Emma Watson has replaced Heidi Klum as McAfee's
2012 most dangerous celebrity to search for online. For the sixth year
in a row, McAfee researched popular culture's most famous people to
reveal the riskiest Hollywood actors, athletes, musicians, politicians,
designers, and comedians on the Web. The McAfee
Most Dangerous CelebritiesTM studyfound that
women are more dangerous than men with Jessica Biel taking the number
two spot and Eva Mendes coming in third. Latina women have proven that
they are on fire and make up five of the top ten spots. After Mendes,
Selena Gomez, Shakira and Salma Hayek take the fourth, seventh and ninth
spot and Sofia Vergara rounds out the top 10 list. Funnyman Jimmy Kimmel
is the only male to make the top 20 list this year.
(Photo: Business Wire)
Cybercriminals follow the latest trends, often using the names of
popular celebrities to lure people to sites that are actually laden with
malicious software that are designed to steal passwords and personal
information. Anyone looking for the latest videos or files to download
could end up with a malware-ridden computer along with the trendy
content. This year, searching for a celebrity name with "free downloads"
and "nude pictures" as part of the search term resulted in the highest
result of risky sites.
"In today's celebrity culture, consumers expect to be able to go online
to catch up with the latest photos, videos, tweets, and stories about
their favorite celebrities. Due to the richness of the data and the high
interaction, often times consumers forget the risks that they are taking
by clicking on the links," said Paula Greve, director of web security
research at McAfee. "As the sophistication and expectations of consumers
with respect to their online experience has increased, so has the level
and ability to deliver malware either by malvertising, exploiting the
user's browser without their awareness, or masking malicious URLs behind
Emma Watson Searches Yield Nearly a One-in-Eight Chance of Landing
on a Malicious Site
Fans searching for "Emma Watson and free downloads," "Emma Watson and
nude pictures," "Emma Watson and fakes," and "Emma Watson and busted"
are at risk of running into online threats designed to steal personal
information. Clicking on these risky sites and downloading files like
pictures and videos exposes surfers or consumers to the risk of
downloading viruses and malware.
McAfee research found that searching for the latest Emma Watson pictures
and downloads yields more than a 12.6% chance of landing on a website
that has tested positive for online threats, such as spyware, adware,
spam, phishing, viruses and other malware.
The study uses McAfee® SiteAdvisor® site ratings, which indicate which
sites are risky to search for celebrity names on the Web and calculate
an overall risk percentage. The top 10 celebrities from this year's
study with the highest percentages of risk are:
Emma Watson - Best known for her role as Hermione Granger
in the "Harry Potter" franchise, the British actress tops the list
as the 2012 Most Dangerous Celebrity. Watson continues to star in
feature films including "My Week with Marilyn" and "The Perks of
Being a Wallflower" and is an ambassador for Lancôme.
Jessica Biel - The 2009 Most Dangerous Celebrity rose two
spots this year from coming in at number 4 in 2011. Biel continues
to be in the spotlight with fiancée Justin Timberlake and her role
in 2012's "Total Recall."
Eva Mendes - A new addition to the list, Mendes has
starred in films including "2 Fast 2 Furious" and "Hitch." She is
currently in the news for her fling with Ryan Gosling.
Selena Gomez - The tween musician and actress is best known
for her role as Alex Russo on Disney's "Wizards of Waverly Place"
and for dating teen heartthrob Justin Bieber. She has been cast in
the upcoming film "Parental Guidance Suggested" and was recently
named one of Forbes' Top 10 Best Social Media Superstars.
Halle Berry - The Academy Award winning actress is famous
for her stand out roles in action and horror films including
"Catwoman" and "Gothika". Berry is in the spotlight for her
custody battle with baby daddy Gabriel Aubry.
Megan Fox - The sexy actress rose 9 spots compared to her
number 15 spot last year. She is currently in the news for her
pregnancy with husband Brian Austin Green and will be seen in the
upcoming film "This is 40".
Shakira - The belly-dancing singer/songwriter best known
for her songs "Hips Don't Lie" and "Whenever, Wherever" comes in
at number 7. She was recently named one of Forbes' World's Most
Powerful Women and was ranked number 6 on Forbes' Top 10 Best
Social Media Superstars.
