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Most Dangerous Celebrity Searches of 2014 Gets more Additions

Most Dangerous Celebrity Searches of 2014 Gets more Additions

Cheryl Cole has returned to the X Factor, released a new album and got married for a second time this year – and now the singer can add another, albeit less coveted, string to her bow.

The 31-year-old judge, whose married name is now Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, has been voted the web’s most dangerous UK celebrity, while chat show host Jimmy Kimmel tops the list of US celebrities.

Security experts discovered that 15 per cent of searches for the singer are riddled with viruses, spam and other security risks, and this increases to more than 19 per cent for 46-year-old Mr Kimmel.

Security experts at California-based McAfee scanned search results for viruses and spam. They found that 15% of searches for Cheryl Cole (pictured left) – whose married name is now Fernandez-Versini – contain security risks. This increases to 19.4% for US chat show host Jimmy Kimmel (pictured right)

The Most Dangerous Celebrities study was conducted by California-based security firm McAfee.

Other celebrities to make the top ten lists in the UK and US were actor Daniel Radcliffe (13 per cent), DJ Armin van Buuren (19 per cent) and footballer David Beckham (12 per cent).

 One Direction star Harry Styles (11 per cent), rapper Flo Rida (19 per cent) and presenter and singer Alesha Dixon (12 per cent) also made the cut, as did older stars including Bruce Springsteen (19 per cent), Jon Bon Jovi (18 per cent) and comedienne Chelsea Handler (17 per cent).

McAfee said the public thirst for gossip means that many would-be hackers base their attacks and malicious software around links connected to celebrity names – adding words such as ‘video’ or ‘picture’ to the end, in order to lure in users.

MOST DANGEROUS US and UK CELEBRITIES ONLINE

POSITION  |   UK |  PERCENTAGE

1–Cheryl Cole                 15.28%
2–Daniel Radcliffe        13.17%
3–Jessie J                        13.06%
4–David Beckham         12.17%
5–Alesha Dixon              11.85%
6–Ellie Goulding            11.85%
7–Pixie Lott                     11.30%
 8–Harry Styles                10.98%

9–Lily Allen                      10.65%
10–Rita Ora                        10.65%

POSITION   |   US  |   PERCENTAGE

1–Jimmy Kimmel            19.38%
2–Armin van Buuren      19.33%
3–Ciara                              19.31%
4–Flo Rida                          18.89%
5–Bruce Springsteen        18.82%

6–Blake Shelton                18.47%
7–Britney Spears              18.19%
8–Jon Bon Jovi                 17.64%

9–Chelsea Handler          17.22%
10–Christina Aguilera           16.67%

The percentages were compiled using McAfee SiteAdvisor site ratings.

This indicates which sites are risky to search when attached to celebrity names on the web, and experts used this rating to calculate an overall risk percentage. 

In particular, searches for ‘Cheryl Cole downloads’ and ‘Cheryl Cole mp4s’ were some of the riskiest when tested.

The percentages were compiled using McAfee SiteAdvisor site ratings.

This indicates which sites are risky to search when attached to celebrity names on the web, and experts used this rating to calculate an overall risk percentage.

‘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.

‘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 on to their devices and compromise personal data.’

It is thought that techniques like this – where users are enticed into clicking a link – known as ‘phishing’, may have formed part of the hack that had led to the posting of hundreds of nude celebrity photos on online forums.

McAfee has warned that free downloads are ‘by far the highest virus-prone search term’, and advises people to stick to official websites, and not give out personal information when asked via email or text message.

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