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Google Emma Watson at Your Peril

13 September 2012 in Trading Ideas

Heidi Klum, your reign is over.

Security software maker McAfee recently announced that the German supermodel has lost her crown as Most Dangerous Cyber Celebrity – that is, the most dangerous celebrity to search for online.

Danger, in this case, meaning the likelihood that a specific Web search will land you on a site that has tested positive for online threats such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and other malware.

The new reigning queen of danger? Twenty-two-year-old Emma Watson, the British actress best known to movie-going audiences as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series.

McAfee said its research found that searching for the latest Emma Watson pictures and downloads risks more than a 12.6% chance of landing on a site with malicious software.

According to the software maker, cybercriminals follow the latest trends to use names of popular celebrities to lure people to sites laden with malicious software that are designed to steal passwords and personal information.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, searching for a celebrity name with “free downloads” and “nude pictures” as part of the search term resulted in the highest result of risky sites. That notion is pretty well understood when you see the rest of the “Dangerous” Top 5: Jessica Biel, Eva Mendes, Selena Gomez, and Halle Barry.

In fact, late-night host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel is the only male to make McAfee’s top 20 list this year. Go figure.

Celebrity stalking aside, the cybersecurity market has surged in recent years due to the rise of Internet-base computing (the famous “cloud”), as well as the proliferation of wireless communication devices.

One recent report by research firm MarketsandMarkets estimated that the global security market will grow to $120.1 billion by 2017 at a projected compound annual growth rate of 11.3% from 2012 to 2017.

The Cyber Security motif has risen 8.4% in the past month, compared to the S&P 500’s rise of 4.2%.

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