When people mention the name Avril Lavigne, you may be one of the many that responds ‘who?’ or you may remember her from her brief stint as a popstar with seminal tracks such as ‘Skater Boi’ and ‘Complicated’. It turns out she is still popular enough to be searched for online, possibly for those folks out there who are after a slice of nostalgia.
However, you may want to rethink who you are searching for nostalgia purposes. McAfee found that Lavigne was the most likely celebrity to land users on websites that carry viruses or malware. It’s probably a safer bet to search for Las Ketchup or Mr. Oizo (I’m probably showing my age there.)
Well, not on purpose. You might think a simple search for Avril Lavigne wouldn’t pose that much threat. However, the findings show that searches for Lavigne have a 14.5% chance of landing on a webpage with the potential for online threats. That number rises to a worrying 22% if users type her name and search for free MP3s. When you thought it couldn’t get any worse than listening to Avril Lavigne you now have cyber security woes including malware to deal with.
When it rains, it pours!
Perhaps even more interestingly are the reasons why Lavigne has scored so highly on the annual list. She is currently at work on a new album and has had feature stories written about her recently, but that’s the norm for most pop stars. McAfee suggest that an internet conspiracy may be behind the wave of searches. There is nothing the internet likes more than a conspiracy and this one is a real doozey. It suggests that Avril Lavigne actually died in 2003, and was replaced by a doppelganger and has been keeping up the ruse since.
The McAfee survey has become an annual survey and despite the general interest that it attracts, it also carries a serious message to all of us that use the internet. Many people go about their day to day lives online without considering the risks associated with what we are searching for especially in regards to downloadable content.
The list is compiled by using McAfee’s own site ratings along with used searches on Google, Bing and Yahoo.
In the modern day, it is tempting to want music and videos on our connected devices as soon as possible. However, people online need to be savvy to the risks posed by those promising free content, whether it be in the form of films or music, as more often than not, malware will be piggybacking on the file itself. You should always take your time and assess the links and sources presented to you, and only when you can verify they are legitimate should you proceed. This will help protect you from malware and a cyber security disaster.
Have you had any disasters with malware coming from what you thought was a legitimate source? Have you searched for any former pop stars and run into cyber trouble, let us know below.