Lily Collins tops most harmful celebrity web searches

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Information security and the Hollywood elite hardly cross over, but computer security software company McAfee recently announced that Lily Collins has topped the 2013 list of most dangerous celebrities to search for on the internet.

Robert Siciliano, online security and safety evangelist with McAfee, told SCMagazine.com on Wednesday that unwary fans can be compromised in any number of ways by clicking risky links, downloading images and videos, or downloading media players or updates.

Those who have forgone updates and patches run the risk of being infected in a “drive-by” fashion without ever knowingly downloading a thing, Siciliano added.

A wide range of malware is being served up to avid celeb followers, Siciliano said, explaining researchers have seen everything from infections that track web-searching habits to viruses that record keystrokes, and even the kind that allows an attacker remote access to the device.

No single platform is excluded either, Siciliano added, explaining McAfee researchers have noticed malware targeting PCs, Macs and all sorts of mobile devices.

“It doesn't matter who is getting infected – if they are on a network, [others] can be accessed,” Siciliano said, explaining that if a young person searching 'Lily Collins' had their computer compromised, the attacker could still use that machine to access sensitive data from other people in the household.

Proper anti-virus and spyware protection coupled with smart web browsing should mitigate some of the risk, Siciliano said, adding the list is compiled based on searches that join popular celebrity names with phrases, such as “free downloads” and “nude pictures.”

Avril Lavigne was this year's runner-up, followed by Sandra Bullock, Kathy Griffin, Zoe Saldana, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Jon Hamm, Adriana Lima and Emma Roberts.

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