Who is The Most Dangerous Person on the Web?

Category: Security

Security software vendor McAfee publishes a list of the 'most dangerous celebrities.' It has nothing to do with how many times they've been in rehab, or how 'bad' their screen persona may be. It's their popularity that induces cyber-criminals to create malicious websites. Here's what you need to know before you head off to your favorite search tool...

Anna Kendrick: Popular But Dangerous

Regardless of your motivation for doing so, you’re taking a big risk by searching for juicy tidbits or embarrassing photos of actress Anna Kendrick. It’s not the Feds who will be after you, but hackers and identity thieves.

In the most recent "Dangerous Celebrities" list, the lovely Anna Kendrick, who appeared in films including Twilight, Pitch Perfect, and A Simple Favor. claimed the number one spot on the “most dangerous celebrities to search for” list compiled by Intel-owned McAfee. The security research and software development firm has produced similar lists for the several years.

In How to Help Your Kids Combat Clickbait Scams, McAfee says that searches for popular celebrities, or following salacious "clickbait" links may land you on a malicious website. These sites use a variety of tricks to steal personal information or infect your system with viruses, spyware, adware, phishing or other forms of malware. The Better Business Bureau concurs, warning that online links that claim to lead the reader to "amazing," "shocking" or urgent celebrity news may actually point to a site that allows malicious hackers to hijack your account or steal personal information.

Most Dangerous Celebrity: Emma Watson

The list of dangerous celebs, most recently published in late 2020, includes (in order) Sean Coombs, Blake Lively, Mariah Carey, Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, Jimmy Kimmel, Julia Roberts, Kate McKinnon, and Jason Derulo. But a year and a half has gone by since then. Celebs and public figures trending now are Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson", Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Lebron James, Kylie Jenner, and Robert Downey Jr.

The study used McAfee’s Site Advisor service ratings to identify potentially risky Web sites. Site Advisor relies on test results run on thousands of sites per day by McAfee. WebAdvisor software that can alert you to potentially dangerous sites before you visit them is available free of charge and is incorporated in McAfee security products.

The implication of course is that McAfee's antivirus and other security products will protect you from Anna Kendrick and all other forms of online evil. That may be true, but there are many other excellent Internet security tools (some free) that you can use. McAfee does offer some common-sense advice to protect yourself against the most dangerous personalities online:

  • Beware of “free” stuff, especially if it sounds valuable. Scammers use the word “free” in conjunction with celebrities’ names to attract the greedy and gullible to promises of salacious photos or juicy gossip.
  • Stick to well known, trusted celebrity news sites such as TMZor E! Online.
  • Always double-check the URL before clicking on it. Subtle misspellings are clues that a site is not the one it purports to be.
  • Keep your security software up to date.

Have you been burned by a web search that steered you to malicious content? Post your comment or question below.

 
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This article was posted by on 20 Jun 2022


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Most recent comments on "Who is The Most Dangerous Person on the Web?"

Posted by:

Jean
20 Jun 2022

Question: do Android phones need antivirus protection?


Posted by:

Frank Buhrman
20 Jun 2022

I recently became aware of similar scams in the guise of "warehouse close-outs" and similar pitches on Facebook for known retailers. (L.L. Bean and Rockport were the first I noticed and almost fell for; Lowe's was the most recent.) The prices seem too good to be true . . . and are. The recent Lowe's example had a completely recreated Lowe's website, except that the address wasn't Lowes.com, and the contact e-mail was off in another world. Bean says one scammer posing as its "outlet" redirected info to a site in Singapore that was after your credit card info to sell; you received no boots (or whatever). Facebook's unwillingness to deal with this aggressively is yet another damning inaction by that entity.


Posted by:

Frank Buhrman
20 Jun 2022

I recently became aware of similar scams in the guise of "warehouse close-outs" and similar pitches on Facebook for known retailers. (L.L. Bean and Rockport were the first I noticed and almost fell for; Lowe's was the most recent.) The prices seem too good to be true . . . and are. The recent Lowe's example had a completely recreated Lowe's website, except that the address wasn't Lowes.com, and the contact e-mail was off in another world. Bean says one scammer posing as its "outlet" redirected info to a site in Singapore that was after your credit card info to sell; you received no boots (or whatever). Facebook's unwillingness to deal with this aggressively is yet another damning inaction by that entity.


Posted by:

billz
20 Jun 2022

Very informative article. It leaves me to believe, I have seen the enemy and it is us. No Joke.


