It’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.