Cheryl Cole’s CV includes her time performing in one of the biggest selling girl groups of the 21st century, Girl Aloud, to scoring a £1.5 million contract to rejoin the judging panel of The X Factor. Now she has something else to add to her list of achievements: she is McAfee’s Most Dangerous Celebrity to search for online in the UK. The eighth annual McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrities study revealed that an eclectic mix of musical performers and entertainers are among the most dangerous to UK web users. The “Crazy Stupid Love” singer topped the polls, beating the likes of One Direction, David Beckham, and even Daniel Radcliffe, who took second place.

For consumers, staying up to date with the latest celebrity gossip is an important part of daily life. But cybercriminals are constantly looking for ways to take advantage of and capitalise on the public’s fascination with celebrities by stealing personal data.

“The desire for consumers to have access to the latest celebrity information can often make them vulnerable to cybercrime,” said Samantha Humphries-Swift, product manager at McAfee Labs, part of Intel Security. “Most consumers do not realise the security risks they are exposing themselves to when searching for celebrity videos and images online. But cybercriminals can exploit this desire for breaking celebrity news, leading consumers to sites that download harmful malware onto their devices and compromise personal data.”

More risk factor than X Factor

Celebrity names coupled with a “video” or “picture” are some of the most searched terms on the Internet. McAfee’s study revealed that fans in the UK using search terms such as “Cheryl Cole downloads” and “Cheryl Cole mp4s” have a 15% chance of landing on a website that has tested positive for online threats, such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and malware. But since her marriage to Jean-Fernandez-Versini this summer, could her new surname make the former Mrs. Cole a little safer online?

It’s not just Cheryl fans putting themselves at risk. “Potheads” and “One Directioners” could also find themselves victims of cybercrime. With all five members of one of the biggest boy bands on the planet making an appearance in McAfee’s list of top 20 Most Dangerous Celebrities in the UK, fans should think twice before downloading the latest video of Harry Styles doing the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Using McAfee® SiteAdvisor® site ratings, the study indicates which sites attached to celebrity names are risky to search and then calculates an overall risk percentage. This year’s top 10 celebrities from the UK are:

1. Cheryl Cole
2. Daniel Radcliffe
3. Jessie J
4. David Beckham
5. Alesha Dixon
6. Ellie Goulding
7. Pixie Lott
8. Harry Styles
9. Lily Allen
10. Rita Ora

Acknowledging this list above, it is important to remember the tips provided below.

Don’t be a victim of cybercrime:

·         Take note of content that prompts you to download anything before providing you with the information you want.

·         Don’t unleash a monster: “Free downloads” are by far the highest virus-prone search term. Be careful when downloading inadvertently infect your computer with malware.

·         Keep it protected: Make sure your phone and other mobile devices are password-protected. Stick to what you know: visit official news sites that you trust for breaking news, and don’t download videos from suspect sites. Make sure to use a safe search tool that will notify you of risky sites or links before you visit them.

·         ”Sign up for exclusive access”: If you receive a message, text or email or visit a third-party website that asks for your information—credit card, email, home address, Facebook login, or other information—to grant access to an exclusive story, don’t give it out.

·         Don’t make yourself vulnerable: Use McAfee LiveSafe™ and feel safe when looking up celebrity gossip.

A complimentary version of SiteAdvisor software can be downloaded at www.siteadvisor.com.

About McAfee SiteAdvisor Technology

mcafee_siteadvisorMcAfee 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.

About McAfee

mcafee-labs-stinger-download-2McAfee, a division of Intel Security and a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), empowers businesses, the public sector, and home users to safely experience the benefits of the Internet. The company delivers proactive and proven security solutions and services for systems, networks, and mobile devices around the world. With its Security Connected strategy, innovative approach to hardware-enhanced security, and unique Global Threat Intelligence network, McAfee is relentlessly focused on keeping its customers safe. http://www.mcafee.com.

Note: McAfee, the McAfee logo, SiteAdvisor, McAfee LiveSafe, and Most Dangerous Celebrities are registered trademarks or trademarks of McAfee, Inc., or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others. ©2011 McAfee, Inc. All rights reserved.

ISBuzz Staff
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