Celeb Searches: Most Dangerous Names on the Web

'Cybercriminals are star watchers too,' says software maker McAfee

ByABC News
August 25, 2009, 10:51 AM

Aug. 25, 2009 — -- What's the matter with Jessica Biel? McAfee, the anti-virus software maker, is out with its third annual list of the most dangerous names to search on the web, and reports that if you Google "Jessica Biel screensavers" (or Yahoo or Bing it), almost half the downloads you could click on will try to deposit malware (viruses, pop-up ads, spyware, etc.) in your computer.

Here is McAfee's list of the "Riskiest Celebrities to Search on the Web":

1. Jessica Biel
2. Beyonce
3. Jennifer Aniston
4. Tom Brady
5. Jessica Simpson
6. Gisele Bundchen
7. Miley Cyrus
8. Megan Fox, Angelina Jolie (tie)
9. Ashley Tisdale
10. Brad Pitt (he was first last year)
11. Reese Witherspoon
12. Britney Spears
13. Rihanna
14. Lindsay Lohan
15. Kim Kardashian

"Cybercriminals are star watchers too -- they latch onto popular celebrities to encourage the download of malicious software in disguise," said Jeff Green, a McAfee senior vice president, in a press 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 says it compiled the rankings using software it makes called SiteAdvisor. There is a version you can download for free, which warns how risky a site is before you click on it.

This comes with the standard disclaimer that McAfee is in the business of selling software to protect your machine from such crises. Their virus-scan programs start at $29.99. They add that Windows computers are not the only vulnerable ones; users of Apple, Linux and others get hit too.

There are many competitors, of course, and some of the best don't charge anything for their most basic versions. Norton, AVG, Kaspersky and F-Secure are among the most popular.

In June, McAfee went through the top 2,600 search terms from Google, Yahoo and elsewhere, and came out with an overall list of riskiest searches -- celebrities need not apply. It was a very different list:

1. Word Unscrambler
2. Lyrics
3. MySpace
4. Free Music Downloads
5. Phelps, Weber-Gale, Jones and Lezak Wins 4x 100m Relay
6. Free Music
7. Game Cheats
8. Printable Fill in Puzzles
9. Free Ringtones
10. Solitaire