Spyware, adware, malware and viruses – all virtual ailments you can catch from Googling the name of the X Factor judge
Her steely glare across the X Factor judging panel. Her quick tongue. Her mean left hook in a Surrey nightclub bathroom circa 2003.
There are many reasons why the name ‘Cheryl Cole’ strikes fear into the hearts of the general public. Now, the internet is afraid of her, too.
The singer, known as Cheryl Fernandez-Versini after getting married earlier this year, has just been named the “most dangerous celebrity” to look up online in the UK by web security providers McAfee.
According to the firm, 15 per cent of search results related to her former name contained links to high risk content such as spyware, viruses, spam, phishing, adware and other malware.Attach to the term ‘Cheryl Cole’ the words ‘video’ or ‘picture’ and the risk is further increased – the terms are utilised by hackers to lure in users, as are searches like ‘Cheryl Cole downloads’ and ‘Cheryl Cole mp4s’.
Meanwhile, all five members of One Direction appear in the Top 20 most dangerous, with searches for Harry Styles the most risky at eighth most dangerous.
Samantha Humphries-Swift, McAfee Labs product manager, said: “The desire for consumers to have access to the latest celebrity information can often make them vulnerable to cybercrime.
“Most consumers do not realise the security risks they are exposing themselves to when searching for celebrity videos and images online. But cybercriminals can exploit this desire for breaking celebrity news, leading consumers to sites that download harmful malware on to their devices and compromise personal data.”
In terms of dangerous world searches, US chat show host Jimmy Kimmel is the worst name you could type into Google. His moniker carries a 19.38 per cent risk of entering a site with malicious content.