Image: McAfee

Katy Perry, Jon Hamm, and Britney Spears top list of most dangerous web celebs

It’s that time of year again! PC security firm McAfee just revealed its annual list of the Web's most dangerous celebrities. These deadly celebs may not threaten you personally, but if you click the wrong link while searching for these stars, you’re at risk for drive-by downloads, phishing attempts, and scareware.

Last year, McAfee’s top 10 featured an all-female cast that included Emma Watson, Megan Fox, and Jessica Biel. In 2013, the PC is still threatened by a wide array of femme fatales, but one man also cracked the top ten.

McAfee says the most dangerous celebrity online for 2013 is Lily Collins, star of Mirror, Mirror and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. If you search for this English actress, you run a more than 14.5 percent chance of landing on a malicious website.

Image: Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons
More than 10 percent of all search results for 'Britney Spears' are malicious.

Not all malicious searches are created equally, however. If you really want to risk the health of your PC or mobile device, searching for “Lily Collins and free downloads,” “Lily Collins and nude pictures,” or “Lily Collins and fakes” should do the trick. These are some of the queries most likely to infect your devices or lead you to a website trying to trick you into handing over personal information, McAfee says.

In fact, the worst thing you can do is to add “free downloads” to any query. This simple phrase may help you get a free ringtone, but it is also the most virus-prone search term by a significant margin, according to McAfee.

Collins unseats last year’s top star, Emma Watson, star of the Harry Potter series. The rest of the top 10 dangerous celebs in 2013 include Avril Lavigne, Sandra Bullock, Kathy Griffin, Zoe Saldana, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Jon Hamm, Adriana Lima, and Emma Roberts.

Hamm is the only man to crack the top 10, with Justin Timberlake and Patrick Dempsey following at numbers 12 and 13 respectively. Late night hosts Jimmy Fallon (24) and Jimmy Kimmel (39) also made the top 50. McAfee's website has the full list.

Shifty security holes

Not one of 2013’s top 10 most dangerous celebrities were part of McAfee’s top list in 2012. Most notably, Cameron Diaz and Jessica Biel both fell out of the top 10 after long consecutive-year reigns in the danger zone. Biel’s PC-threatening prominence traces back as far as 2009, while Diaz appeared on the list three times between 2010 and 2012.

If you're worried about being struck down by your star-studded search results, check out PCWorld's guide to protecting your PC from the web's most devious security traps. With a little knowledge and a handful of free security tools, your chance of infection goes way down—though you're probably better off avoiding searches for "free downloads" of your favorite celebs all together.

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