The Search for Celebrity Gossip Could Land Your Phone in Hot Water

They may be glamorous, but celebrities can make things quite ugly when it comes to the safety of your mobile device. Most have no idea that their “big name” has caused so much chaos to so many smartphones and tablets. Unfortunately, what usually starts as a simple search for the most recent celebrity affair or other tidbit of gossip could open your mobile device to a huge helping of malware.

For the seventh year in a row, McAfee has examined popular celebrity searches on the Internet (from laptops to mobile devices, and everything in between) to determine which famous names are most used by cybercriminals to target your online/mobile searches. For the last five years a female has topped the list (a male has not made #1 since Brad Pitt in 2008). This year is no different with The Mortal Instruments and Mirror Mirror actress Lily Collins taking the top spot—replacing Emma Watson as the Most Dangerous Celebrity™.

Much like last year, female celebrities have dominated the rankings of the top ten. In fact, only one man, Jon Hamm, made the list this year. And, even if we look at the top 20, you’ll find just two more men (Justin Timberlake and Patrick Dempsey). Surprisingly, this is a slightly more balanced female to male ratio than last year, when only one man made the top 20.

With more and more people using their mobile devices as a primary means for browsing the web, it’s important to realize that these devices are every bit as susceptible to cyber attacks as personal computers. Celebrity names remain among the most dangerous searches you can make on the Internet.

Take a look at who else made the list in McAfee’s 2013 Most Dangerous Celebrities™:

MDC_Top10Infographic_US

And whether or not you are on the hunt for the latest chatter around your favorite celebrity, here are some tips to keep you safe when performing any search on your mobile device:

  • Stick to trusted mobile sites and apps. Well-known celebrity gossip websites and are more secure to stock up on celebrity news. Keep your searches to reputable sites and apps. Remember, downloading malicious apps is one of the most common ways for your smartphone or tablet to get infected. For more tips on how to protect against bad apps, click here.
  • If you’re going to use a search engine, do so wisely. When searching on Google, Yahoo! or Bing for celebrity news, use a safe search tool such as McAfee SiteAdvisor®, which protects you from going to known malicious sites. It also protects you from malicious links hidden within text messages, email, social networking sites, and QR codes.
  • If it seems too good to be true… Many cybercriminals target users who are searching for free content on their mobile devices. Clicking on links in text messages or emails for apps that advertise free movies or TV series downloads that aren’t available elsewhere are likely to contain malware.
  • Use comprehensive mobile security on your smartphones and tablets. McAfee® Mobile Security is available for download on Android mobile phones and tablets. It scans for malicious code in files, memory cards, applications, Internet downloads, and text messages—blocking risky websites and protecting you from scams.

To learn more about Most Dangerous Celebrities, click here or read the press release.

Follow @McAfeeConsumer for live online safety updates and tips and use hashtag #RiskyCeleb to discuss the Most Dangerous Celebrities of 2013 or like McAfee on Facebook.

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