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September 10, 2012

Emma Watson is most dangerous online celebrity

Harry Potter star is most likely to lead users to malware, McAfee claims

By Steve Evans

Emma Watson
Image courtesy of Ursulakm, Flickr

Harry Potter star Emma Watson has been named the most dangerous celebrity on the internet by security firm McAfee.

The McAfee report revealed that Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, is the celebrity most used by cyber crooked to lure people into downloading malicious software.

The company claims that an online search for Watson has a one-in-eight chance of landing on a malware-infested website. Users adding phrases such as "nude pictures" and "free downloads" are more likely to end up on a dodgy site, the report revealed.

Watson replaces supermodel Heidi Klum as the web’s most dangerous celebrity. The top 10 is made up entirely of female celebrities, with US talk show host Jimmy Kimmel (number 13) the only male in the top 20.

The rest of the top ten is: Jessica Biel, Eva Mendes, Selena Gomez, Halle Berry, Megan Fox, Shakira, Cameron Diaz, Salma Hayek and Sofia Vergara.

In today’s celebrity culture, consumers expect to be able to go online to catch up with the latest photos, videos, tweets, and stories about their favourite celebrities," said Paula Greve, director of web security research at McAfee.

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"Due to the richness of the data and the high interaction, often times consumers forget the risks that they are taking by clicking on the links. As the sophistication and expectations of consumers with respect to their online experience has increased, so has the level and ability to deliver malware either by malvertising, exploiting the user’s browser without their awareness, or masking malicious URLs behind shortened URLs," Greve added.

Earlier this summer McAfee declared Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo the most dangerous footballer in cyber space. It calculated that the Real Madrid.

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