Heidi Klum Most Dangerous Celebrity On The Web
“Cybercriminals often use the names of popular celebrities to lure people to sites that are actually laden with malicious software. Anyone looking for the latest videos or pictures could end up with a malware-ridden computer instead of just trendy content.”
‘Trendy content‘ is a nice euphemism! Next they’ll be saying that surfing adult websites is a good way to get infected by a virus…
Amongst the top 10 ‘most dangerous’ celebrities are the usual suspects: Jessica Biel, Katherine Heigl, Scarlett Johansson – and Piers Morgan (eek! Who is searching for pictures and videos of Piers? Apart from Piers himself…) McAfee found that “searching for the latest Heidi Klum pictures and downloads yields more than a 9% chance of landing on a website that has tested positive for online threats, such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and other malware”.
Purely in the interests of research, we decided to search for pictures and screensavers of Heidi and her babelicious chums to check if they really are the
babe virus magnets that McAfee suggest. That’s right, we had to wade through acres of the seediest fleshpots on the internet – just so that you don’t have to, we’re nice like that ;-)
How We Tested – We used WOT (Web of Trust – see our review here) rather than McAfee’s SiteAdvisor – WOT is our recommended safe searching software and makes our test more independent. We checked the top 100 Google.com web search results to see how many of the results were safe or dangerous – we classified amber rated warnings from WOT to be the same as red warnings because both are potentially malicious and therefore best avoided.
Screensaver Searches – “Heidi Klum screensaver” – 56 out of 100 websites were dangerous. 56% is extremely worrying for fans of Ms Klum but how much of that is because screensavers of all types are notorious for containing malware? We checked again just looking for general screensavers:
“Screensaver” – 22 out of 100 websites were dangerous. 22% is still a lot (take note if you regularly download screensavers) but it would appear that Heidi is indeed responsible for a huge 250% increase in the number of malicious website links. What about less risky celebs like Scarlett Johansson – only number 9 in the top 10 list?
“Scarlett Johansson screensaver” – 36 out of 100 websites were dangerous. Lower than Heidi but still 60% more dangerous than just looking for any old screensaver.
Video Searches – “Heidi Klum video” – only 4 out of 100 websites were dangerous. A tribute to YouTube and the hordes of blogs linking into YouTube content.
“Scarlett Johansson video” – 5 out of 100 websites were dangerous. Not much to choose between them.
Photo Searches – “Heidi Klum photos” – 0 out of 100 websites were dangerous. Remarkable.
“Scarlett Johansson photos” – 2 out of 100 websites were dangerous. Likely more than Heidi due to the hacked ‘shower’ photos of her making their way round the web this week.
Google Images Searches – All the above searches were performed using standard Google.com web searches but we decided to test Google Images search for photos to see if there was any difference. Google SafeSearch was set to ‘Moderate’
“Heidi Klum photos” – 1 out of 100 websites were dangerous. Still very low, perhaps because she was a model and there are so many genuine model sites around.
“Scarlett Johansson photos” – 9 out of 100 websites were dangerous. A lot more than a standard Google web search.
Not sure how McAfee arrived at the top figure of 9% risk for Heidi Klum but our own results for the most popular 100 websites in each category were 56%, 4%, 0% and 1%. Clearly, screensaver websites are by far the worst offenders – even looking for generic screensavers resulted in a whopping 22% risk.
Some of this article has been tongue in cheek but there is a serious conclusion: If you are not yet using really good safe web searching software like Web Of Trust, you are wide open to malware attack from malicious websites – there is no other way of knowing in advance which websites in a long list of search results are dangerous.
Antivirus software may block malware on a dangerous website – but it may not (no antivirus software can ever be 100% effective) – the best way to avoid being attacked by viruses/spam/phishing is to prevent your computer encountering dangerous websites in the first place.