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Hermione Granger is an internet danger

Emma Watson tops McAfee’s list of celebrity cyber threats
Mon Sep 10 2012, 14:13
Cyber crime

SECURITY FIRM McAfee has warned internet users that Harry Potter star Emma Watson is the celebrity most likely to be used by online criminals as a lure.

Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the films of the Harry Potter books, tops McAfee's most recent "Most Dangerous Celebrities" list, and has beaten off competition from last year's topper Heidi Klum as well as people like Megan Fox and Selena Gomez.

Women, it seems, are the most dangerous people to search for on the internet, as only one chap, described here as "funnyman Jimmy Kimmel" makes it into the top twenty list.

This is probably because criminals are relying on people to search for pictures of women, and thus are poisoning links and results associated with those. There is a lesson there, but we don't expect many people to learn from it.

"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. Due to the richness of the data and the high interaction, often consumers forget the risks that they are taking by clicking on the links," said Paula Greve, director of web security research at McAfee.

"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."

Searching for Emma Watson and "free downloads" or "nude pictures" puts users at a one in eight chance of landing on a malicious website, according to McAfee, where criminals will be looking to steal their personal information.

Anyone that clicks on links or downloads items will be taking their lives and their identities in their own hands, it warns. µ


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