Feeds

Brad squeezes Paris out of unsafe search chart

Rival expert slams McAfee poll as 'dingo's kidneys'

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Internet searches about Brad Pitt are more likely to lead to infection than web hunts about any other celeb, with 18 per cent of searches leading to sites laced with malware or promoted via spam.

That's according to the SiteAdvisor division of net security firm McAfee, which reports that Pitt has toppled Paris Hilton for the dubious honour of being the flavour of the moment for cybercrooks since a similar SiteAdvisor survey last year. Both Hilton and Britney Spears - prominent in the 2007 edition of the list - are absent this time around.

Cybercrooks often use the monikers of prominent celebrities to lure would-be marks into downloading malware that poses as celebrity themed screensavers, wallpaper, ring tones or other similar tat.

But McAfee's findings have come in for harsh criticism from Paul Ducklin, head of technology for rival Sophos in the Asia Pacific region. He reckons McAfee's stats are a load of nonsense that spread fear and confusion, rather than shedding light on a genuine problem.

"This sort of hyperbole about the dangers of cyberspace may fill column centimetres and attract casual readers, but it doesn’t actually help anyone. For a start, it simply isn’t true. If you go online and search for 'Pitt', you do NOT have a one-in-five chance of getting infected," Ducklin writes.

Ducklin also criticises McAfee for failing to point out that malware-infected websites have a huge variety of themes. "The story seems to imply that if you steer clear of celebrities and stick to 'safer' subjects, you will greatly improve your online health. But SophosLabs finds an average of about 16,000 newly-infected web pages per day, liberally distributed throughout cyberspace," he adds. ®

Most dangerous celebrity searches, according to McAfee SiteAdvisor

  1. Brad Pitt
  2. Beyoncé
  3. Justin Timberlake
  4. Heidi Montag
  5. Mariah Carey
  6. Jessica Alba
  7. Lindsay Lohan
  8. Cameron Diaz
  9. George Clooney, Rihanna

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.