Recently, news regarding famous actress Scarlett Johansson’s nude photos surfaced the Web as the actress’ mobile phone was allegedly hacked by cybercriminals. Now if you’re a curious cat and set out searching for nude photos of Johansson without finishing this article, chances are you’d probably get a virus in doing so.
“The bad guys really capitalize on this type of media. If you have a super attractive celebrity like Scarlett is and if the rumors of nude photos are true, then the bad guys will be searching for that,” Hiep Dang, McAfee’s Director of Research & Operations, told E! News.
According to McAfee, one of the top internet security companies, cybercriminals are using celebrities to lure people into websites with spyware, spam, phishing and other viruses designed to steal personal information. There’s a one in ten chance of coming across these malicious websites. This is the company’s fifth consecutive year in making the notorious celebrity poll.
Heidi Klum, former Victoria’s Secret Angel and Project Runway host and judge, topped this year’s McAfee’s Most Dangerous Celebrities, followed by Cameron Diaz, the top-billed actress who topped last year’s poll, and surprisingly, Piers Morgan, CNN talk show host and America’s Got Talent judge.
Being a sexy or frequently mentioned celebrity doesn’t necessarily land you on the list, as Charlie Sheen, who was an inescapable headline all summer, only ranked 59th this year.
1) Heidi Klum – Klum, the former Victoria’s Secret model and current producer of “Project Runway” moved up from No. 10 on last year’s list to No. 1 today.
2) Cameron Diaz – 2010’s Most Dangerous Celebrity fell to second place, with searches resulting in slightly fewer risky sites this year.
3) Piers Morgan – A new addition to the top ten list and is also the most dangerous male celebrity. He is best known as the host of “Piers Morgan Tonight,” taking over for Larry King, a winner of the “Celebrity Apprentice,” and one of the judges on “America’s Got Talent.”
4) Jessica Biel – 2009’s Most Dangerous Celebrity fell one more spot this year as well.
5) Katherine Heigl – The former “Grey’s Anatomy” star moved into the top ten for the first time this year.
6) Mila Kunis – The former star of “That 70s Show” makes her first showing in the top ten, bolstered by starring in movies such as “Black Swan” and “Friends with Benefits.”
7) Anna Paquin – This “True Blood” star is as dangerous on the Web as she is on the screen. She moved up from No. 10 last year to No. 7 this year.
8) Adriana Lima – Searching for downloads of this Brazilian beauty can direct users to red-ranked sites. Lima is best known for being a Victoria’s Secret Angel since 2000.
9) Scarlett Johansson – The former child star has gotten more dangerous as she’s grown up. Named in 2010 as “Babe of The Year” by GQ Magazine, Johansson most recently appeared in “Iron Man 2.”
10) Emma Stone, Brad Pitt and Rachel McAdams – Pitt has been a mainstay of this list, appearing in the top ten for the past four years. Stone and McAdams are new to the top ten. Stone, the star of last year’s “Easy A” has appeared in “The Help” and “Crazy Stupid Love” this year. McAdams has most recently appeared in “Morning Glory” and “Midnight in Paris.”
“When you see a message that says ‘This is too funny you gotta look at this’ or ‘Check out nude photos,’ it’s people whose curiosity gets the best of them falling victim to this thing,” adds the security expert. “Once they get infected with malware, then a bad guy can steal your personal identifiable information, credit card and banking information. Celebrities have fallen victim to this as well, like Scarlett Johansson.”
McAfee advise people to arm themselves with the McAfee Total Protection security software that has anti-virus, anti-spyware, identity and firewall protection, as well as the SiteAdvisor that displays red, yellow or green web safety ratings within Internet search results pages. It also blocks risky websites, adds anti-phishing protection, and helps users more safely surf, shop and bank online.
While McAfee gets an opportunity to promote its own security services with this yearly poll, the security industry is really ramping up thanks to a summer of high profile breaches and the rapid growth of mobile apps and the mobile web. Symantec also released a major yearly update to its security services this month, launching Norton 2012 for work, business and play on your computer and mobile phones.