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Why Googling Justin Bieber could be dangerous for your (cyber) health
SECURITY

Why Googling Justin Bieber could be dangerous for your (cyber) health 

Each year, the security solution company comes out with its McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrities list, a rundown of popular personalities whose names are used by cybercriminals to bait unsuspecting fans and Internet users to click on a malware-infected link, Websites, and content. The annual list, which is now in its 10th year, is the company’s way of bringing attention to security threats online, especially since October is Cyber Security Month.

This year’s list was actually topped by American female comedian Amy Schumer. With a cyber risk percentage of 16.11 per cent, she replaced last year’s top spot holder, Electronic Dance Music DJ Armin van Buuren. Now Schumer can add “first female comedian to take the number one spot on the McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrities.

A search for “Amy Schumer Torrent” results in a 33 per  cent chance of connecting to a malicious website, according to McAfee.

Schumer is closely followed by Bieber who has a risk percentage of 15.00 per cent. Bieber, who was 2014’s most dangerous Canadian celebrity, finished second to online actress Nina Dobrev in 2015.

Cyber criminals appear to be closely watching entertainment trends.

Schumer’s topping the list highlights the trend of more people looking to “cut the cord” and move away from cable TV. Consumers are now, more than ever, streaming videos, TV shows and movies online.

As file sharing and torrent use continue to grow in popularity, it’s no surprise that TV and movies are targets for cybercriminals seeking to create malicious files.

The top four Canadian celebrities with the highest risk percentages include:

Position

Celebrity

Percentage

1

Justin Bieber

13.11%

2

Russell Peters

8.89%

3

Michael Bublé

8.87%

4

deadmau5

8.11%

The top 10 celebrities from this year’s U.S. study with the highest risk percentages include:

Position

Celebrity

Percentage

1

Amy Schumer

16.11%

2

Justin Bieber

15.00%

3

Carson Daly

13.44%

4

Will Smith

13.44%

5

Rihanna

13.33%

6

Miley Cyrus

12.67%

7

Chris Hardwick

12.56%

8

Daniel Tosh

11.56%

9

Selena Gomez

11.11%

10

Kesha

11.11%

“Consumers today remain fascinated with celebrity culture and go online to find the latest pop culture news,” said Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at Intel Security. “With this craving for real-time information, many search and click without considering potential security risks.”

According to McAfee, savvy cybercriminals continue to leverage consumers’ ongoing fascination with celebrity news to entice unsuspecting fans to visit sites loaded with malware that can steal passwords and personal information.

The study conducted by Intel Security highlights the various ways hackers can take advantage of consumers’ interest around pop culture news, the risks of their online behaviour and how to best protect themselves from potential threats.

How can you avoid becoming a victim? McAfee has come up with some simple steps to follow:

Think before you click.  Are you looking for the latest episode of Amy Schumer’s TV show “Inside Amy Schumer?” Don’t click on that third-party link. Get your content directly from the original source at comedycentral.com to ensure you aren’t clicking on anything that could be malicious

Be careful searching for “torrent”. This term is by far the riskiest search term. Consumers searching for torrents or files to download should be careful so as not to unleash unsafe content such as malware onto their computers

Keep your personal information personal. Cybercriminals are always looking for ways to steal your information. If you receive a request to enter information like your credit card, email, home address, or social media login don’t give it out thoughtlessly. Do your research and ensure it’s not a phishing attempt that could lead to identity theft

Browse with security. There are plenty of tools out there, like, let’s see, McAfee WebAdvisor software.  WebAdvisor helps to identify potentially risky sites. A complimentary version of the software can be downloaded at www.mcafee.com/mcafeewebadvisor

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