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Risk

Cameron Diaz Is The Web's Most Dangerous Celebrity

New McAfee report investigates the most trendy noteables for cyber attacks, finds Barack Obama and Sarah Palin are among the safest.

Beware of clicking on search engine results pertaining to Cameron Diaz.

According to the fourth annual "Most Dangerous Celebrities" report from McAfee, released Thursday, online attackers now favor the "Shrek" star over all other celebrities, and clicking on related links in search engine results will give you a 10% chance of landing on a malicious website.

Search for screensavers and Cameron Diaz, and 19% of the search results will lead to websites containing malicious downloads.

Diaz is followed in risk level by Julia Roberts, Jessica Biel -- last year's "most dangerous celebrity" -- and model Gisele Bundchen, with Brad Pitt rounding out the top 5. Counting Bundchen, along with Adriana Lima and Heidi Klum, three of the celebrities on the top 10 list have been Victoria's Secret models.

"Cybercriminals follow the same hot topics as consumers, and create traps based on the latest trends," said Dave Marcus, a security researcher for McAfee Labs, in a statement. "Whether you're surfing the Web from your computer or your phone or clicking on links in Twitter about your favorite celeb, you should surf safely, and make sure you're using the latest security software."

The prevalence of fake links is due to malware that poisons search engines, tricking them into displaying links to websites that push drive-by downloads on users or trick them into downloading malicious applications, such as fake antivirus software.

Thankfully, search results these days are growing safer, in part because attackers are focusing more energy on social networking.

"Now they're hiding malicious content in 'tiny' places like shortened URLs that can spread virally in social networking sites and Twitter, instead of on websites and downloads,' said Marcus. Shortened URLs, of course, are much more difficult for users to parse, making it less clear before clicking on a link whether it's legitimate or not.

If search results for many Hollywood stars and models pose an online safety risk, which celebrity links are relatively safe? Try politicians. The two least risky personalities on McAfee's top 50 list for 2010 are president Barack Obama and Sarah Palin.

 

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