Avril Lavigne is now the most dangerous celebrity to search for online, according to a recent study by cybersecurity firm McAfee.
The research aimed to reveal which celebrities generate the most “dangerous” search results, which in turn might lead to bigger risks for users browsing the web.
The company used a rating system to determine the risky websites listed in results displayed by Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Their search terms included a celebrity's name, followed by a few keywords likely to produce sketchy results. And in their findings, Lavigne topped the list.
McAfee lists two factors on why the 'Complicated' singer took the number one spot. First, there is an online conspiracy theory suggesting that the real Avril Lavigne died many years ago, and was eventually replaced by an actress. This topic, when searched for on the internet, could reportedly lead to malicious websites.
Also, being a recording artist, many users tend to search for free copies of Lavigne’s music. As she is set to release an album before the year ends, this translated to fans looking for her new music online. A search for “Avril Lavigne + free mp3” recorded a risk percentage of almost 22%. “Free mp3” alone accounted for 40% of risky websites.
Other celebrities who made the list are Bruno Mars, Carly Rae Jepsen, Zayn Malik, Celine Dion, and Calvin Harris, among many others.
“Hackers know that consumers are looking for the latest album and movie releases from their favorite celebrities, and can use this against consumers to steal personal information,” wrote Gary Davis, Chief Consumer Security Evangelist at McAfee. “They love to leverage downloadable content like music or video files to entice consumers to visit potentially malicious websites designed to install malware.”
All things considered, it pays to be careful on what we click on, as many websites are simply spoofed to lead us into downloading innocuous-looking content. This poses a big risk for contracting malware. It is also best to support recording artists by buying their music, instead of searching for "free mp3s" or converting YouTube clips to be able to acquire copies of their songs.