Not that McAfee!
Actress Alexis Bledel, best known for her role as Rory Gilmore in network television’s “Gilmore Girls,” tops McAfee’s U.S. list of most dangerous celebrities to search for online. For the thirteenth year, McAfee researched which famous individuals generate the riskiest results that could potentially expose their fans to malicious websites and viruses.
Referred to as a “good girl” and “bookworm” in her role in “Gilmore Girls” and Netflix’s sequel “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,” it may come as a surprise that Alexis Bledel was found to be the most dangerous celebrity by McAfee. Her repertoire also includes roles in the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” movies, and more recently, playing Ofglen in Hulu’s acclaimed “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which came to a series end in August 2019.
Trailing Bledel at No. 2 is beloved Late Late Night talk show host James Corden, followed by “Game of Thrones” star Sophie Turner (No. 3), actress Anna Kendrick (No. 4), “Us” leading lady Lupita Nyong’o (No. 5), SNL and talk show star Jimmy Fallon (No. 6), martial arts master Jackie Chan (No. 7), rappers and musicians Lil Wayne (No. 8) and Nicki Minaj (No. 9), and finally Marvel actress Tessa Thompson (No. 10).
The truth is consumers are faced with endless options to feed their obsession with celebrities. They are interacting with content across multiple devices and conducting potentially dangerous searches across the internet to find the latest information or gossip without fear of consequence. For cybercriminals, this creates a field day to lure unsuspecting consumers to malicious websites that may install malware or steal personal information and passwords.
“Consumers may not be fully aware that the searches they conduct pose risk, nor may they understand the detrimental effects that can occur when personal information is compromised in exchange for access to their favorite celebrities, movies, TV shows or music,” said Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at McAfee. “Criminals use deceptive websites to dupe unsuspecting consumers into accessing malicious files or content. It is essential that consumers learn to protect their digital lives from lurking cybercriminals by thinking twice before they click on suspicious links or download content.”
The top 10 celebrities from this year’s U.S. study are:
McAfee’s most dangerous actresses, Alexis Bledel and Sophie Turner, are well known for their powerful roles in their respective series – Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” and HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” Additionally, their names are strongly associated with searches including the term “torrent.” With many popular shows available via streaming services, consumers have access to more content than ever before, yet they still choose to put their digital lives at risk in exchange for pirated content.
This finding indicates that people may be pursuing “free” options to avoid paying a subscription fee. However, it’s important for these viewers to understand the risks associated with torrent or pirated downloads, as they may open up themselves to savvy cybercriminals and end up having a much higher cost to pay.
The Reality is, Reality TV Stars are not that Popular
Unlike 2018’s list of most dangerous celebrities, reality TV stars ranked low on this year’s list. Kim Kardashian is the highest-ranked reality star at No. 99 followed by “The Hills” Audrina Patridge (No. 108), “Vanderpump Rules’” Kristen Doute (No. 119) and Jax Taylor (No. 169). Kristen Cavallari and Kourtney Kardashian who found themselves in last year’s top 10 list dropped to number 214 and 222, respectively.
Tips to Help Consumers Stay Safe Online:
- Be careful what you click. Users looking for a sneak-peek of Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker starring Lupita Nyong’o should be cautious and only stream and download directly from a reliable source. The safest thing to do is to wait for the official release instead of visiting a third-party website that could contain malware.
- Refrain from using illegal streaming sites. When it comes to dangerous online behavior, using illegal streaming sites is the equivalent of spreading the Mad King’s wildfire to your device. Many illegal streaming sites are riddled with malware or adware disguised as pirated video files. Do yourself a favor and stream the show from a reputable source.
- Protect your online realm with a cybersecurity solution. Send your regards to malicious actors with a comprehensive security solution like McAfee Total Protection. This can help protect you from malware, phishing attacks, and other threats.
- Use a Web Reputation tool. Using a Web reputation tool such as freely available McAfee WebAdvisor alerts users when they are about to go to a malicious website.
- Use parental control software. Kids are fans of celebrities too, so ensure that limits are set for your child on the devices they use and use parental control software to help minimize exposure to potentially malicious or inappropriate websites.
For More Information:
- To learn more about the study, check out:
- Blog post from Gary Davis: https://securingtomorrow.mcafee.com/consumer/consumer-threat-notices/most-dangerous-celebrities-2019/
- Twitter: Follow @McAfee_Home for online safety tips, and use the hashtag #RiskyCeleb to discuss the Most Dangerous Celebrities of 2019
- Local lists broken down by country are available upon request
McAfee used the Google API Console to search for popular mobile, PC and platform games coupled with search modifying terms (e.g. celebrity + torrent). “Most dangerous” really means that these celebrities are likely popular search subjects.
Search terms used this year:
- Fix gamble
- Free mp3
- Pirated download
Using McAfee WebAdvisor data, resulting domains and URLs were measured and assigned a risk of “high,” “medium” and “unverified.” URLs were then given a score between negative 127 and positive 127 with higher scores indicating a riskier website. The score was calculated using the following formula:
Danger = 1*(high count) + 0.5*(medium count) + 0.1*(unverified count)