August 20, 2010

Cameron Diaz Tops List Of Most Dangerous Online Celebrities

McAfee's list of the most dangerous online celebrities, include Cameron Diaz and Julia Roberts in the top spots, according to the computer security firm on Thursday.

Diaz took the top spot just ahead of box office superstar Julia Roberts when it came to cyber criminals using their names to lure Internet users to fake websites infected with dangerous malicious software.

The "Most Dangerous Celebrities" list also included sexy supermodels in high-ranking positions.

US President Barack Obama and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin dropped to the bottom of the annual list, making them less threatening topics for Internet searches.

"Cyber criminals often use the names of popular celebrities to lure people to sites that are actually laden with malicious software," McAfee warned in a release. "Anyone looking for the latest videos or pictures could end up with a malware-ridden computer instead of just trendy content."

Searches for Cameron Diaz had a 1-in-10 chance of leading to fraudulent websites designed to trick visitors into unknowingly downloading viruses that can take control of their computers and mine them for data, according to the computer security firm.

Picture and video downloading is quite dangerous because malicious software can be easily hidden in the files.

About 19 percent of websites in results pages for searches on "Cameron Diaz screensavers" were infected with malware.

Searches related to Julia Roberts, resulted in fraudulent websites about nine percent of the time, but the risk jumped up to 20 percent when pictures or wallpaper were downloaded.

Jessica Biel, who was crowned the "Most Dangerous Celebrity" last year, fell to third this year, with her overall risk nearly matching Julia Roberts. Victoria's Secret models Gisele Buendchen, Adriana Lima, and Heidi Klum were all in the top ten this year.

"This year, the search results for celebrities are safer than they've been in previous years, but there are still dangers when searching online," said McAfee Labs security researcher Dave Marcus.

"Cyber-criminals follow the same hot topics as consumers, and create traps based on the latest trends," he told AFP.

Computer chip giant Intel is buying McAfee in a deal valued at nearly 7.7 billion dollars.


Image Caption: Courtesy of Tony Shek/Wikipedia


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