Mumbai, India, October 14, 2014: In its eighth edition this year, McAfee’s Most Sensational Celebrity survey has found Bollywood’s Alia Bhatt topping the charts in Indian cyberspace. As part of the program, McAfee researched popular culture’s most famous people to reveal the riskiest celebrity across the web and unveil the 2014 rendition of its ‘Most Sensational Celebrity’ research. Alia trumps Priyanka Chopra, who topped the list in 2013.
As cybercriminals exploit consumers’ need to be updated on celebrity news, McAfee’s survey highlights the pitfalls of the trend. These criminals capitalize on the public’s fascination to lure them to sites loaded with malware, which in turn allows them to steal passwords and personal information. This year, searching for a ‘celebrity name’ coupled with search terms like ‘wallpaper’, ‘videos’, ‘free download’, ‘hot pictures’, ‘selfie’ and ‘internet memes’ have resulted in instances of malware-laden sites.
Commenting on the findings of the study, Venkat Krishnapur, Vice-President of Engineering- Consumer, Business Group, McAfee India Centre, McAfee, Part of Intel Security said, “By including the names of popular celebrities in a website’s search tags, consumers are completely unaware of the security risks that exist which can severely infect their computers, devices and steal personal data. Cybercriminals are consistently looking for ways to take advantage of consumer interest around new movies, TV shows, as well as the latest celebrity-driven trends. For e.g. the selfie craze that has gripped Bollywood, the ice bucket challenge videos or internet memes created for sheer fun.”
How You Can Stay Protected:
- Beware of clicking on third party links. You should access content directly from official websites of content providers. For example, visit ABC.com to find Jimmy Kimmel’s latest episodes.
- Ensure you use web protection that will notify you of risky sites or links before you visit them. Stick to official news sites for breaking news.
- Don’t download videos from suspect sites. This should be common sense, but it bears repeating: don’t download anything from a website you don’t trust — especially video. Most news clips you’d want to see can easily be found on official video sites and don’t require you to download anything.
- “Free downloads” are by far the highest virus-prone search term. Anyone searching for videos or files to download should be careful as not to unleash unsafe content such as malware onto their computers.
- Always use password protection on your phone and other mobile devices. If you don’t and your phone is lost or stolen, anyone who picks up the device could have access to your personal information online.
- Don’t “log in” or provide other information: 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. Such requests are a common tactic for phishing that could lead to identity theft.
- Search online using a tool, such as SiteAdvisor software, which protects users from malicious websites and browser exploits. A complimentary version of SiteAdvisor software can be downloaded at www.siteadvisor.com.
- Web surfers can also visit the McAfee Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mcafee and McAfee Security Advice Center for information on the latest consumer threats, and tips for living safe online.
- If you do decide to search for information on a major event or celebrity in the news, make sure your entire household’s devices have protection, such as McAfee LiveSafe service, which protects all devices from your PCs, Macs, and tablets to your smartphone. It also includes malware detection software, McAfee Mobile Security, to protect your smartphone or tablet from all types of malware.
The study was conducted using McAfee SiteAdvisor site ratings to determine which sites are risky to search when attached to celebrity names on the Web and calculates an overall risk percentage. McAfee SiteAdvisor technology protects users from malicious websites and browser exploits. SiteAdvisor technology tests and rates nearly every Internet website it finds, and uses red, yellow and green icons to indicate the website’s risk level. Ratings are created by using patented advanced technology to conduct automated website tests and works with Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari and Firefox.
The terms “Alia Bhatt wallpaper,” “Alia Bhatt videos,” “Alia Bhatt free downloads,” “Alia Bhatt hot pictures,” “Alia Bhatt selfie,” and “Alia Bhatt internet memes” were used to search for Alia Bhatt, and replicated for each celebrity on the list. The results indicated the percentage of risk of running into online threats designed to steal personal information. Fans clicking on these risky sites and downloading files including photos and videos become more vulnerable to downloading viruses and malware.