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Avril Lavigne, Bruno Mars Named 'Most Dangerous Celebrities' in Web Searches

by John Rosca / Sep 20, 2017 06:53 AM EDT
Avril Lavigne New track 2017

Avril Lavigne has topped the "Most Dangerous Celebrity" list of stars who generate the riskiest web searches, as determined by McAfee. This is the 11th time the cybersecurity firm has compiled the annual list, which provides a reminder that Internet criminals often compromise online search results by seeding them with malicious website links.

"Consumers often prioritize their convenience over security by engaging in risky behavior like clicking on suspicious links that promise the latest content from celebrities," said McAfee security evangelist Gary Davis in a press statement. Unwary folk who click on malicious search page links can get redirected to sites that could infect their computer with malware or steal private information, such as passwords.

Lavigne is the first female musician to take first place on the McAfee list. This year's list is composed entirely of musician's names, with Canadian artists accounting for half of the entries. In second place is Bruno Mars, who is making his first appearance on the McAfee list. The "Versace on the Floor" singer is closely followed by third-placer Carly Rae Jepsen.

The rest of the top ten includes Zayn Malik (No. 4), Celine Dion (No. 5), Calvin Harris (No. 6), Justin Bieber (No. 7), Diddy (No. 8), Katy Perry (No. 9) and Beyoncé (No. 10). Lavigne, Jepsen, Dion, and Bieber are all Canadian recording artists.

McAfee's Davis explains in a blog post that musicians dominated the 2017 list because searches for the phrase "free mp3" accounted for about 40% of dangerous search results that involve a celebrity's name. In particular, searching for the combination of "Avril Lavigne" and "free mp3" resulted in a 22% risk of turning up malicious links according to the McAfee data.

Avril Lavigne's high placement on the list can possibly be explained by the spread of an Internet conspiracy theory regarding the singer. The bizarre rumor proposed that Lavigne died around 2003 and was replaced by a body double named Melissa, relates the Guardian.

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