of this behaviour by attempting to lead them to unsafe sites loaded with malware. As a result, consumers need to understand what precautions to take to enable safe online experiences.”

The Top 10 dangerous US celebrity searches are:

PositionCelebrityPercentage of Risk
1Amy Schumer16.11%
2Justin Bieber15.00%
3Carson Daly13.44%
4Will Smith13.44%
5Rihanna13.33%
6Miley Cyrus12.67%
7Chris Hardwick12.56%
8Daniel Tosh11.56%
9Selena Gomez11.11%
10Kesha11.11%

 

How You Can Stay Protected:

Intel Security offer the following tips when it comes to practicing safe online behaviour:

  • Think before you click! Are you looking for the latest episode of your favourite TV show? Don’t click on that third-party link. Instead, get your content directly from the original source to ensure you aren’t clicking on anything that could be malicious.
  • Use caution when searching for “torrent.” This is by far the riskiest search term. Cyber-criminals can use torrents to embed malware within authentic files, making it difficult to determine if a file is safe. It’s best to avoid using torrents especially when there are so many legitimate streaming options available.
  • Keep your personal information personal. Cyber-criminals are always looking for ways to steal your personal information. If you receive a request to enter information like your credit card, email, home address or social media login don’t give it out thoughtlessly. Do your research and ensure it’s not a phishing or scam attempt that could lead to identity theft.
  • Browse safely using protection like McAfee® WebAdvisor software. WebAdvisor will help keep you safe from malicious websites by helping to identify potentially risky sites. A complimentary version of the software can be downloaded at mcafee.com/mcafeewebadvisor
  • Use cross device protection. Consumers need to protect all facets of their digital lives regardless of where they are, what device they use or where they store their personal data. Use solutions that work across all your devices to deliver protection against threats, such as malware, hacking and phishing
  • If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always remain cautious when browsing, be sure not to click any ads on pages when reading about celebrities as they will often contain ‘clickbait’ headings and lead you to malicious sites.

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