McAfee says as India's digital native population continues to spend more time online,, they will continue to remain soft targets for cybercriminals who thrive on such user behaviour.
Most Dangerous Celebrity List 2019: Searching for free content related to celebrities like MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar or Sunny Leone can put your financial information at risk. A research by McAfee has identified these three popular personalities among the top 10 popular celebrities generating the riskiest search results online, which could potentially expose their fans to malicious websites and viruses. The list is topped by M. S Dhoni, one of India’s most celebrated sportsmen. Other popular celebrities in McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrity™ list 2019 are Radhika Apte, Shraddha Kapoor, Badshah, P.V. Sindhu, etc.
According to McAfee, searching for free content related to these celebrities could expose consumers to malicious websites, malware and other risky outcomes. For cybercriminals, this creates a field day to lure unsuspecting consumers to malicious websites that may install malware or steal personal information and passwords.
McAfee told FE Online that identity theft, banking, credit card and online shopping frauds, installation of skimming malware, tracking and monitoring software, installation of ransomware, trojans and viruses, are some of the most likely threats that consumers can face by clicking on these links.
By gaining access to users’ details, hackers can also access their banking details, putting their deposits and other financial assets at risk. McAfee said that hackers can gain access to a user’s personally identifiable information such as name, contact number and banking details such as credit card and account numbers by installing malicious code on a user’s device through these links. Clubbed with techniques such as phishing, fraudsters can gain access to a user’s bank account and other financial assets.
Venkat Krishnapur, Vice-President of Engineering and Managing Director, McAfee India, said, “The significant ease of internet access, through a host of connected devices has made it increasingly viable for users to avail content from all over the world. As subscription-based content platforms continue to grow in India, netizens often look for free and pirated content such as major sports events, movies, TV shows, and images of their favourite superstars. Unfortunately, they may not be fully aware of the risks that malicious websites providing such content can pose in exchange for this access.”
“Cybercriminals leverage this opportunity and prey on consumer vulnerabilities when they compromise on security in favour of convenience. It is essential for consumers to recognise these threats, think before they click and avoid suspicious links that promise free content,” he added.
The top 10 celebrities for India from this year’s study are:
- M. S. Dhoni
- Sachin Tendulkar
- Gautam Gulati
- Sunny Leone
- Radhika Apte
- Shraddha Kapoor
- Harmanpreet Kaur
- P.V. Sindhu
- Cristiano Ronaldo
McAfee further said that India is a young country where almost a third of its population is comprised of millennials. As this digital native population continues to spend more time online owing to cheaper data and proliferation of smart devices, they will continue to remain soft targets for cybercriminals who thrive on such user behaviour.
How to stay safe online:
- Be careful what you click. Users looking to avail free content related to MS Dhoni 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 behaviour, using illegal streaming sites is the equivalent of spreading wildfire to your device. Many illegal streaming sites are riddled with malware or adware disguised as pirated video files. Do yourself a favour 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 to protect you from malware, phishing attacks, and other threats.
- Use a Web Reputation tool: Using a Web reputation tool which 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.