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September 10, 2012

Dangerous Celebrity Searches

By Julie Griffin, Contributing Writer

Getting the latest Hollywood scandal online could cost you more than a $4 US Weekly. According to Google Trends, Blake Lively is currently the most searched celebrity, but her seemingly spontaneous marriage to Ryan Reynolds —  that major news sources published merely hours ago — won’t be available in grocery store check outs until tomorrow. But proceed with caution while searching for the scoop online because more and more cybercriminals have found great opportunities with this weakness for celebrity gossip.

Last year, Kim Kardashian was a highly Googled celeb, but searching for her, oddly enough, was not as dangerous as searching for Heidi Klum. What makes certain celebrities dangerous to search? The same nasty threat that targets government networks around the globe: malware.

Emma Watson, the actress that is familiar to millions of tweens as Harry Potter’s sidekick, is currently the “most dangerous” celebrity to plug into your search browser. According to security service provider, McAffee, there is a one-in-six chance of running into malware over an “Emma Watson” search. Add “nude pictures” or something else along those lines, and the stakes are higher.

Emma Watson image courtesy of Shutterstock.

McAffee’s annual report reveals this year’s list of celebrities most likely to be targeted by cybercriminals. Both Jessica Biel and Cameron Diaz are returning champions, and Jimmy Kimmel is the only male to make the list.

One of the methods used by cybercriminals to snatch personal data is by presenting seemingly legitimate URL’s. The example in PCWorld is as opposed to the magazine’s official site at Other tactics for data snatching are similar to methods deployed by advertisers, like click jacking.

Incidentally, McAfee (News - Alert) is credited for exposing one of the biggest cyber bank robberies in history. Using cloud computing, hackers managed to rob more than $2.5 billion dollars around the world. After users clicked on the links, malware infiltrated their system and Web-injects did the rest.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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