Cameron Diaz - 2010's Most Dangerous Celebrity fell to
eighth place, with searches resulting in slightly fewer risky
sites this year. She was most recently in the spotlight for
allegedly dating Alex Rodriguez. She is rumored to star in
Salma Hayek - The actress, producer and director received
an Academy Award for her role as Frida Kahlo in "Frida" and
recently starred in "Savages." She is currently in the news for
her controversial remarks about her Mexican heritage in a Vogue
interview. She is married to billionaire François-Henri Pinault.
Sofia Vergara - The Columbian actress and model best known
for her comedic role as Gloria
Delgado-Pritchett on ABC's Emmy Award winning "Modern Family"
rounds out the top 10 list. She also starred in the "The Three
Stooges" film this year and was recently named one of Forbes'
World's Most Powerful Women and highest paid TV actress. She
recently announced her engagement to businessman Nick Loeb.
Searching for Latinas is Risky
Eva Mendes (No. 3), Selena Gomez (No. 4), Shakira (No. 7), Salma Hayek
(No. 9), and Sofia Vergara (No. 10) make up 5 of the top 10 most
dangerous celebrities on the list.
Women are More Dangerous Than Men
Jimmy Kimmel (No. 13) is the only man to make the top 20, with Piers
Morgan and Brad Pitt dropping off of the list from No. 3 and No. 10
Beware of the Supermodel
Three supermodels have made the top 20 list this year. Searching for
downloads of Elle Macpherson (No. 16), Bar Refaeli (No. 17), and Kate
Upton (No. 20) can result in landing on a risky site.
Musicians are Not Safe
Young female artists are definitely a draw to malware and risky
websites. Selena Gomez (No. 4), Shakira (No. 7), and Taylor Swift (No.
15) all rank in the top 20.
Headlines Don't Equate to Risk
Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Kristen Stewart, and Robert Pattinson were all
absent from this year's top 50 list despite the publicity surrounding
the Cruise-Holmes divorce and the Stewart-Pattinson cheating scandal.
"Hot movies and TV shows, awards and industry accolades seem to be more
of a factor than headline-grabbing activity," said Greve. "Still,
searching for any celebrity can bring up risky sites and the public
should use caution by not clicking on any page that looks suspicious."
From One Year to Another
Heidi Klum, Piers Morgan, Mila Kunis, Katherine Heigl, Anna Paquin,
Adriana Lima Scarlett Johansson, Brad Pitt, Emma Stone, and Rachel
McAdams have all dropped out of this year's top 10 list (Pitt, Stone,
and McAdams tied for No. 10 last year).
Tips to Stay Protected:
Beware of content that prompts you to download anything before
providing you with content. You may want to opt to watch streaming
videos or download content from an established site, such as Hulu,
Netflix, NBC, or ABCtv.
Free downloads are significantly the highest virus-prone search terms.
Anyone searching for videos or files to download should be careful as
not to unleash malware on their computer.
Since most people use a variety of devices to search for celebrities,
be sure you have up to date, comprehensive security for all of your
devices. It's important to have protection, such as McAfee®
All Access, on all Internet-enabled devices, including PCs, Macs,
smartphones, tablets and netbooks.
A complimentary version of SiteAdvisor software can be downloaded at www.siteadvisor.com.
For More Information:
To learn more about the research and the risks of searching for
celebrities, go to
To continue the conversation, follow @McAfee on Twitter and tweet your
thoughts with the hashtag #riskyceleb.
Web surfers should visit the McAfee
Security Advice Center and Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mcafee
for information on the latest threats, and tips on surfing safely.
About McAfee SiteAdvisor technology
McAfee SiteAdvisor technology protects users from malicious websites and
browser exploits. SiteAdvisor technology tests and rates nearly every
trafficked site on the Internet and uses red, yellow and green icons to
indicate the website's risk level.
SiteAdvisor site ratings are created by using patented advanced
technology to conduct automated website tests SiteAdvisor software works
with Internet Explorer and Firefox.
McAfee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), is
the world's largest dedicated security technology company. McAfee
delivers proactive and proven solutions and services that help secure
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McAfee is relentlessly focused on constantly finding new ways to keep
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Eva Ross, 212-981-5218