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ACTRESS Michelle Yeoh, most recently in headlines for her role as Eleanor Young in hit movie Crazy Rich Asians, tops McAfee’s list of most dangerous celebrities to search for online. 

For the thirteenth year, McAfee researched which famous individuals generate the riskiest results that could potentially expose their fans to malicious websites and viruses.

Michelle Yeoh’s storied career spans as far back as the 1980s, when she began appearing in Hong Kong movies, before appearing in notable global hits like Tomorrow Never Dies, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Memoirs of a Geisha

She continued to test Hollywood’s boundaries by starring in 2018’s Crazy Rich Asians, the first studio film in 25 years with an all-Asian cast. Michelle Yeoh played the Young family’s matriarch entangled in a battle of wills with Constance Wu’s Rachel Chu.

Trailing Yeoh at No. 2 is rapper and musician Nicki Minaj (No. 2), singers Billie Eilish (No. 3) and U2 (No. 4), actress and “Crazy Rich Asians” co-star Gemma Chan (No. 5), actress Scarlett Johansson (No. 6), and a crop of musical acts including Zhao Wei (No. 7), Maroon 5 (No. 8), Leon Lai (No. 9), and A-mei (No. 10).

The truth is consumers are faced with endless options to feed their obsession with celebrities. They are interacting with content across multiple devices and conducting potentially dangerous searches across the internet to find the latest information or gossip without fear of consequence. 

For cybercriminals, this creates a field day 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,” said Shashwat Khandelwal, Head of Southeast Asia Consumer Business, McAfee. 
“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.”

Bypassing Subscriptions

McAfee’s most dangerous actresses, Michelle Yeoh and Scarlett Johannson, are strongly associated with searches including the term “pirated download”. Additionally, most dangerous musical acts including Billie Eilish, U2, Maroon 5 and Leon Lai are strongly associated with searches including the term “torrent”. 

With many popular albums and movies available via streaming services, consumers have access to more content than ever before, yet they still choose to put their digital lives at risk in exchange for pirated content.

This finding indicates that people may be pursuing “free” options to avoid paying a subscription fee. However, it’s important for these viewers to understand the risks associated with torrent or pirated downloads, as they may open up themselves to savvy cybercriminals and end up having a much higher cost to pay.

Tips to Help Consumers Stay Safe Online:

  • Be careful what you click. Users looking for a sneak-peek of Black Widow’s solo movie starring Scarlett Johansson should be cautious and only stream and download directly from a reliable source. The safest thing to do is to wait for the official release instead of visiting a third-party website that could contain malware.
  • Refrain from using illegal streaming sites. When it comes to dangerous online behavior, using illegal streaming sites is the equivalent of disbanding The Avengers protecting your device. Many illegal streaming sites are riddled with malware or adware disguised as pirated video files. Do yourself a favor and stream the show from a reputable source.
  • Protect your online realm with a cybersecurity solution. Send your regards to malicious actors with a comprehensive security solution like McAfee Total Protection. This can help protect you from malware, phishing attacks, and other threats.
  • Use a Web Reputation tool. Using a Web reputation tool such as freely available McAfee WebAdvisor alerts users when they are about to go to a malicious website.
  • Use parental control software. Kids are fans of celebrities too, so ensure that limits are set for your child on the devices they use and use parental control software to help minimize exposure to potentially malicious or inappropriate websites.

[CREDIT: McAfee]

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