Cameron Diaz has gone from being just another one of Charlie’s Angels to the most dangerous celebrity on the Web, according to research by McAfee.
In the latest version of its “Dangerous Celebrities” study, McAfee found that Diaz had replaced fellow actress Jessica Biel as the celebrity who, when entered into search engines, was most likely to generate results that were malicious sites.
Attackers typically use popular celebrities as bait to lead victims to sites hosting malware. Following Diaz in the rankings is movie star Julia Roberts. Next is Biel, followed by supermodel Gisele B??ndchen and actor Brad Pitt.
“This year, the search results for celebrities are safer than they’ve been in previous years, but there are still dangers when searching online,” said Dave Marcus, security researcher for McAfee Labs, in a statement, adding that cyber-criminals have gotten sneakier.
“Now they’re hiding malicious content in -tiny’ places like shortened URLs that can spread virally in social networking sites and Twitter, instead of on Websites and downloads,” he said.
Searching for Diaz yields a 10 percent chance of landing on a malicious site. In particular, when “Cameron Diaz and screensavers” was searched, 19 percent of the sites were identified as having malicious downloads. Users searching under “Julia Roberts and downloads” had a 20 percent chance of landing on a site with a malicious download, the company found.
Also in the top 10 were: supermodel Adriana Lima, and celebrities Jennifer Love Hewitt, Tom Cruise, Heidi Klum/Penelope Cruz (tied at 8th) and Anna Paquin. Tennis stars Maria Sharapova and Andy Roddick came in at 13th and 14th, respectively. Golfer Tiger Woods ranked 33rd.
At the bottom of the list were U.S. President Barack Obama and former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, ranked 49th and 50th respectively.
“Cyber-criminals follow the same hot topics as consumers, and create traps based on the latest trends,” Marcus said. “Whether you’re surfing the Web from your computer or your phone or clicking on links in Twitter about your favorite celeb, you should surf safely, and make sure you’re using the latest security software.”