Jimmy Kimmel, comedian and late night host of Jimmy Kimmel Live, replaces Lily Collins (Mirror, Mirror) as McAfee’s most dangerous celebrity to search for online.
For the eighth year in a row, McAfee researched popular culture’s most famous people to reveal the riskiest personalities on the Web. The McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrities study revealed that an eclectic mix of comedians and musicians are among the most dangerous.
Jimmy Kimmel is the second male to find his way to the No. 1 spot (moving up from No. 39) following Brad Pitt in 2008. DJ Armin van Buuren takes the number two spot behind Kimmel, and Ciara, the third. Additional celebrities in the top 10 include Blake Shelton, Britney Spears (holding her place at No.7), and three New Jersey natives: Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and Chelsea Handler.
As underscored by the recent hacking of female celebrities’ private photos, cybercriminals are consistently looking for ways to take advantage of consumer interest around popular culture events such as award shows, new movies and TV shows, as well as the latest celebrity-driven cultural trends. These criminals capitalize on the public’s fascination with celebrity to lure them to sites laden with malware, which enable them to steal passwords and personal information.
“Most consumers are completely unaware of the security risks that exist when searching for celebrity and entertainment news, images and videos online, sacrificing safety for immediacy,” said Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at McAfee. “Cybercriminals capitalize on consumers’ attention to breaking celebrity news and leverage this behavior to lead them to unsafe sites that can severely infect their computers and devices and steal personal data.”
“Celebrity names coupled with the terms “video’ and “picture’ are some of the most-searched terms on the Internet,” said Michelle Dennedy, chief privacy officer at McAfee. “Cybercriminals exploit consumers’ need to be updated on celebrity news, leading them to sites that can harm their devices and compromise personal data. We want to ensure we’re equipping consumers with the knowledge they need to keep both themselves and their devices safe.”
McAfee research found that searching for the latest Jimmy Kimmel pictures and downloads yields more than a 19% chance of landing on a website that has tested positive for online threats, such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and other malware.
How you can stay protected:
Beware of clicking on third party links. You should access content directly from official websites of content providers. For example, visit ABC.com to find Jimmy Kimmel’s latest episodes.
Ensure you use web protection that will notify you of risky sites or links before you visit them. Stick to official news sites for breaking news.
Don’t download videos from suspect sites. This should be common sense, but it bears repeating: don’t download anything from a website you don’t trust — especially video. Most news clips you’d want to see can easily be found on official video sites and don’t require you to download anything.
“Free downloads” are by far the highest virus-prone search term. Anyone searching for videos or files to download should be careful as not to unleash unsafe content such as malware onto their computers.
Always use password protection on your phone and other mobile devices. If you don’t and your phone is lost or stolen, anyone who picks up the device could have access to your personal information online.
Don’t “log in” or provide other information: If you receive a message, text or email or visit a third-party website that asks for your information—credit card, email, home address, Facebook login, or other information—to grant access to an exclusive story, don’t give it out. Such requests are a common tactic for phishing that could lead to identity theft.