If you’re looking for Cameron Diaz, Julia Roberts or Jessica Biel online, so be careful! Why?! Because these movie stars top the latest list of the most dangerous celebrities to search for online, according to the new research by computer-security software maker McAfee Inc.
Justin Timberlake must have a thing for dangerous women. Last year, the Web’s riskiest celebrity search was the pop star’s current girlfriend starlet Jessica Biel.
And this year, Timberlake’s former flame Cameron Diaz took the top spot on Internet security firm McAfee’s annual list of the most dangerous stars to search for on the Web.
Look up one of these people and you almost invite computer viruses and worms to invade your computer.
“It’s sort of a little bit of rivalry from the traditional world going to the cyber world,” said Dmitri Alperovitch, McAfee’s vice president of threat research. “It’s fascinating how cyber criminals can be so in tune with the popularity of various actresses and models. …They’re actually a fantastic barometer of their popularity.”
Every year, McAfee compiles the rankings using its free software SiteAdvisor, which alerts users to a website’s riskiness before they click on it.
Its 2010 study, which McAfee released today, found that users have a 19 percent chance of landing on a malicious site when they search the Web for “Cameron Diaz.”
Searching for pictures and downloads of the actress gives you a 10 percent chance of reaching a site infected with spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and other cyber traps that can harm your computer or steal personal information.
Celebrity Searches Safer This Year, McAfee Said. Alperovitch said that even though celebrity searches were safer overall this year, searching for Diaz is even riskier than searching for Biel.
“She’s been in the spotlight recently with a number of blockbuster movies, “Knight and Day,” of course, with Tom Cruise,” he said. “What we see is that we people who are in the news recently… they tend to be at the top of the list because they’re on peoples’ minds. People tend to go on Google and Bing and search for them after they’ve watched their movies. Cyber criminals realize that very well and target people when they do this.”
To keep your celebrity searches safe, Alperovitch recommended making sure your computer is running an up-to-date antivirus program. McAfee sells them — incentive for them to publish today’s list — but so do competitors. Norton, AVG, Kaspersky and F-Secure are some of the most popular makers of security software.
“If you’re searching for screen savers, downloads or ringtones, which are affiliated with very risky behavior, it almost inevitably will lead you to an infected site,” he said. “News and information tend to be a lot safer.”
Here’s the full 2010 list of McAfee’s ‘Most Dangerous Celebrities’:
- Cameron Diaz – Searching for Diaz results in a one in ten chance of landing on a risky site. She has most recently been in the spotlight with blockbuster movies, “Knight and Day” and “Shrek Forever After.” When “Cameron Diaz and screensavers” was searched, 19 percent of the sites were identified as containing malicious downloads.
- Julia Roberts – Academy Award-winning actress Julia Roberts is one of America’s sweethearts, and will soon be in the spotlight with her upcoming release of “Eat, Pray, Love.” The overall risk of searching for Roberts is nine percent, yet searching for “Julia Roberts and downloads” results in a 20 percent chance of downloading a photo, wallpaper or other file laden with malware.
- Jessica Biel – Last year’s Most Dangerous Celebrity fell two spots with searches resulting in fewer risky sites this year. Biel continues to be in the spotlight with her on-again, off-again relationship with Justin Timberlake, and appeared in “The A-Team” in June 2010. While her overall search risk is nine percent, searching for “Jessica Biel and screensavers” results in a 17 percent chance of landing on a risky site.
- Gisele Bündchen – The world’s highest-paid supermodel moved up two spots since last year. Searching for “Gisele Bündchen and screensavers” can prove risky, 15 percent of the search results for this beauty can put spyware, malware or viruses on your computer.
- Brad Pitt – Pitt is often in the spotlight with news of his movies and his personal life. It’s no wonder why this leading man has been in the top ten for the past three years. He moved up in rank five spots this year. Downloading photos, screensavers, or other files of Brad can potentially put adware or spyware in your computer.
- Adriana Lima – Searching for downloads of this Brazilian beauty can direct users to red-ranked sites. Lima is best known for being a Victoria’s Secret Angel since 2000.
- Jennifer Love Hewitt, Nicole Kidman – Searching for these Hollywood starlets resulted in an equal number of risky download websites.
- Tom Cruise – With recent buzz around his MTV Awards performance as well as his movie, “Knight and Day,” Cruise rises to the top ten.
- Heidi Klum, Penelope Cruz – Both of these ladies are consistently in the spotlight, and share the #9 spot. Cybercriminals use their names to lure people to risky sites. Klum hosts “Project Runway” and Cruz has been in the spotlight recently for her role in the “Sex and the City 2” movie and is expected to be in the fourth film of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series.
- Anna Paquin – This “True Blood” star is as dangerous on the Web as she is on the screen. Searching for screensavers of Paquin can lead you to downloads filled with malware.
McAfee said that tennis stars Maria Sharapova and Any Roddick came in at No. 13 and 14 respectively. Soccer star David Beckham ranked 29th and golfer Tiger Woods was 33rd.