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‘Celebrity Searches’ on Web Could Infect Computers

In a freshly released report, California located McAfee states that searching for pictures or information about celebrities carries 18% possibility of infection from spyware, adware, virus, spam and phishing.

The report further says that singer Beyonce and actor Brad Pitt are the most perilous celebrities so far as searching for them on the net is very risky.

Also, as per the report, Internet surfers searching for celebrity information, gossip, images and downloads of their favorite pop artists are in danger of being diverted to phony Websites. These sites appear legitimate but actually pose severe threat to users' PCs as cyber-crooks employ commonly searched names of notable people and celebrities to entice victims.

Also, Security Researchers at McAfee state that to reel in Internet traffic, online attackers often set up malware infested Web pages carrying a list of rock stars or film actors. In addition, as per the report, every month, Web users make over 550 Million clicks that connect to risky sites and infect the end-users with malware.

According to Jeff Green, Senior Vice President of McAfee's Product Development & Avert Labs, although cyber-criminals utilize numerous methods, one of the most effective methods is to deceive consumers into contaminating themselves with malware, by exploiting Americans' preference for celebrity gossip, as reported by RedOrbit on September 16, 2008.

Green added that the infection could be easily spread by tapping into pop culture, breaking events, and commonly visited sites.

Meanwhile, McAfee's report puts Brad Pitt on top of the list, given that over 50% of the sites coming up in search results are infested with malicious downloads while searching for "Brad Pitt wallpaper". Furthermore, entering "Beyonce ring tones" as keywords for a search also generates risky sites that advertise misleading offers designed to collect consumers' private information.

The report also revealed that other names that were dangerous to search include Heidi Montag, the star of "The Hills', a reality TV show, and singer Justin Timberlake.

Green also said that it is important to adopt precautionary steps while doing casual surfing on the Web as many astute sites might be filled with malware to attack consumers' computers.

Related article: “Loopholes did not cause online banking thefts”: ICBC

» SPAMfighter News - 24-09-2008

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