The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is kicking off and the streets are crowding with fans hoping to catch a glimpse of their favourite celebrities. Our fascination with celebrities runs deep, and this is due in part to the ease with which we can access information such as celebrity gossip and images on the Internet. But celebrity-related searches on Internet search engines return more than pretty pictures. Today, McAfee announced the release of the McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrities study that reveals the riskiest celebrities to search for on the Web. The dubious award this year goes to Emma Watson, who is in Toronto to promote her new movie, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”
McAfee Reveals Emma Watson as 2012’s Most Dangerous Cyber Celebrity
Study Finds Female Celebrities Are More Dangerous Than Their Male Counterparts; Jimmy Kimmel is the only male to rank in the top 20
MARKHAM, Ontario, September 10, 2012 – For the sixth year in a row, McAfee researched popular culture’s most famous people to reveal the riskiest Hollywood actors, athletes, musicians, politicians, designers and comedians on the Web. Emma Watson has replaced Heidi Klum as the most dangerous celebrity to search for online. The McAfee Most Dangerous CelebritiesTM study found that female celebrities are more dangerous than their male counterparts, with Jessica Biel taking the number two spot and Eva Mendes coming in third. Selena Gomez, Shakira and Salma Hayek take the fourth, seventh and ninth spot, and Sofia Vergara rounds out the top 10 list. Funnyman Jimmy Kimmel is the only male to make the top 20 list this year.
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.
Anyone looking for the latest videos or files to download could end up with a malware-ridden computer. This year, McAfee’s study showed that 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.
“Throughout the six years McAfee has been conducting this study, we’ve seen myriad searches for top celebrities generating risky results, and it’s often difficult for users to recognize them,” said Brenda Moretto, Canadian Consumer Sales Manager at McAfee. “As users steadily increase the amount of time they spend on their Internet-connected devices, we are seeing a parallel growth in the number of malware threats being released to the public. The time is now for users to practice safe surfing and browsing habits.”
Internet Searches for Emma Watson Yield Nearly a One-in-Eight Chance of Landing on a Malicious Site McAfee research found that searching for the latest Emma Watson pictures and downloads yields more than a 12.6 per cent chance of landing on a website that has tested positive for online threats such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and other malware. Risky search terms include “Emma Watson and free downloads,” “Emma Watson and nude pictures,” “Emma Watson and fakes,” and “Emma Watson and busted.”
The study uses McAfee® SiteAdvisor® ratings to indicate which sites are risky for celebrity searches, and to calculate an overall risk percentage. The top 10 celebrities from this year’s study with the highest percentages of risk are as follows:
- 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.
- Jessica Biel – The 2009 Most Dangerous Celebrity rose two spots from her number 4 position in 2011. Biel continues to be in the spotlight with fiancé Justin Timberlake and her role in “Total Recall,”
released in August 2012.
- 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.
- 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.
- Halle Berry – The Academy Award-winning actress is famous for her standout roles in action and horror films including “Catwoman” and “Gothika.” Berry is in the spotlight due to her ongoing battle with Gabriel Aubry for custody of her daughter.
- Megan Fox – The actress rose 9 spots from her number 15 position in 2011. 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.”
- Shakira – The 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.
- Cameron Diaz – 2010’s Most Dangerous Celebrity fell to eighth place this year. She was most recently featured in the spotlight for dating Alex Rodriguez, a New York Yankees baseball player. She is rumored to star in “Expendables 3.”
- Salma Hayek – This 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.
- Sofia Vergara – The 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 Three Stooges” 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.
Female Celebrities are More Dangerous Than Their Males Counterparts
Jimmy Kimmel (No. 13) is the only man to make the top 20, with Piers Morgan and Brad Pitt dropping off of the list from No. 3 and No. 10 respectively.
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 produce risky search results.
Musicians are Not Safe
Young female artists are definitely a draw to malware and risky websites. Selena Gomez (No. 4), Shakira (No. 7), and Taylor Swift (No. 15) all rank in the top 20.
Headlines Don’t Equate to Risk
Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattison were all absent from this year’s top 50 list despite the publicity surrounding the Cruise-Holmes divorce and the Stewart-Pattinson breakup.
“Hot movies, TV shows, awards and industry accolades seem to be more of a draw than headline-grabbing activity,” said Moretto. “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 Johannson, 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 sites that prompt you to download files before providing you with content. It is preferable to stream videos or download content from established sites such as, NetFlix, CTV.ca, GlobalTV or CityTV.
- Free downloads are significantly the highest virus-prone search terms. Users searching for free content should be careful so as to not unleash malware on their computers.
- McAfee security experts urge consumers to surf safely and install protection such as McAfee® All Access on all Internet-enabled devices including PCs, Macs, smartphones, tablets and netbooks.
- Take advantage of McAfee SiteAdvisor software, which displays red, yellow or green web safety ratings within Internet search results pages. It also blocks risky websites, adds anti-phishing protection, and helps users more safely surf, shop and bank online. A complimentary version of SiteAdvisor software can be downloaded at www.siteadvisor.com.
Find More Information:
- To learn more about the research, go to www.mcafee.com/most-dangerous-celebrities
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.
McAfee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), is the world’s largest dedicated security technology company. McAfee delivers proactive and proven solutions and services that help secure systems, networks, and mobile devices around the world, allowing users to safely connect to the Internet, browse and shop the Web more securely. Backed by its unrivaled Global Threat Intelligence, McAfee creates innovative products that empower home users, businesses, the public sector and service providers by enabling them to prove compliance with regulations, protect data, prevent disruptions, identify vulnerabilities, and continuously monitor and improve their security.
McAfee is relentlessly focused on constantly finding new ways to keep our customers safe. http://www.mcafee.com.
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