Searching about celebrities may be a Risky Affair

New York: It could be a risky affair if you are searching about celebrities like Brad Pitt or Beyonce on the Internet. As cyber criminals are now using their names to lure web browsers, an internet security firm has dubbed the actor and singer the most dangerous celebrities to search for on the internet

California-based McAfee said PCs of the fans searching for information and pictures of Pitt, have an 18 percent chance of being infected with a virus, spyware, spam, phishing and adware.

“Cyber criminals employ numerous methods, yet one of the simplest but most effective ways is to trick consumers into infecting themselves by capitalizing on Americans’ interest in celebrity gossip,” explained Jeff Green, senior vice president of McAfee’s Product Development & Avert Labs. “Tapping into current events, pop culture or commonly browsed sites is an easy way to achieve this,” he added. Web surfers looking for celebrity gossip, screen savers and ring tones are often directed to fake Internet sites that look legitimate but pose a risk to the security of their computers, according to the company.

Pitt and singer Justin Timberlake are the most dangerous men to search for on the internet, while Beyonce and Heidi Montag, the star of the reality television show ‘The Hills,’ top the list for women. Other celebrities on McAfee’s most dangerous list include singers Mariah Carey, Rihanna and Fergie and film stars Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba, Cameron Diaz and George Clooney.

Green said Americans’ obsession with following celebrities’ lifestyles make them obvious targets. “We have to take precautions in casually navigating the Web since many subtle sites may be rife with malware for consumers’ computers,” he said, referring to software designed to infiltrate computer software without the consent of the owner.

Malware includes viruses, worms and spyware, which are computer programs that report back to a third party a user’s activity and Web-surfing habits. The reasons for planting spyware range from simple marketing purposes to more serious things like stealing files or passwords used to access sensitive financial information.