News Column

Lily Collins, Miley Cyrus, Jon Hamm Are 'Dangerous' Cyber Celebrities

September 17, 2013

YellowBrix

Sept. 17--Lily Collins, star of "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" and daughter of singer/songwriter Phil Collins, has another credit to add to her list: "Most Dangerous Cyber Celebrity."

The actress replaced Emma Watson at the top of McAfee's annual ranking of actors, musicians, comedians and other celebrities whose popularity is used to dupe fans into downloading viruses and other malicious software.

Fans searching for Lily Collins and "downloads," "free app downloads" and "nude pictures" run the highest risk of landing on a website designed to steal passwords or other personal information, McAfee reported.

Musician Avril Lavigne, who has a new album due out this fall, was the second most popular figure used by hackers to lead fans to bad links.

Musicians, especially young female pop stars, are popular lures for such online threats, McAfee found. Eight of the top 20 cyber celebrities cited are musicians -- including Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus.

"Mad Men" star John Hamm was the only male to make the top ten.

Cyrus, whose provocative performance during MTV's Video Music Awards was met with howls of criticism, was at the center of a recent Facebook hoax that falsely claimed she committed suicide (the video linked to malware), according to McAfee.

Oscar-winning actress Sandra Bullock, who co-starred with Melissa McCarthy in the summer action-comedy film "The Heat," ranked third on McAfee's list of celebrities whose popularity was used to trick people into downloading spyware, adware and viruses.

"Cyber criminals prey on consumers' addiction to breaking news and leverage this behavior to lead them to unsafe sites that can severely infect their computers and devices and steal personal information," said Paula Greve, McAfee's director of web security research, said in a statement.

McAfee cautions against sites that prompt users to download anything before offering access to content. It also advises fans to stick to established news sites for breaking news to avoid falling prey to hackers.

McAfee's 2013 Most Dangerous Cyber Celebrities are as follows:

1. Lily Collins

2. Avril Lavigne

3. Sandra Bullock

4. Kathy Griffin

5. Zoe Saldana

6. Katy Perry

7. Britney Spears

8. Jon Hamm

9. Adriana Lima

10. Emma Roberts

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(c)2013 the Los Angeles Times

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