If you do an online search for super model and TV host Heidi Klum you stand a one-in-10 chance of clicking to a malicious website, according to Internet security company McAfee. Klum bumped Cameron Diaz from the top spot in the fifth annual research study.
McAfee researched popular culture’s most famous people to reveal the riskiest celebrity athletes, musicians, politicians, comedians and Hollywood stars on the Web. The McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrities study found movie stars and models top the “most dangerous” list this year, while singers and sports stars are among the safest.
Cybercriminals often use the names of popular celebrities to lure people to sites that are actually laden with malicious software. Anyone looking for the latest videos or pictures could end up with a malware-ridden computer instead of just trendy content.
“While slightly safer than last year, searching for top celebrities continues to generate risky results,” said Paula Greve, director of Web security research at McAfee. “Consumers should be particularly aware of malicious content hiding in ‘tiny’ places like shortened URLs that can spread virally in social networking sites, or through e-mails and text messages from friends.”
McAfee research found that searching for the latest Heidi Klum pictures and downloads yields more than a nine percent chance of landing on a website that has tested positive for online threats, such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and other malware.
Here are the “dangerous celebrity” top 10:
1. Heidi Klum – The former Victoria’s Secret model and current producer of “Project Runway” moved up to #1 from #10 on last year’s list
2. Cameron Diaz – actress, dropping one space from #1 in 2010
3. Piers Morgan – CNN host and new entry to the list
4. Jessica Biel – actress, down again after being #1 in 2009
5. Katherine Heigl – actress and new entrant
6. Mila Kunis – actress and new entrant
7. Anna Paquin – actress, up from #10 in 2010
8. Adriana Lima – Victoria’s Secret model
9. Scarlett Johansson – actress
10. Emma Stone, Brad Pitt and Rachel McAdams in three-way tie
McAfee notes that headlines don’t equate to risk. This year actor Charlie Sheen made headlines with his highly public departure from “Two and a Half Men” and his one-man road show, among other things. Despite the publicity, however, Sheen is not classified as a “dangerous” celebrity. Sheen ranked No. 59 on this year’s list, with less than three percent of searches yielding risky results.
“Hot movies and TV shows, awards and industry accolades seem to be more of a factor than headline-grabbing activity,” said Greve. “Still, searching for any celebrity can bring up risky sites and the public should use caution by not clicking on any page that looks suspicious.”
RBR-TVBR observation: If you’re not a regular RBR-TVBR reader and landed on this page because you did a search for Heidi Klum – well, luck was with you today.