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September 19, 2011

Searching for Heidi Klum on Web could land you in hackers’ net

Movie stars and models top the list this year while singers and sports stars are among the safest in McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrities 2011

By CBR Staff Writer

Searching for model Heidi Klum on the Internet carries a high risk of running into malware-fitted websites and other files such as photos, videos and screensavers, revealed Internet security company McAfee.

Klum replaced actress Cameron Diaz as the most dangerous celebrity to search for on the Web in McAfee’s Most Dangerous Celebrities study.

Other celebrities in the top 10 list are: TV host Piers Morgan; Jessica Biel; Katherine Heigl; Mila Kunis; Anna Paquin; Adriana Lima; Scarlett Johansson; and Emma Stone, Brad Pitt and Rachel McAdams are tied at No. 10.

Gisele Bündchen, Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts have all dropped out of this year’s top 10 list, said McAfee.

It is a common ploy of cybercriminals to use the names of popular celebrities to lure people to sites that have malware hidden in photos, videos and other popular dowloading files.

"Anyone looking for the latest videos or pictures could end up with a malware-ridden computer instead of just trendy content," said McAfee.

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The McAfee study is in its fifth year in a row. McAfee researched most famous people to find the riskiest celebrity athletes, musicians, politicians, comedians and Hollywood stars on the Web. The study revealed that movie stars and models top the "most dangerous" list this year while singers and sports stars are among the safest.

The McAfee study found that searching for the latest Heidi Klum pictures and downloads yields more than a 9% chance of landing on a website that has tested positive for online threats, such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and other malware.

The security company said that "fans searching for ‘Heidi Klum’ or ‘Heidi Klum and downloads,’ ‘Heidi Klum and ‘free’ downloads,’ ‘Heidi Klum and photos’ and ‘Heidi Klum and videos’ are at risk of running into online threats designed to steal personal information."

"Clicking on these risky sites and downloading files like photos, videos or screensavers exposes surfers or consumers to the risk of downloading the viruses and malware," added McAfee.

The study also found that Tennis stars Maria Sharapova and Andy Roddick, who came in at No. 13 and No. 14 respectively last year have dropped to No. 44 and No. 56 on this year’s list. Singer Justin Bieber was No. 49 this year, followed by Rihanna and Carrie Underwood who were tied at No. 51, and Lady Gaga was No. 58, said McAfee.

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