Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha has topped the list of “most sensational celebrities” of 2016 as cyber crooks use her name to lure netizens to malicious websites, a report said.
According to McAfee Most Sensational Celebrities 2016, a search for ‘Sonakshi Sinha + Torrent’ results in a 21 per cent chance of connecting to a malicious website. Searches for the actress overall had a risk percentage of 11.11 per cent.
The global study, published by Intel Security, explores how hackers use pop culture icons like Bollywood celebrities to generate risky search results, exposing fans to viruses and malware. The report found that Gen-Y stars including Sonakshi Sinha, Tiger Shroff, Arjun Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Kriti Sanon and Alia Bhatt comprised 50 per cent of the top 10 list for 2016.
Priyanka Chopra, who was the most sensational celebrity for 2015, is down to No 7 spot this year with 7.56 per cent risk percentage. “This year’s list saw major changes as younger (Gen-Y) movie celebrities are making their presence felt in the top 10 list,” the report said.
Farhan Akhtar ranked second in the list (racing from No 11 in 2015) with 9.56 per cent risk percentage, followed by Kareena Kapoor at No 3 (from No 10 last year) (8.67 per cent) and Tiger Shroff and Arjun Kapoor jointly at No 4 and 8.44 per cent risk.
Shraddha Kapoor ranked at the fifth spot, down from No 2 in 2015. With the increasing penetration of broadband, consumers
rely on internet to find more information like award and TV shows as well as movie premieres, album releases, celebrity breakups and more, leaving them vulnerable.
“…hackers can take advantage of consumer interest around several facets of Bollywood cinema news and entice unsuspecting fans to visit sites loaded with malware that can steal passwords and personal information,” it added.
Venkat Krishnapur, head of R&D operations for Intel Security’s India Development Centre, said cybercriminals are increasingly targeting consumers who access information on-the-go, without considering the potential security risks online around celebrity interest.
“We at Intel Security remain committed to creating a positive online experience by educating and protecting the Indian consumers,” he added. The report said users must be aware of clicking on third party links and ensure they use web protection that notifies them of risky sites or links before they visit them.
Also, they should be cautious when searching for ‘torrent’ as this term appeared to be, by far, the riskiest search term. “Cybercriminals can use torrents to embed malware within authentic files making it difficult to determine if a file is safe. It’s best to avoid using torrents especially when there are so many legitimate streaming options available,” the report said.