Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lily Collins named the 'Most Dangerous Celebrity,' according to security firm McAfee

The world's most dangerous celebrity -- at least in terms of your computer -- is now Lily Collins. Last year it was Emma Watson, but on Tuesday, security firm McAfee said Collins, the daughter of musician / singer Phil Collins, had taken that honor.

The top ten list, McAfee said, was:
  1. Lily Collins
  2. Avril Lavigne
  3. Sandra Bullock
  4. Kathy Griffin
  5. Zoe Saldana
  6. Katy Perry
  7. Britney Spears
  8. Jon Hamm (yes, a man)
  9. Adriana Lima
  10. Emma Watson (yes, a sad drop from no. 1 last year)
We figure that Hamm's inclusion on the list is a result of search queries spiking in March, after a lot of Internet chatter over whether or not Hamm went "commando" while on the set of his hit AMC series, "Mad Men."

Collins was also no. 4 on People's "Most Beautiful Women" list in 2012.

The ranking on this list is generated by just how dangerous it is to click on a search result for the associated celebrity. According to McAfee, users have close to a one-in-seven chance of hitting a malware-infested if they click on search query results. The danger, McAfee said, was in "landing on a website that has tested positive for online threats, such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and other malware."

McAfee gives the following recommendations:
  • Be suspicious -- If a search turns up a link to free content or too-good-to-be-true offers
  • Be extra cautious when searching on hot topics -- Cybercriminals set up fake and malicious sites that dominate these time-sensitive search results
  • Check the Web address -- Look for misspellings or other clues that the link might be directed to a phony website
  • Protect yourself -- Use comprehensive security on all your PCs, Macs, smartphone and tablets, like McAfee Live Safe™ service, that comes with a safe search tool that protects your from going to risky websites.
It is true that this annual list is somewhat of an advertisement for McAfee products, but other security software and even Google will warn about or stop searchers from reaching a "bad" website.

Notably, the research and associated blog post were not generated by McAfee founder John McAfee, who famously harangued his former company in a possibly NSFW and tongue-in-cheek video that he released in June.

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