Photo of a hacker
Cybercriminals are popping up when people Google celebrities. CC by Geek and Poke

Beware of Cameron Diaz. The new McAfee “Most Dangerous Celebrities” release puts her at the top of the list. Distributors of malicious content often trick web users into downloading malware by masking the code behind screensavers and photos of famous stars. The Most Dangerous Celebrities list is updated annually with the names cybercriminals use the most.

Malware spreads with Most Dangerous Celebrities

The fourth annual Most Dangerous Celebrities list was created by McAfee to promote SiteAdvisor, a free program that tests websites for malicious content. As reported by MSNBC, SiteAdvisor is the tool McAfee uses to single out celebrity downloads of videos, photos or wallpaper that carry the highest degree of risk. When searching for Cameron Diaz photos and downloads, web users take a 10 percent chance of landing on a site that has tested positive for malware, which could lead to consequences from degraded PC performance to identity theft.

Cybercriminals use celebrities as bait

Cybercriminals track the hottest topics on the web to use as bait. ABC News reports that malicious hackers use the most popular celebrities to trick their fans into downloading what appears as harmless content that actually hides stealth programs written to hijack passwords and sensitive personal information. The tactic isn’t a recent innovation, but Dave Marcus, McAfee Labs’ director of security research, told ABC News that the spread of malicious downloads is increasing at an accelerated pace. McAfee tracked more malware from April through June than ever before. The presence of 6 million original pieces of malware — about 60,000 a day — were exposed by McAfee in that time frame.

Beauty only skin deep in downloads

The Most Dangerous Celebrities list usually includes movie stars and models at the top of the rankings. A CNET report on the phenomenon noted that malware showed up in 19 percent of the sites found when SiteAdvisor searched “Cameron Diaz and screensavers.” Other actors dominated the top 10. Julia Roberts had to settle for second place. Jessica Biel got knocked down a few pegs from last year to number three. Another familiar face (and body) was fourth. Gisele Bundchen is not only the world’s richest supermodel, she’s also the most dangerous. Brad Pitt moved up five spots from last year to rank fifth. Politicians don’t have the same allure. Barack Obama and Sarah Palin were ranked 49 and 50, respectively.

McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrities

1. Cameron Diaz

2. Julia Roberts

3. Jessica Biel

4. Gisele Bündchen

5. Brad Pitt

6. Adriana Lima

7. Jennifer Love Hewitt and Nicole Kidman: tie

8. Tom Cruise

9. Heidi Klum and Penelope Cruz: tie

10. Anna Paquin

Additional reading

MSNBC: http://msnbc.msn.com

ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com

CNET: http://news.cnet.com

Post By bryanh (1,420 Posts)

Connect

Do you have a fantastic idea related to this article, but just don't have the money you need to start your own company or side-business? Get the loans you need from https://personalmoneynetwork.com to help get your new company underway, from the small loan professionals at PersonalMoneyNetwork.

PG&E to pay $70 million for pipeline tragedy

PG&E to pay $70 million for pipeline tragedy

Pacific Gas and Electric Co., a northern California utility, has agreed to pay $70 million to the California town of San Bruno for a pipeline explosion that killed eight people in 2010. Company says it’s remorseful The San Francisco-based power company’s president, Chris Johns, released a statement Monday, saying PG&E is sorry and eager to […]

Judge stabbed and deputy shot in Washington courthouse

Grays Harbor County Courthouse

Following a standoff in a Washington state county courtroom Friday, a man reportedly escaped after shooting a sheriff’s deputy in the shoulder and stabbing a judge in the neck. The man is still at large. Treachery among the tree farms The incident occurred Friday afternoon in the western Washington town of Montesano, which bills itself […]

Microraptor was one flashy little dinosaur

Microraptor fossil

A team of Chinese and American scientists have found that Microraptor, a small four winged dinosaur that went extinct about 130 million years ago, was likely black and almost certainly had glossy, iridescent feathers. Until now, the coloring of extinct creatures was a matter of pure speculation. That may no longer be the case. The […]

Autocorrected message leads to school lockdown

Homage to the Sun

Adjacent schools in Georgia were locked down for two hours Wednesday after a text message reportedly warned of a “gunman” on campus. Later, it was learned that the message was the result of a smartphone autocorrect function, attempting to “fix” the misspelled slang word “gunna.” A series of mixups A series of mixups led to […]