Intel Security

Intel Security Reveals Armin van Buuren As The Most Dangerous Cyber Celebrity of 2015

Ninth Annual Study Highlights Strong Correlation between Music Searches and Potential Online Risks

Amy Schumer and Betty White Laugh Their Way to the Top 10

SANTA CLARA, Calif.Sept. 29, 2015 — Electronic Dance Music (EDM) DJ Armin van Buuren replaces comedian and talk show host Jimmy Kimmel as Intel Security’s most dangerous celebrity to search for online. For the ninth year in a row, Intel Security researched popular culture’s most famous people to reveal which of them generates the most dangerous search results. The Intel Security Most Dangerous Celebrities™ study revealed that searches for certain musicians and comedians tend to expose Internet searchers to more possible viruses and malware.

Armin van Buuren is the first DJ and the third male, following Brad Pitt in 2008 and Jimmy Kimmel in 2014, to find his way to the No. 1 spot (moving up from No. 2 in 2014). Usher takes the No. 3 spot between Luke Bryan at No. 2 and Britney Spears at No. 4. Rounding out the top 10 are Amy Schumer (No. 7), Betty White (No. 8), Lorde (No. 9) and Nina Dobrev (No. 10). Seven of the top 10 are musical artists, ranging from EDM artists to country, hip hop and pop.

Cybercriminals are always looking for ways to take advantage of consumer interest around popular culture events including award shows, TV show and movies premieres, album releases, celebrity breakups, and more. They capitalize on this interest by enticing unsuspecting consumers to sites laden with malware, which enables them to steal passwords and personal information.

“With today’s busy culture and a desire for real time information, consumers often click on sites that will quickly provide them with news and entertainment, without considering safety and security implications,” said Stacey Conner, online safety expert at Intel Security. “Cybercriminals leverage this need for immediacy by encouraging people to visit unsafe sites that can steal private data.”

It appears that people looking to download or listen to free music may be especially at risk. “Celebrity names combined with the terms ‘free MP4, ‘HD downloads,’ or ‘torrent’ are some of the most searched terms on the Web,” continues Conner. “When consumers search for music that is not made available through legitimate channels, they put both their digital lives and devices at risk.”

Nearly 1 in 5 Results Generated by Armin van Buuren Searches Are Links to Malicious Sites

Intel Security research found that clicking on results generated by searching for “Armin van Buuren” combined with the terms "free MP4,” “HD downloads,” or “torrent” yields almost a 1 in 5 chance of landing on a website that has tested positive for online threats, such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and other malware.

The top 10 celebrities from this year’s study with the highest risk percentages are:

Position Celebrity Percentage
1 Armin van Buuren 17.92%
2 Luke Bryan 17.64%
3 Usher 16.67%
4 Britney Spears 16.39%
5 Jay Z 15.83%
6 Katy Perry 14.86%
7 Amy Schumer 14.72%
8 Betty White 14.03%
9 Lorde 13.61%
10 Nina Dobrev 13.19%

 

Musicians Mix to the Top of the List

Seven of the top ten represent a mix of EDM, country, hip hop and pop musical artists. Britney Spears remains in the top 10 – taking the No. 4 spot compared to her place last year as No. 7 on the list. Justin Bieber (No. 11), Rihanna (No. 12), Jennifer Lopez and Kenny Chesney (tied at No. 13), Selena Gomez (No. 14), Zendaya (No. 15), Kanye West (No. 16), Afrojack and Miley Cyrus (tied at No. 19), and Nick Jonas (No. 20) are a few beats behind the top 10 and round out the musicians included in the top 20.

Funny Females and Fellows

Funny ladies Amy Schumer and Betty White both make the top 10 taking the No. 7 and No. 8 spots, respectively. Last year’s Most Dangerous Celebrity, Jimmy Kimmel, fell to No. 26 on this year’s list (tied with Melissa McCarthy). Other funny people to make the list include: Jimmy Fallon and Kristen Wiig (tied at No. 27), Tina Fey (No. 29), and Ellen DeGeneres (No. 31).

