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Aussie singers storm the charts as the names most likely to infect

SYDNEY, Australia, October 1, 2014 – Topping the charts for all the wrong reasons, Aussie singers Jessica Mauboy, Delta Goodrem and Keith Urban have been named by the eighth annual McAfee Most Dangerous CelebritiesTM list as the riskiest Australian names to search for online.

Underscored by the recent celebrity photo hacking controversy which has highlighted the importance of cyber security on a global scale, the analysis revealed that sites offering celebrity ‘videos’ and ‘pictures’ pose the biggest threat to online safety. With inevitable increased interest around certain names, cybercriminals will often capitalise on this by loading related websites with harmful spyware, adware, spam, phishing and viruses amongst other malware.

Analysis of the Australian results revealed that Jessica Mauboy led the list with a 12.2% risk of returning a malicious website (up from third position in 2013). In recent months her profile has been boosted by a bid for international stardom which saw the singer represent the country at both the Eurovision Song Contest and at the handover ceremony for the Commonwealth Games in Scotland amongst other activity.

Delta Goodrem’s recent twitter embarrassment with US actor Marlon Wayans, which saw her labeled an ‘unrhythmic white woman’ has clearly worked in her favour, boosting her international profile and putting her in second position with an 11% risk (fourth in 2013). Her witty response to the tweet was also well received, scoring 779 retweets and 1,272 favourites.

Keith Urban, the country singer and husband of Nicole Kidman, was named third in the list with a danger risk of 10.9% (a 2014 new entry). Urban is no stranger to gossip websites over the past year, with the couple’s relationship under constant and intense scrutiny. The ‘American Idol’ panelist also recently completed an Australian tour for his recent album Light The Fuse.

The musical trio combined to knock Kylie Minogue (10.7%) off the top spot from the 2013 list, placing her fourth in the list followed by Hollywood A-Lister Russell Crowe (10.6%) - another new entry.

Australian acting talent continued the remainder of the top 10, with Expendables 3 star Mel Gibson (9.2%), The Rover’s Guy Pearce (9.1%), popular TV actor Jesse Spencer (‘Chicago Fire’, ‘House’) (8.8%), Deliver Us From Evil star Eric Bana (8.3%) and Pitch Perfect actress Rebel Wilson (who recently shot the film’s sequel) (8.2%) completing the list.

The top 10 Australian celebrities from this year’s study with the highest percentages of risk are: 

1. Jessica Mauboy: 12.2%

2. Delta Goodrem: 11%

3. Keith Urban: 10.9%

4. Kylie Minogue: 10.7%

5. Russell Crowe: 10.6%

6. Mel Gibson: 9.2%

7. Guy Pearce: 9.1%

8. Jesse Spencer: 8.8%

9. Eric Bana: 8.3%

10. Rebel Wilson: 8.2%

The 2014 Australian list showed a gender reversal of the 2013 results, with male stars leading over females at a ratio of six to four. In another reversal, the listings also showed a skew towards acting talent over singers (six against four) whereas the 2013 list was made up of singers, models and actors.

“The recent high-profile hacking shows just how influential celebrities are across the world, and rightly or wrongly, the incident caused a massive spike in searches, even ‘breaking the internet’ in New Zealand,” says Sean Duca, Chief Technology Officer for McAfee Asia Pacific, part of Intel Security.

“We know that cybercriminals will continue to gain from this by luring curious users with bogus websites, downloads and files, so we all need to be sure of the sites we can continue to trust and do everything we can to protect both our technology and our own personal information from being compromised,” continued Duca.

Global Analysis

On a global scale, Jimmy Kimmel is the second male to find his way to the No. 1 spot (moving up from No. 39) following Brad Pitt in 2008. DJ Armin van Buuren takes the number two spot behind Kimmel and Ciara, the third. Additional celebrities in the top 10 include Blake Shelton, Britney Spears (holding her place at No.7), and three New Jersey natives: Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and Chelsea Handler. Singer Christina Aguilera completed the global top 10 list.

