Comedy megastar Amy Schumer makes us laugh, but the damage she could do to your credit cards is no laughing matter. You can't blame Amy, though.
A new study from Intel Security, a maker of computer security software, shows Schumer is the most dangerous celebrity to search for online.
The study ranks the celebrities who generate the most search results that could expose you to computer malware, thereby jeopardizing data about your credit cards as well as other personal information. Intel Security included a host of high-profile figures in its study, such as actors, comedians, musicians, TV hosts, and professional athletes.
According to MIT, malware refers to any software that's installed without your knowledge on a computer and performs unwanted tasks. Malware programs range from annoying ads popping up on your computer screen to passwords and other personal data being stolen. The AV-NET security institute says it detects over 390,000 new malware programs every day, with more than 550 million malware programs now lurking online.
Online, malware and Amy Schumer go hand-in-hand. The Intel Security study says searching Schumer's name online carries a 16.11 percent risk of encountering online threats such as malware.
After Schumer, these are the other most dangerous celebrities to search for online, along with the malware risk percentages associated with them:
- Singer Justin Bieber — 15 percent.
- "The Voice" host Carson Daly — 13.44 percent.
- Actor Will Smith — 13.44 percent.
- Singer Rihanna — 13.33 percent.
- "The Voice" judge Miley Cyrus — 12.67 percent.
- TV host Chris Hardwick — 12.56 percent
- Comedian Daniel Tosh — 11.56 percent.
- Singer Selena Gomez — 11.11 percent.
- Singer Kesha — 11.11 percent.
So, why are these celebrities so "dangerous?"
"Savvy cybercriminals continue to leverage consumers' ongoing fascination with celebrity news — such as award and TV shows as well as movie premieres, album releases, celebrity breakups, and more — to entice unsuspecting fans to visit sites loaded with malware that can steal passwords and personal information," Intel Security says.
Torrent of Trouble
Intel Security offers this example:
Millions of Americans have dropped their cable TV service in favor of streaming TV shows and movies online. One way these "cut the cord" consumers access that online content — without paying for it — is through so-called "torrents," which enable sharing of files online. Cybercriminals are aware of this trend and are exploiting it.
Sticking with the streaming scenario, Intel Security says you've got a 33 percent chance of connecting to a malicious website if you search the phrase "Amy Schumer torrent" online. That visit then could cause malware to be installed on your computer, paving the way for a cybercriminal to steal your credit card information, Social Security number or other personal data.
Think Before You Click
To avoid online trouble, Intel Security recommends thinking before clicking.
"Are you looking for the latest episode of Amy Schumer's TV show, 'Inside Amy Schumer'? Don't click on that third-party link," Intel Security says. "Instead, get your content directly from the original source ... to ensure you aren't clicking on anything that could be malicious."
Furthermore, Intel Security cautions against conducting an online search containing the word "torrent."
"This term is by far the riskiest search term," the company says. "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."