Threat Management, Network Security

Skating on thin ice: Avril Lavigne is most dangerous celebrity to search online

Pop punk musician Avril Lavigne is officially the most dangerous celebrity on the internet.

According to the 11th annual McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrities study, online searchers for the Canadian singer, known for number-one singles "Complicated" and "Sk8er Boi," lead to more malicious or risky websites than searches for any other famous personality. Lavigne has supplanted comedian Amy Schumer, who was 2016's most dangerous celebrity to search for online.

In a Sept. 18 blog post, McAfee explains that attackers are looking to capitalize on users searching for Lavigne's upcoming new album, as well as a hoax rumor that the musician actually died and was replaced by an impostor.

A corresponding press release reported that Avril Lavigne searches result in a malicious website 14.51 percent of the time. However, adding "free mp3" to the Lavigne search actually heightens the risk, resulting in malicious websites 22 percent of the time. "Free torrent" and "free mp4" are also risky search terms for musicians, McAfee notes.

Rounding out the top 10 most dangerous celebrities to search are Bruno Mars, Carly Rae Jepsen, Zayn Malik, Celine Dion, Calvin Harris, Justin Bieber, Diddy, Katy Perry, and Beyonce.

Bradley Barth

As director of multimedia content strategy at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for online conferences, webcasts, podcasts video/multimedia projects — often serving as moderator or host. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

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