In a nutshell: Most of us like to Google our favorite celebrities now and again, but did you know that performing searches on some people comes with a higher risk of being hacked? According to McAfee, the most dangerous celeb to search for online is Alexis Bledel, best known for portraying Rory Gilmore in the network TV show Gilmore Girls.
McAfee’s annual list, which is now in its thirteenth year, ranks the celebrities who generate the results that could potentially expose fans to malicious websites and viruses.
Bledel, who was also in “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” and Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” was a surprising number one. She was followed in second place by The Late Late Show host James Cordon, with “Game of Thrones” actress Sophie Turner in third. Last year's number one, Ruby Rose, has fallen off the list.
McAfee writes that Bledel’s and Turner’s names are strongly associated with searches including the word “torrent,” leading to their high positions. Pirating content might be free, but it comes with plenty of risks. Earlier this year, security firm Kaspersky revealed that Game of Thrones accounted for 17 percent of malware-infested show downloads in 2018.
The wide range of connected devices available today means consumers are spoilt for choice when it comes to searching for their favorite celebs without fear of consequence, but this allows cybercriminals to lure unsuspecting consumers to malicious websites that may install malware or steal personal information and passwords.
“Consumers may not be fully aware that the searches they conduct pose risk, nor may they understand the detrimental effects that can occur when personal information is compromised in exchange for access to their favorite celebrities, movies, TV shows or music. Criminals use deceptive websites to dupe unsuspecting consumers into accessing malicious files or content. It is essential that consumers learn to protect their digital lives from lurking cybercriminals by thinking twice before they click on suspicious links or download content,” said Gary Davis, Chief consumer security evangelist at McAfee.
To protect yourself, McAfee recommends avoiding illegal streaming sites, using a web reputation tool that warns of malicious websites, and installing a cybersecurity solution.