The company defines malicious content as spyware, adware, spam, viruses, or phishing mechanisms. Visiting sites hosting such content, particularly using a computer with software that hasn't been updated to the latest version, can often result in that computer being compromised.
Cybercriminals know that celebrities and popular news generate significant interest among Internet users and thus try to place malware at sites where visitors might seek that sort of information. When such sites prove secure, they will create their own sites with malicious content or post malicious content though a user content submission mechanism and then create spam messages and external Web links to drive search traffic to their trapped sites.
"Cybercriminals are star watchers too -- they latch onto popular celebrities to encourage the download of malicious software in disguise," said Jeff Green, SVP of McAfee Avert Labs, in a statement. "Consumers' obsession with celebrity news and culture is harmless in theory, but one bad download can cause a lot of damage to a computer."
McAfee's list of the top ten most dangerous celebrity searches includes: