Tennis player Venus Williams has topped a list of the most dangerous to search for on the web, according to Internet security company McAfee. Following on from the annual McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrities study, McAfee has investigated this summer’s sporting stars to reveal which competitors are the riskiest online.
Cybercriminals often use the names of famous people to lure people to sites that are actually full of malicious software designed to compromise personal details and disrupt devices.
Anyone looking for the latest videos or information about their favourite athlete could end up with a malware-ridden computer instead of the sports content they are looking for.
Fans searching for “Venus Williams videos”, “Venus Williams downloads” or “Venus Williams screensavers” risk running into online threats designed to steal personal information.
Users who click on these risky sites and download files like photos, videos or screensavers expose themselves to the risk of downloading viruses and malware.
McAfee research found that searching for the latest Venus Williams content yields more likelihood of landing on a website that has tested positive for online threats, such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and other malware than searching for any other athlete.
While tennis player Andy Murray was the most dangerous British athlete in cyber space, football star Ryan Giggs was found to be the second most dangerous British athlete, with gymnast Louis Smith (3), platform diver Tom Daley (4) and Mark Cavendish wrapping up the top 5.
Other top athletes that are risky to search for include 100m dominator Usain Bolt, tennis player Novak Djokovic and swimmer Michael Phelps, highlighting the vast array of athletes targeted.
“Cyber-crooks keep their finger on the pulse and adapt their scams to appeal to whatever we’re most likely to be searching for”, explained Raj Samani, CTO, McAfee EMEA. “Andy Murray has seen regular press attention in his battle to become a serious contender in his sport, so it’s no surprise that the bad guys have taken advantage of his popularity to target consumers. To keep your valuable data and devices safe over this summer of sports, surf securely by ensuring the sites you visit have been verified as safe.”
The study uses McAfee SiteAdvisor software, a free tool that provides ratings to indicate which sites are risky to search for on the web, calculating an overall risk percentage for each athlete.