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Emma Watson: “Most Dangerous Cyber Celebrity”

And you thought women are more dangerous than men only in the real world… Think again. Actually, women are “more dangerous” even in the cyberspace. That’s what a McAfee study suggests.

Emma Watson has replaced Heidi Klum as McAfee’s 2012 most dangerous celebrity to search for online.

For the sixth year in a row, McAfee researched popular culture’s most famous people to reveal the riskiest Hollywood actors, athletes, musicians, politicians, designers, and comedians on the Web.

The McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrities study found that women are more dangerous than men with Jessica Biel taking the number two spot and Eva Mendes coming in third.

Latina women have proven that they are on fire and make up five of the top ten spots. After Mendes, Selena Gomez, Shakira and Salma Hayek take the fourth, seventh and ninth spot and Sofia Vergara rounds out the top 10 list. Funnyman Jimmy Kimmel is the only male to make the top 20 list this year.

Cybercriminals follow the latest trends, often using the names of popular celebrities to lure people to sites that are actually laden with malicious software that are designed to steal passwords and personal information.

Anyone looking for the latest videos or files to download could end up with a malware-ridden computer along with the trendy content. This year, searching for a celebrity name with “free downloads” and “nude pictures” as part of the search term resulted in the highest result of risky sites.

“In today’s celebrity culture, consumers expect to be able to go online to catch up with the latest photos, videos, tweets, and stories about their favorite celebrities. Due to the richness of the data and the high interaction, often times consumers forget the risks that they are taking by clicking on the links,” said Paula Greve, director of web security research at McAfee.

“As the sophistication and expectations of consumers with respect to their online experience has increased, so has the level and ability to deliver malware either by malvertising, exploiting the user’s browser without their awareness, or masking malicious URLs behind shortened URLs.”

Fans searching for “Emma Watson and free downloads,” “Emma Watson and nude pictures,” “Emma Watson and fakes,” and “Emma Watson and busted” are at risk of running into online threats designed to steal personal information.

Clicking on these risky sites and downloading files like pictures and videos exposes surfers or consumers to the risk of downloading viruses and malware.

McAfee research found that searching for the latest Emma Watson (pictured above) pictures and downloads yields more than a 12.6% chance of landing on a website that has tested positive for online threats, such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and other malware.

The study uses McAfee SiteAdvisor site ratings, which indicate which sites are risky to search for celebrity names on the Web and calculate an overall risk percentage. The study findings were released Monday, Sept. 10.

McAfee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), is a leading dedicated security technology company.

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