Posted by:

Rick
20 Jun 2022

The most dangerous people on the web are the uninformed, gullible, or greedy people that click links without any thought.


Posted by:

Brian B
20 Jun 2022

Re McAfee WebAdvisor, be aware:-

"When McAfee WebAdvisor is installed and running in your browser, it automatically collects information as you browse the web. This information includes:
Websites that you visit
Searches that you perform

This information is used to improve our services to you, and to keep McAfee WebAdvisor free. To achieve this, information about the websites you visit is used to display useful and relevant advertisements".


Posted by:

Ernest N. Wilcox Jr.
20 Jun 2022

This is yet another example of how a healthy dose of skepticism can increase your level of safety on the Internet by an order of magnitude.

ALWAYS check EVERY link you are tempted to click, regardless of whether it is on a webpage, in an email message, or anywhere else. You can check the URL (address) the link will take you to by hovering your mouse over the link BEFORE you click on it. The URL will then be displayed in either a popup tip dialog, or in the status bar at the bottom of your browser window. In Microsoft Edge, I see the URL in a popup at the bottom-left of my browser window, about where the status bar should be.

If the URL looks like some sort of encrypted string that you cannot make any sense of, DON"T CLICK IT!

Read the URL very carefully. If it is misspelled in any way, DON"T CLICK IT!

If you have any doubts whatsoever, DON'T CLICK IT!

Rather than taking a chance on a link on some webpage or in an email message, there are a few things you can do to CYA before clicking the link.

Get the URL (ALT-Click > copy link), paste to into a Notepad window, copy it to the clipboard, use your web browser to find a who-is site, enter the URL to see where it was registered, and who owns it.

You can also do a web search in your browser for the text in the label of the link to see if any of the first several results match the URL of the link. If so, the site may be legit, but I don't think I'd go there anyway. Use your best judgement.

Before I clicked the link in my Bob Ranken email newsletter, I hovered my mouse over the link to this item. It is 'https://askbobrankin.com/who_is_the_most_dangerous_person_on_the_web.html?awt_a=6HSL&awt_l=MI0nK&awt_m=K1VQqL8O88P6SL'.

The URL starts with 'https://askbobrankin.com/', which is the Ask Bob web address, so I know the link is safe to click. If the URL had started with anything else, I'd have gone to the Ask Bob website in my web browser, to inform him that I had received a 'spoofed' newsletter, and I may have forwarded it to his email address (if I could find it) so he can examine it for himself.

The one thing these miscreants cannot overcome is a healthy dose of skepticism combined with knowing what to do when you are confronted with an invalid link, no matter how well they spoof the real site to get at you.

I hope this helps others,

Ernie


Posted by:

Vulcan
21 Jun 2022

Good question asked I'd like to know too. Do Android phones NEED antivirus or malware protection - especially for those who only make calls on it, and even then, not many? Been told no.


Posted by:

Lucy
21 Jun 2022

Jean and Vulcan

My thought for what it is worth is if you use a free version anti virus on your Android phone that has been recommended by Bob (or Leo Notenboom, (Ask Leo)a similar TRUSTED person), then go for it. What is there to lose?

My dear old Dad had a saying, to be safe have suspenders and a belt!


Posted by:

Ernest N. Wilcox Jr.
22 Jun 2022

Jean (and Vulcan),

The answer to the question "Question: do Android phones need antivirus protection?" should be "If it connects to ANY network, it should have Antivirus protection - period."

Here is my reasoning. If you have an Android or any type of mobile phone, in order to make calls, it must connect to a telephone service provider's network. A telephone service provider's network is essentially the same as any other type of network. It connects two or more devices for the purpose of communication. Mobile phones are nothing more than computers, specialized to make and take phone calls and text (SMS) messages. A text message is more sophisticated than the run-of-the-mill text document. It can contain hyper-links, graphics, and much more. I know that malware has been discovered in text messages and I have no doubt that if I take a call from an unknown 'caller', it is possible to inject malware into my phone when I accept the connection, although I have no proof that this is possible, but then again, who would have thought that going to a website, clicking a hyper-link, or opening an email message could expose a computer to malware back in the early days of the Internet?

I think that it is always better to be safe than sorry. One of the reasons I got my Samsung A21s phone was that it comes with Knox security built in. I believe that it is as important to have antimalware for my phone as it is for my computers.

The above is my opinion and the reasoning behind it.

You are free to agree or disagree,

Ernie


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