How Googling Cameron Diaz can mess up your computer
Searching for Cameron Diaz online carries a one-in-ten chance of landing on a website containing with malicious software, according to a report by the computer security firm McAfee.
Searching for Cameron Diaz online carries a one-in-ten chance of landing on a website festering with malicious software that can infect your computer, according to security tech company McAfee.
Diaz topped this year's list of McAfee's Most Dangerous Celebrities, knocking last year's riskiest search bait Jessica Biel down to number three. (Both stars have coincidentally dated Justin Timberlake, who did not make this year's list.)
Crafty cybercriminals infuse some of the internet's most popular searches such as movie stars, musicians, athletes and politicians, with malicious software, or "malware." These unsavory programs include spyware, adware, computer viruses, email spam and phishing scams.
McAfee has published the list four years in a row now to boost sales of its SiteAdvisor program that vets websites for malware and performs other online security pat-downs.
"This year, the search results for celebrities are safer than they've been in previous years, but there are still dangers when searching online," said Dave Marcus, security researcher for McAfee Labs in a statement.
Hot and contagious
Since cybercriminals want to place their traps where people will digitally wander, celebrities are an easy target.
Athletes often carry digital diseases too, at least online. Tiger Woods, no stranger himself to risky behavior, only comes in at number 33, however, with the most plague-ridden athletes sought online being two tennis stars, Maria Sharapova and Andy Roddick, who rank thirteenth and fourteenth. Waning soccer stud David Beckham scored twenty-ninth this year.
How it works
McAfee bases the list's rankings on its SiteAdvisor product that alerts users to a website's general cleanliness in regards to malware. The program color-codes websites in search results with red, yellow or green icons.
It also checks the safety of links in emails and instant messengers and will block a website deemed disease-ridden.
The software works in various browsers and when purchased as a standalone service it sells for $20.
In other McAfee news today, microchip giant Intel announced a purchase of the company for $7.68 billion.
Online security continues to heat up, with some security experts warning that the "viruses are winning" and that internet passwords must be at least 12 characters long to be safe.