Jessica Biel Tops Web's Most Dangerous List

Dennis Faas's picture

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If you're a fan of Jessica Biel, you may want to take care when searching for her name online. She's the celebrity whose name is most likely to produce spyware infected search results.

The news was revealed by security firm McAfee, which has carried out a survey of the most dangerous search terms based on individuals for the past three years. Paris Hilton took the dubious honor in 2007, while Brad Pitt topped the list last year.

In this year's report, the firm found that twenty percent of links from searches for Biel's name were infected with viruses, spyware or other malicious software. Beyonce and Jennifer Aniston were second and third respectively, though the pair had their own specialized dangers: those searching for ringtones of the former's music and screensavers featuring the latter were especially at risk. (Source:

Less Drama With Obama

Surprisingly, Barack Obama's danger rating was comparably low. That may be down to the sheer number of legitimate sites -- both news and administrative -- which mention his name and thus reduce the proportion of bogus pages. (Source:

The results may be a particularly grim take on celebrity trends: McAfee points to Miley Cyrus' rise in the list this year compared to Lindsay Lohan's fall. McAfee notes that hackers pay close attention to which celebrities are receiving the most online attention.

For those mystified by Biel's rise on the list, the main factor appears to be the actress' romantic links to Justin Timberlake.

Targeted Trickery

It's also possible the celebrities targeted may not simply be the most famous overall, but rather those most likely to be searched for by PC users most vulnerable to viruses. This search list includes teen idols, where younger fans may be less security savvy, and sexy women, where gentlemen searching for images are likely to have their passions for good looks overcome their good judgment.

Protecting Against Hackers and Viruses Online

Aside from using anti-virus software, advice for avoiding being caught by "celebrity viruses" includes paying attention to browser security warnings and from search engines, and avoiding sites which don't have a recognizable name and credible reputation.

There are of course more ways you can help better your protection online (in a general). For specifics, please refer to our Top 10 PC Security Essentials and Top 8 Freeware Antivirus Reviewed -- both available for download at our Top 10 Tech Reports self-serve kiosk.

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