Mad for Movies

Though no movie stars made the top 10 this year, several can be “scene” in the top 30, including: Antonio Banderas (No. 14), Nicole Kidman (No. 15), Zac Efron (No. 17), Natalie Portman (No. 18), Sandra Bullock (No. 19), Jennifer Lawrence (No. 20), Kate Mara (No. 22), Penelope Cruz (No. 27), Rooney Mara (No. 28), Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Alba, and Naomi Watts (tied at No. 29).

TV Talk

In addition to Nina Dobrev (No. 10), co-star Paul Wesley (No. 18) heats up the list as well as TV stars Sofia Vergara (No. 21), Laverne Cox and Lucy Hale (tied at No. 23), Kylie Jenner (No. 24), and Kim Kardashian (No. 28).

How You Can Better Protect Yourself:

  • Beware of clicking on third-party links. You should access content directly from official websites of content providers. For example, visit reputable site ComedyCentral.com to find Amy Schumer’s latest episodes.
  • Use web protection that will notify you of risky sites or links before you visit them and it’s too late. Stick to official news sites for breaking news.
  • Only download videos from well-known, legitimate sites. This should be common sense, but it bears repeating: don’t download anything from a website you don’t trust — especially video. Most news clips you’d want to see can easily be found on official video sites and don’t require you to download anything.
  • Use caution when searching for “HD downloads.” This term is by far the highest virus-prone search term. Consumers searching for videos or files to download should be careful as not to unleash unsafe content such as malware onto their computers.
  • Always use password protection on all mobile devices. If you don’t and your phone is lost or stolen, anyone who picks up the device could have access to your personal information online.
  • Don’t “log in” or provide other information. If you receive a message, text or email or visit a third-party website that asks for your information — including your credit card, email, home address, Facebook login — to grant access to an exclusive story, don’t give it out. Such requests are a common tactic for phishing that could lead to identity theft.
  • Search online using a tool, such as McAfee® WebAdvisor software, which protects users from malicious websites and browser exploits. A complimentary version the software can be downloaded at www.mcafee.com/mcafeewebadvisor.

Find More Information:

Survey Methodology
The study was conducted using McAfee® WebAdvisor, using SiteAdvisor® site ratings to determine the number of risky sites that would be generated in search results including a celebrity name and commonly searched terms (noted below) and calculates an overall risk percentage for that celebrity. McAfee SiteAdvisor technology helps protect users from malicious websites and browser exploits. SiteAdvisor technology tests and rates nearly every Internet website it finds, and uses red, yellow and green icons to indicate the website’s risk level. Ratings are created by using patented advanced technology to conduct automated website tests and works with Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari and Firefox.

The terms “Armin van Buuren,” “Armin van Buuren HD downloads,” “Armin van Buuren free MP4,” and “Armin van Buuren torrent” were used to search for Armin van Buuren, and similar terms were used for each celebrity on the list. The results indicated the percentage of risk of running into online threats — if a user clicked all the results generated by the terms. Fans clicking on sites deemed risky and downloading files including photos and videos from those sites may also be prone to downloading viruses and malware.

About Intel Security
McAfee is now part of Intel Security. With its Security Connected strategy, innovative approach to hardware-enhanced security, and unique Global Threat Intelligence, Intel Security is intensely focused on developing proactive, proven security solutions and services that protect systems, networks, and mobile devices for business and personal use around the world. Intel Security combines the experience and expertise of McAfee with the innovation and proven performance of Intel to make security an essential ingredient in every architecture and on every computing platform. Intel Security’s mission is to give everyone the confidence to live and work safely and securely in the digital world. www.intelsecurity.com.

No computer system can be absolutely secure.

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© 2015 Intel Corporation

Contacts:
Mary Salvaggio
Intel Security
646-527-5858
mary.salvaggio@intel.com

Eva Ross
DKC
212-981-5218
Eva_Ross@dkcnews.com