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Michelle Yeoh tops list of most ‘dangerous’ celebrities to search for online in S’pore, says study

SINGAPORE — A simple web search for free content featuring Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh could expose searchers to a high level of risk of malicious websites and viruses, according to a study released on Tuesday (Oct 22).

Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh (pictured) at the premiere of the 2018 hit Crazy Rich Asians in Los Angeles.

Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh (pictured) at the premiere of the 2018 hit Crazy Rich Asians in Los Angeles.

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SINGAPORE — A simple web search for free content featuring Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh could expose searchers to a high level of risk of malicious websites and viruses, according to a study released on Tuesday (Oct 22).

Yeoh, who most recently starred in 2018 box office hit Crazy Rich Asians, tops the list of the most dangerous celebrities to search for online in Singapore, the study by computer security company McAfee found.

Yeoh, 57, has a string of hit movies dating back decades including the 1997 James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies and the 2000 martial arts hit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Other famous names that made the top 10 list include rapper and musician Nicki Minaj in second place, American actress Scarlett Johansson in sixth, and Taiwanese singer A-mei in 10th spot.

WHY DOES IT HAPPEN?

Consumers have multiple platforms to choose from to access content about their favourite celebrities. This gives them the opportunity to conduct potentially dangerous searches across the Internet to find the latest celebrity news and gossip, McAfee said.

Cybercriminals use these opportunities to lure unsuspecting consumers to malicious websites that may install malware or steal personal information and passwords.

HOW ARE THE 'MOST DANGEROUS' CELEBRITIES IDENTIFIED?

The top celebrities in the study had search terms coupled with search terms such as “torrent” or “pirated download” (for example, “Michelle Yeoh” and “pirated download”). Torrent files are often used to download illegal movies, songs or games.

McAfee measured the risk levels of domains and URLs generated by these searches and assigned a risk-level score to the sites, before compiling the top 10 list.

The firm said that when searching for these celebrities, consumers are often unaware of the risks involved in downloading content featuring the celebrities.

Personal information is often compromised in exchange for access to consumers’ favourite celebrities, movies, television shows or music, said Mr Shashwat Khandelwal, head of South-east Asia consumer business at McAfee.

McAfee said that despite many streaming services available to consumers, many still “choose to put their digital lives at risk in exchange for pirated content” in the pursuit of “free” options.

“It’s important for these viewers to understand the risks associated with torrent or pirated downloads, as they may open up themselves to savvy cybercriminals and end up having a much higher cost to pay,” McAfee added.

WHAT CAN CONSUMERS DO?

  • Stream and download movies, music and TV shows directly only from a reliable source. The safest thing to do is to wait for the official release instead of visiting third-party websites that may contain malicious software (malware) disguised as pirated video files.

  • Use a comprehensive cybersecurity solution to protect yourself from malware, phishing attacks, and other threats.

  • Use a “web reputation” tool. These tools — many of which are available for free — help alert users when they are about to go to a malicious website.

  • Use parental control software. Ensure that limits are set for your child on the devices they use and use parental control software to help minimise exposure to potentially malicious or inappropriate websites.

 

Related topics

cybersecurity internet cyber attack Celebrities

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