The showbiz-obsessed cyber-geek might take great enjoyment in tapping away at a keyboard to find out what their favourite stars are up to, but a study has shown that there are some big names whose search results pose more of a risk than others.
Security software company McAfee is aware of how cyber criminals try to piggyback on the popularity of celebrity searches, and has investigated which stars’ search results yield the highest chance of landing on a malicious site.
According to the study, the celebrity whose name is the most linked to cyber threat when searched for is Canadian singer Avril Lavigne. Googling (or ‘Binging’ or ‘Yahooing’) the 32-year-old pop-punker may not seem a ‘Complicated’ action, but it might leave you thinking ‘What The Hell’ with a 14.51% risk rating, suggesting that ‘The Best Damn Thing’ to do might be to leave Lavigne alone.
Moving on to the rest of the top 10 (because I don’t know enough Avril Lavigne songs to create any more puns), it’s an even split between male and female stars, but all of them are musicians. The full list is:
1. Avril Lavigne
2. Bruno Mars
3. Carly Rae Jepson
4. Zayn Malik
5. Celine Dion
6. Calvin Harris
7. Justin Bieber
9. Katy Perry
The dominance of musicians is likely to be explained by the added risk of stumbling upon viruses and malware by downloading MP3s and other audio files. In fact, the risk becomes notably more significant if the search is specifically for MP3 content. A search for ‘Avril Lavigne free MP3’ carries a 22% risk.
In Lavigne’s case, McAfee has suggested her position is down to a combination of a possible new album out before the end of the year, and a far-fetched conspiracy theory that Lavigne has actually died and been replaced by a lookalike – a story similar to one that once did the rounds about Beatles member Paul McCartney.
McAfee also carried out the research specific to the UK, and found that Craig David is the most dangerous celebrity to search for on these shores, with around 10% of his results that promise free content leading to malicious websites and leaving you wishing you could ‘Rewind’ your search history.
With Emeli Sande, Liam Payne, Adele and Ed Sheeran searches all linked with cyberthreat too, the advice from McAfee is to wait for official album releases rather than poke about on third-party websites, steer clear of ‘free MP3’ searches and, predictably, use McAfee security protection software.