If You Search for Celebrity News or Photos, You Could End Up With a Computer Virus

Looking for pictures of actress Jessica Biel on the internet could damage your computer! The security firm McAfee recently released their list of the most dangerous celebrities to search for on the Web. This year, actress Jessica Biel was number one. It turns out, fans searching for things like “Jessica Biel,” “Jessica Biel screensavers,” “Jessica Biel videos,” and “Jessica Biel photos” have a one in five chance of landing at a website that’s tested positive for online threats – such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses, and other malicious software. Malicious software is basically anything that’s harmful to you or your computer – for example, it could damage your computer or steal your personal information.

So why would cybercriminals use celebrity names to cause trouble? Mary Landesman works for ScanSafe – another company that provides web security. She feels that people are “too quick to click.” This is especially true when it involves celebrities. Basically, a lot of people want to be “in the loop” when it comes to celebrity news. So when they find a website advertising the latest celebrity stories or photos, they’ll go to the site without even thinking about it. Scammers, spammers, and troublemakers know this. So they’ll use celebrities’ names and images to lure people to sites offering free downloads loaded with malicious software.

So who else made the list of the most dangerous celebrities to search for? After Biel, singer Beyoncé was number 2, and actress Jennifer Aniston was number 3. Cybercriminals also pay attention to which celebrities are currently in the news. For example, in the days after Michael Jackson’s death, one e-mail that was sent around advertised a YouTube video that showed the “last work of Michael Jackson.” People who clicked on the link in the e-mail got a program that stole their passwords. So how can you protect yourself? Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date, and don’t click on any links in e-mails from people you don’t know. Also, don’t download anything or click on any links or pop-up ads when you visit a website – and think twice before visiting a website you’re unfamiliar with.

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