Tag Archives: cyber attacks

Lilly Collins is 2013 most dangerous cyber celebrity according to McAfee

52138b9d17c94a2c82116f12fe87bba10a365_640It’s nothing new and she won’t be the first celebrity search term which could land your computer on a page filled with malware, spam, and viruses, but right now she is the hottest.  McAfee advises that “Looking up the ‘Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ star (and daughter of rocker Phil Collins) on the Web gives you about a 14.5% chance of landing on a page that tested positive for spam, adware, spyware, viruses or other malware,” according to a study by Internet security company.   This means you have about a 1 in 7 chance of finding much more that you ever wanted when your search lands you on a page.

Other top ten searches that may give you more than you bargained for are celebrities: Avril Lavigne, Sandra Bullock, Kathy Griffin and Zoe Saldana.  Katy, Perry, Brittany Spears and Emma Roberts are also among the top 10. According to McAfee’s report women celebrities are more likely to land your computer in hot water than searches for men celebrities.

Miley Cyrus came in at number 20 and her twerking performance on the VMA’s caused a surge in searches using her name, as well as a surge in cyber celebrity dangers.  My dad’s computer reported a virus on a site that was supposedly referred to him by a friend, alleging that she had committed suicide.  Of course that old story is well known spam as it has been used far too often, but not often enough to keep it from going viral. Want to know all of the percentages this year for your favorite celebrity?  The Wall Street Journal breaks it down for you so you can see your chances of encountering a celebrity cyber screw up.

McAfee has been providing the “most dangerous celebrity cyber searches” for seven years.  During this time celebrities like Heidi Klum, Emma Watson, Cameron Diaz, Jessica Biel and Selena Gomez have been listed among the most dangerous cyber searches.  Brad Pitt has been one of the men on the top of the list, but the men searches are fewer and far between.

Of course as part of their list, McAfee offers a number of tips and tricks to help you keep your computer from catching more than  cold including:

  • Be cautious of content offering “free” or “too good to be true”
  • Be extra cautious when searching for hot topics.   My recommendation – got to Google Trends and then head to your the topics through there, or only access those sites of “name brand” celebrity news sources.
  • Protect yourself with comprehensive security.  My recommendation, not only should you have a good security system but pay attention to it.  If your system says “STOP” or doesn’t have the check mark next to the link you probably don’t want to visit there.

mcafee site advisor

Cyberattacks at Universities are on the Rise

Cyberattacks are becoming a common problem on college campuses. America’s research universities are often the targets. These universities are at the hub of information exchanges through out the world. Most of the attacks are thought to come from China. NY Times is reporting that millions of hacking attempts happen weekly.

The campuses targeted are being forced to tighten security which is preventing them from their normal open exchange of information and causing them to take time to find out what information was stolen. Officials have stated that some of the hacking attempts have succeeded and those that have succeeded are often not known about until well after the breach occurred. The universities are remaining silent on the specific nature of the breaches except for those that have involved the theft of personal data. Personal data includes social security numbers, email addresses, home addresses, phone numbers, etc.

Related content:  Going Back to School: Don’t get Scammed

Rodney J. Petersen, head of the cybersecurity program at Educause, a nonprofit alliance of school and tech companies, told NY Times, “The attacks are increasing exponentially, and so is the sophistication, and I think it’s outpaced our ability to respond. So everyone’s investing a lot more resources in detecting this, so we learn of even more incidents we wouldn’t have know about before.”

The problem that the universities are facing with cyber attacks is that it puts the research work at critical risk. Patents for prescription drugs, computer chips, fuel cells, medical devices and many other products and services that could be stolen for commercial, political or national security value.

The numbers of cyberattacks are doubling every few years putting universities on edge trying to figure out the source of the attacks and what has been stolen. The schools are also on edge because it appears that every time they fix a breach, a new hack occurs with more sophisticated technology.

Related content: 7 Tips to Protect College Students from Identity Theft

Bill Mellon, associate dean for research policy at University of Wisconsin, said of the increased cyberattacks, “We get 90,000 to 100,000 attempts per day, from China alone, to penetrate our system. There are also a lot from Russia, and recently a lot from Vietnam, but it’s primarily China.”

The schools that have noticed the most attempts coming from China have not figured out whether the hackers are private or governmental.

PayPal Cyber Attack Arrests

Did you get the message?  I did.  Just a few days ago I received the a purported PayPal message that my account was going to have limited access, as well as several other terms and conditions that to be honest sent me into a PayPal rage. Should I have any questions I should use the link below to log into my PayPal account.  Sound familiar?

It was very convincing, however it was a weekend and I thought, “I’ll deal with it later.”  Monday I find that many other people I know received similar messages which of course caused us all to start wondering, “How real is this reality check on our PayPal account?”  It didn’t take long to find out it wasn’t real at all.

Allegedly hackers broke into the PayPal server in a retaliatory attack for WikiLeaks accounts being suspended.   Founded by Julian Assange, Wiki Leaks is an anti-secrecy organization that collects  information and then releases it to the public.  Their founder was arrested in Great Britian last winter after releasing 250,000 State Department documents in which US diplomats were, quite frankly less than complimentary towards their counterparts throughout the world.

(read more about WikiLeaks founder’s arrest)

The FBI reports the arrest of 14 people allegedly involved in the cyber-attack on PayPal.  Other arrests were made overseas in Great Britain and Amsterdam. Reportedly the cybberattacks on PayPal’s website were by the group “Anonymous.”  Anonymous is a group of hackers sympathetic to WikiLeaks and it has claimed responsibility for attacks against corporate and government websites worldwide.  PayPal closed the account being used for donations to WikiLeaks citing violations of the PayPal terms of service.  Wikileaks response was “PayPal’s action tried to economically strangle WikiLeaks.”

According to the indictment and complaints filed in court in San Jose, California, the defendants Continue reading PayPal Cyber Attack Arrests