The top 10 global celebrities from this year’s study with the highest percentages of risk are:

1. Jimmy Kimmel: 19.38%

2. Armin van Buuren: 19.33%

3. Ciara: 19.31%

4. Flo Rida: 18.89%

5. Bruce Springsteen: 18.82%

6. Blake Shelton: 18.47%

7. Britney Spears: 18.19%

8. Jon Bon Jovi: 17.64%

9. Chelsea Handler: 17.22%

10. Christina Aguilera: 16.67% 

How You Can Stay Protected:

  • Beware of clicking on third party links. You should access content directly from official websites of content providers. For example, visit ABC.com to find Jimmy Kimmel’s latest episodes.
  • Ensure you use web protection that will notify you of risky sites or links before you visit them. Stick to official news sites for breaking news.
  • Don’t download videos from suspect sites.This should be common sense, but it bears repeating: don’t download anything from a website you don’t trust — especially video. Most news clips you’d want to see can easily be found on official video sites and don’t require you to download anything.
  • “Free downloads” are by far the highest virus-prone search term. Anyone searching for videos or files to download should be careful as not to unleash unsafe content such as malware onto their computers.
  • Always use password protection on your phone and other mobile devices.If you don’t and your phone is lost or stolen, anyone who picks up the device could have access to your personal information online.
  • Don’t “log in” or provide other information:If you receive a message, text or email or visit a third-party website that asks for your information—credit card, email, home address, Facebook login, or other information—to grant access to an exclusive story, don’t give it out. Such requests are a common tactic for phishing that could lead to identity theft.
  • Search online using a tool, such as SiteAdvisor software, which protects users from malicious websites and browser exploits.  A complimentary version of SiteAdvisor software can be downloaded at www.siteadvisor.com

Find More Information: 

·       To learn more about the research, you can check out

o   Global list web page: www.mcafee.com/most-dangerous-celebrities

o   Blog post from Gary Davis: http://blogs.mcafee.com/consumer/most-dangerous-celebs-2014

o   Blog post from Robert Siciliano: http://blogs.mcafee.com/consumer/risky-celeb

o   Twitter: Follow @McAfeeConsumer for live online safety updates and tips. Use hashtag #RiskyCeleb to discuss the Most Dangerous Celebrities of 2014

·       Web surfers can also visit the McAfee Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mcafee and McAfee Security Advice Center for information on the latest consumer threats, and tips for living safe online

·       If you do decide to search for information on a major event or celebrity in the news, make sure your entire household’s devices have protection, such as McAfee LiveSafe™ service, which protects all devices from your PCs, Macs, and tablets to your smartphone. It also includes malware detection software, McAfee® Mobile Security, to protect your smartphone or tablet from all types of malware

Survey Methodology

The study was conducted using McAfee® SiteAdvisor® site ratings to determine which sites are risky to search when attached to celebrity names on the Web and calculates an overall risk percentage. McAfee SiteAdvisor technology protects users from malicious websites and browser exploits. SiteAdvisor technology tests and rates nearly every Internet website it finds, and uses red, yellow and green icons to indicate the website’s risk level. Ratings are created by using patented advanced technology to conduct automated website tests and works with Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari and Firefox.

The terms “Jimmy Kimmel,” “Jimmy Kimmel downloads,” “Jimmy Kimmel mp4,” and “Jimmy Kimmel torrentz” were used to search for Jimmy Kimmel, and replicated for each celebrity on the list. The results indicated the percentage of risk of running into online threats designed to steal personal information. Fans clicking on these risky sites and downloading files including photos and videos become more vulnerable to downloading viruses and malware.

About McAfee

McAfee is now part of Intel Security. With its Security Connected strategy, innovative approach to hardware-enhanced security, and unique Global Threat Intelligence, Intel Security is intensely focused on developing proactive, proven security solutions and services that protect systems, networks, and mobile devices for business and personal use around the world. Intel Security combines the experience and expertise of McAfee with the innovation and proven performance of Intel to make security an essential ingredient in every architecture and on every computing platform. Intel Security’s mission is to give everyone the confidence to live and work safely and securely in the digital world. www.intelsecurity.com.


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