When it comes to cybercrime, women are more dangerous than men and singer Phil Collins’ daughter Lily Collins is the most dangerous woman of all, McAfee’s latest survey of risky celebrity searches has revealed.
Using the firm’s SiteAdvisor browser plug-in to gather its statistics (i.e. gathered from people who use it), Collins achieved the top spot for 2013 with 14.3 percent of searches landing on a malware-related website, ahead of April Lavigne (12.7 percent), Sandra Bullock (10.8 percent), Kathy Griffin (10.6 percent), Zoe Saldana (10.5 percent), Katy Perry (10.4 percent), Britney Spears (10.1 percent), Jon Hamm (10 percent), Rita Ora (10 percent), and Adriana Lima (9.9 percent).
It’s not clear why actress Collins is now the most abused celebrity – last year’s winner was Harry Potter star Emma Watson - but dangerous search terms included ‘Lily Collins and free downloads,’ ‘Lily Collins and nude pictures,’ ‘Lily Collins and fakes,’ and ‘Lily Collins and free app download,’ McAfee said.
The 2013 list reveals two interesting patterns, most prominently that all but one of the top ten are women. Second, the list is completely different from the female-dominated list published by McAfee in 2012.
The dominance of women is most likely connected to the extremely public nature of female celebrity in early 21st Century civilization while the complete disappearance of last year’s top ten will be connected to the search engine optimisation carried out by the criminals pushing poisoned searches; quite simply last year’s top names are no longer in the news often enough to be endorsed by criminals as good lures.
Appearing near the top of the this list doesn’t appear to signify importance or even widespread fame – many more famous names with longer careers behind them make appearances much further down the list. The malware pushers are simply going after fame-of-the-moment among a mainly young audience of potential victims that forms a small but vulnerable subset of Internet users.
“We have got used to accessing the latest gossip and pictures of our favourite celebrities on demand,” said McAfee CTO EMEA, Raj Samani.
“But we need to remember that cybercriminals take advantage of the latest cultural trends, new movies and hit TV shows to target unsuspecting consumers seeking more information. These criminals want to lure us to unsafe sites that can severely infect computers and devices and even steal personal data,” he said.
It’s an unintended irony that fact McAfee’s Most Dangerous Celebrities list will help to make the middle-ranking celebrity Collins even more famous than she currently is, in turn also making her more attractive for cybercriminals to exploit.
[Note: McAfee's celebrity lists vary slightly from country to country.]