Cybercriminals target Emma Watson fans

Posted on September 21, 2012


Emma Watson, she of Hermione Grainger fame in the Harry Potter series of films, has been revealed as the web’s most dangerous celebrity.

According to the 2012 McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrities list, the English actress is a popular choice for online criminals looking to steal personal data and plant viruses. Anyone searching for information about the 22 year-old has a one in eight chance of hitting such a site.

The list, which last year was topped by Heidi Klum, also showed once again that females are the trend of choice for such illegal activity.

This year, just one man, US comic Jimmy Kimmel made the top 20.

Increasingly, cybercriminals follow the latest trends in popular culture to create sites often laden with harmful software. Other methods used include creating sites offering free downloads.

Talking about this year’s findings, McAfee’s Paule Greve said:

“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 favourite celebrities. 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.”

The firm’s web security director also went on top warn that searching for any celebrity held a measure of risk.

However, whilst such sites do appear in the SERPs, they are rarely high up the rankings, with well-crafted SEO for genuine sites performing far better. Many of those looking for such search terms will trawl further down the results pages, increasing their risk of exposure to scamming sites.

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