Celebrity Web Sites a Source of Photos, Ringtones and . . . Malware

Consumers’ obsession with celebrity news and culture is harmless in theory, but one bad download can cause a lot of damage to a computer.
—Jeff Green, McAfee, Inc.

Jessica Biel Sites Are #1 for Malware

Internet security company, McAfee, Inc. has just released its yearly update of most dangerous celebrity web sites for online threats such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, and viruses. In the survey, web searches for actress, Jessica Biel, had a one-in-five chance of ending up on a website that has tested postive for malware—putting Biel’s name at the top of the danger list and beating out last year’s most dangerous name, Brad Pitt. Biel became popular on TV’s “Seventh Heaven” and recently starred in “Easy Virtue”.

Pop star, Beyonce, placed second on the list. Web searches on “Beyonce ringtones” led to a dangerous website linking to a distributor of adware and spyware. Over 40 percent of the survey searches for “Jennifer Aniston screensavers” contained computer viruses. Other celebrities on this year’s list included Miley Cyrus, Ashley Tisdale, Lindsay Lohan, Megan Fox, Angelina Jolie and newlyweds, Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen.

Every day, cybercriminals use celebrities’ names and images, like Kim Kardashian and Rihanna, to lure surfers searching for the latest stories, screen savers and ringtones to sites offering free downloads laden with malware.

What You Can Do

  • Be aware of the connection between celebrity websites and malware. You may not visit those sites but your kids might.
  • Be aware that malware-connected celebrity web sites change with the tide of popularity of the celebrities.
  • Make sure you’re using anti-malware software on your computer and it is current.
  • More info from Reuters – http://www.reuters.com/article/internetNews/idUSTRE57O2P520090825

Author: Richard Patterson

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