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McAfee recently published the results of its 2012 Most Dangerous Celebrities study, which found that searches for film star Emma Watson have more than a 12.6 percent chance of leading to a malicious Web site.
"This year Watson bumps supermodel Heidi Klum from the top spot," RTTNews reports.
"According to McAfee this year, searching for a celebrity name with 'free downloads' and 'nude pictures' as part of the search term resulted in the highest result of risky sites," writes The Telegraph's Lucy Kinder.
"Other famous people leading this year's dangerous Web celeb chart include Jessica Biel, Selena Gomez, Halle Berry, Megan Fox, Shakira, Cameron Diaz, Salma Hayek, and, in tenth place, Sofia Vergara," writes PCWorld's Ian Paul. "The only two celebrities making a return appearance from 2011 were actresses Biel and Diaz, who led McAfee's list in 2009 and 2010 respectively. Since McAfee began issuing its dangerous celebs list six years ago, 2012 marks the first time that not one man made it into the top ten."
"In today’s celebrity culture, consumers expect to be able to go online to catch up with the latest photos, videos, tweets, and stories about their favorite celebrities," McAfee director of security research Paula Greve said in a statement. "Due to the richness of the data and the high interaction, often times consumers forget the risks that they are taking by clicking on the links. As the sophistication and expectations of consumers with respect to their online experience has increased, so has the level and ability to deliver malware either by malvertising, exploiting the user’s browser without their awareness, or masking malicious URLs behind shortened URLs."
"It’s not just searching for celebrities that can lead you to malware on the web, of course," notes Geek.com's Lee Mathews. "Pretty much any trending topic is going to be abused by malware opportunists. It’s important to make sure that you trust the websites you’re browsing and always keep your web browser and all its plug-ins -- especially Java and Flash -- fully updated."