Who doesn't have a pop celebrity fan in their family? You know, people who constantly scour the web for the latest news on a particular movie star or musical artist.
Well, cybercriminals are on the lookout for the latest celebrity trends too, and they exploit the public's obsession with the most popular celebrities to lure fans into giving up more than their admiration.
Here are the names and terms you, your kids and your friends should watch out for when you search for them online.
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2017's most dangerous celebrities
This year, female pop-rock celebrity Avril Lavigne has dethroned Amy Schumer as "the most dangerous celebrity to search online."
This dubious title is courtesy of McAfee, and for the 11th year in a row, the computer security company has listed the top 10 riskiest celebrities you shouldn't Google. This year, Lavigne ousted last year's "winner," Amy Schumer, to take the top spot.
According to McAfee, searching for these celebrities return the most dangerous results that can expose users to malicious links and websites.
Additionally, searching for the celebrity name plus "free mp3" generated the most links for potentially malicious websites. This helps propel musicians to regularly make the list but this is actually the first time the top 10 is wholly dominated by musical celebrities.
Here's McAfee's list of top 10 most dangerous celebrities in 2017:
- Avril Lavigne
- Bruno Mars
- Carly Rae Jepsen
- Zayn Malik
- Celine Dion
- Calvin Harris
- Justin Bieber
- Katy Perry
By exploiting the consuming public's fascination with celebrities, cybercriminals are using these names to lure online denizens to potentially dangerous websites that can install malware and steal personal information.
"In today’s digital world, we want the latest hit albums, videos, movies and more, immediately available on our devices," said McAfee's Gary Davis. "Consumers often prioritize their convenience over security by engaging in risky behavior like clicking on suspicious links that promise the latest content from celebrities.
"It’s imperative that they slow down and consider the risks associated with searching for downloadable content. Thinking before clicking goes a long way to stay safe online," he continued.
Who is Avril Lavigne?
Well, she's just the second best-selling Canadian female artist of all time, selling more than 40 million albums worldwide.
Lavigne took a musical hiatus the last four years due to her battle with Lyme disease. She recently announced that she's putting out new music soon and this may be the reason for the resurgence in online searches for her name.
According to McAfee, if you search for "Avril Lavigne free mp3" right now, you have a 22 percent chance of landing on a malicious website.
How to stay safe
- Be careful with links you click - Looking to get a sneak peek at your favorite artist's unreleased album? Well, these unofficial releases are mostly bogus. It's better to just wait for the official release than visiting shady websites that may contain malware.
- Searching for "Free MP3s" online is dangerous - Searching for "free MP3" generated the most results for dangerous websites so please be careful. To listen to the latest music from your favorite artists, please stick with official services like iTunes or Spotify.