30 September 2015

Cybercriminals love Donnie Yen and Jackie Chan

Hong Kong actor and martial arts expert Donnie Yen has been revealed as Intel Security’s most dangerous celebrity to search for online from Singapore. For the fifth year in a row in Singapore, Intel Security researched* celebrities to reveal which of them generates the most dangerous search results. 

Cybercriminals are always looking for ways to take advantage of consumer interest around popular culture. They capitalise on this interest by enticing unsuspecting consumers to sites laden with malware, enabling them to steal passwords and personal information. For Singapore, the Intel Security Most Dangerous Celebrities study revealed that searches for certain martial art legends, established female actresses and musicians tend to expose Internet searchers to more viruses and malware.

“The pervasiveness of electronic goods and gadgets, as well as a desire for real time information, has resulted in consumers often clicking on sites that will quickly provide them with news and entertainment. Often, safety and security implications are not considered,” said David Freer, Vice President, Consumer APAC at Intel Security. “Cybercriminals leverage this need for immediacy by encouraging people to visit unsafe sites that can steal private data.”

People in Singapore looking to download free music or free movies may be especially at risk, the company notes. “Celebrity names combined with the terms ‘free MP4, ‘HD downloads,’ or ‘torrent’ are some of the most searched terms on the Web,” Freer warned. "When consumers search for music that is not made available through legitimate channels, they put both their digital lives and devices at risk.”

Kungfu heroes top the list: Yen and fellow action hero Jackie Chan claimed the top two spots in the top 10 list, a testament to the longevity of the popularity of martial arts as a form of entertainment in popular culture.

Multi-tasking entertainers generate more risk. Industry veteran Andy Lau (No. 7) is a singer-songwriter, actor, presenter, and film producer. Daniel Henney (No. 6) is a “mactor” (model and actor) while Angelababy (No. 8) is a singer, actress and model.

Female actresses in their 30s and 40s: Gong Li is at No. 5, Maggie Q at No. 9 and Jun Ji-Hyun rounding is No. 10.

Music acts are popular: Singer-songwriter Jay Chou hit No. 4 and K-pop group Girls Generation reached No. 3.

Intel Security advises users to:

Beware of clicking on third-party links. Access content directly from official websites of content providers.

Use web protection that will alert users of risky sites or links. Stick to official news sites for breaking news.

Download videos from well-known, legitimate sites. Most news clips can easily be found on official video sites and do not require any downloading.

Use caution when searching for “HD downloads.” This term is by far the highest virus-prone search term. Consumers searching for videos or files to download should be careful as not to unleash unsafe content such as malware onto their computers.

Always use password protection on mobile devices. If a phone is lost or stolen, those without passwords will yield the owner's personal information to anyone who uses the device.

Don’t 'log in' or provide other information. If you receive a message, text or email or visit a third-party website that asks for your information — including your credit card, email, home address, or Facebook login — to grant access to information, don’t do it. Such requests are a common tactic for phishing that could lead to identity theft.


Tools such as McAfee WebAdvisor software protect users from malicious websites and browser exploits. Download a complimentary version

Hashtag: #RiskyCeleb

*The study was conducted using McAfee WebAdvisor, using SiteAdvisor site ratings to determine the number of risky sites that would be generated in search results including a celebrity name and commonly searched terms (noted below) and calculates an overall risk percentage for that celebrity. McAfee SiteAdvisor technology helps protect users from malicious websites and browser exploits. SiteAdvisor technology tests and rates nearly every Internet website it finds, and uses red, yellow and green icons to indicate the website’s risk level. Ratings are created by using patented advanced technology to conduct automated website tests and works with Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari and Firefox.

The terms “Donnie Yen” “Donnie Yen HD downloads,” “Donnie Yen free MP4,” and “Donnie Yen torrent” were used to search for Donnie Yen, and similar terms were used for each celebrity on the list. The results indicated the percentage of risk of running into online threats — if a user clicked all the results generated by the terms. Fans clicking on sites deemed risky and downloading files including photos and videos from those sites may also be prone to downloading viruses and malware.