If you're a fan of Amy Schumer or Justin Bieber, Intel wants you to be extra careful online. The software company's McAfee security arm on Wednesday released its annual "most dangerous" celebrities list, which ranks actors, comedians, and musicians based on the likelihood that their search results will riddle your device with malware or viruses. Yes, this is a thing, and the Trainwreck star is this year's winner.
"Dangerous" in this context really means the intersection of super popular commodity and solid cybercriminal opportunity. As you'll see below, some of the findings make sense (Daniel Tosh, Miley Cyrus) and others ... maybe not as much (Carson Daly):
The top 10 should confirm what you likely already know: celebrities make great lures for cybercriminals to catch fans on sketchy pages, where passwords and other pieces of personal info can be theirs for the taking. "With this craving for real-time information, many search and click without considering potential security risks," said Gary Davis, an exec at Intel Security, which published the report using McAfee WebAdvisor ratings. "Cybercriminals know this and take advantage of this behavior by attempting to lead them to unsafe sites loaded with malware."
Intel also found this year that Schumer's peers -- including Kevin Hart (No. 25), Mindy Kaling (30), Kristen Wig (52), Chelsea Handler (54), and Ellen DeGeneres (57) -- grabbed a wide range of spots on the list, and that Bieber's tended to crowd together closer to the top: Drake (No. 13), Katy Perry (14), Justin Timberlake (17), Jennifer Lopez (18), Lady Gaga (19), Nicki Minaj (20), Iggy Azalea (27), Beyoncé (28), and Usher (29).
Intel noted that Schumer's latest achievement underscores the trend of streaming more TV and movie content online. The trend is convenient for consumers, but it's also nice for criminals -- it essentially gives web-savvy vultures more targets and gateways. Doing a general search for anybody in the top 10, for example, comes with an 11-16% chance of malware exposure. Digging for torrents related to those celebs can double or triple that chance.
Your "Amy Schumer" searches don't need to lead toward doom and destruction: browsing with malware protection, learning how to identify phishing scams, going to original sources for content (e.g., Comedy Central for an old episode of Inside Amy Schumer), and not being an idiot when looking for torrents can help immensely. Google away, celeb obsessive.
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