McAfee's Most Sensational Celebrity Survey

Alia Bhatt tops as McAfee’s Most Sensational Celebrity

McAfee’s annual study finds searching for popular celebrities online can lead to identity theft.

In its eighth edition this year, McAfee’s Most Sensational Celebrity survey has found Bollywood’s Alia Bhatt topping the charts in Indian cyberspace. As part of the program, McAfee researched popular culture’s most famous people to reveal the riskiest celebrity across the web and unveil the 2014 rendition of its ‘Most Sensational Celebrity’ research.  Alia trumps Priyanka Chopra, who topped the list in 2013.

As cybercriminals exploit consumers’ need to be updated on celebrity news, McAfee’s survey highlights the pitfalls of the trend. These criminals capitalize on the public’s fascination to lure them to sites loaded with malware, which in turn allows them to steal passwords and personal information. This year, searching for a ‘celebrity name’ coupled with search terms like ‘wallpaper’, ‘videos’, ‘free download’, ‘hot pictures’, ‘selfie’ and ‘internet memes’ have resulted in instances of malware-laden sites.

Commenting on the findings of the study, Venkat Krishnapur, Vice-President of Engineering- Consumer, Business Group, McAfee India Centre, McAfee, Part of Intel Security said, “By including the names of popular celebrities in a website's search tags, consumers are completely unaware of the security risks that exist which can severely infect their computers, devices and steal personal data. Cybercriminals are consistently looking for ways to take advantage of consumer interest around new movies, TV shows, as well as the latest celebrity-driven trends. For e.g. the selfie craze that has gripped Bollywood, the ice bucket challenge videos or internet memes created for sheer fun.”

The top 10 celebrities from this year’s study with the highest percentages of risk in Indian cyberspace are:

From ‘Student of the year’ to ‘Genius of the year’, Alia Bhatt  has had the nation going crazy either with her movies, jokes and memes. She ranks 1st on the India's Most Sensational Celebrity list with 81 infected search results.
Debuting the list at 2nd position this year, Aamir Khan, whose upcoming movie PK’s poster went viral and elicited a roaring response on social media. Known to be a perfectionist, he has 78 malicious sites to his name.
Bollywood’s most popular actress on Twitter, Priyanka Chopra, the international star with her music career and her awe-striking performance in 'Mary Kom’, ranks 3rd in the list with 69 infected sites.
Sharing the 4th spot are the King Khans of Bollywood: Shahrukh Khan, who has made a splash with his ‘Happy New Year’ promos and Salman Khan, who is enjoying the success of his blockbuster movie ‘Kick’. They both share 64 malware infected search results to their name.
Named the most desirable woman, Katrina Kaif who sizzles in her movie ‘Bang Bang’ with her moves stands at 5th position. With 63 malicious websites, her leaked photos with Ranbir Kapoor still make the rounds of the internet.
Starring in last year’s romantic superhit film ‘Aashiqui 2’Shradha Kapoor has been in the news for her chemistry with ‘Haider’ co-star Shahid KapoorShe ranks 6th on the list, with 62 infected search results.
At 7th position with 61 infected sites is Ranveer Singh, the master of antics, who is always grabbing eyeballs for his product endorsements, alleged affair with Deepika Padukone and his famous handlebar moustache.
This year’s much awaited movie’ ‘Happy New Year’ actress, Deepika Padukone, who has made headlines of her twitter outburst, ranks 8th with 60 malicious sites.
Hrithik Roshan’s lover boy looks and well chiselled body makes him a mass favourite. With his popularity steadily increasing in cyber space for his movie - Bang Bang dare challenge videos, he ranks 9th as the most sensational celebrity online with 59 infected search results.
Ranking 10th is Sonakshi Sinha, who has shot a pop song ‘Desi Kalakaar’ with rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh. The `Dabangg’ girl has 58 malware-ridden websites to her name.

Actresses outnumber actors in being potentially risky targets online:
Alia Bhatt (No. 1), Priyanka Chopra (No. 3), Katrina Kaif (No. 5), Shradha Kapoor (No. 6), Deepika Padukone (No. 8) and Sonakshi Sinha (No. 10) list in the top 10 Most Sensational Celebrity list.

From one year to another:
Kareena Kapoor, Akshay Kumar, Saif Ali Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar & Sunny Leone have all dropped out of this year’s list (in 2013 they ranked No. 4, No. 5, No. 6, No. 7, No. 8,  and No. 9 respectively).

How You Can Stay Protected?
  • Beware of clicking on third party links: You should access content directly from official websites of content providers. For example, visit to find Jimmy Kimmel’s latest episodes.
  • Ensure you use web protection that will notify you of risky sites or links before you visit them. Stick to official news sites for breaking news.
  • Don’t download videos from suspect sites: This should be common sense, but it bears repeating: don’t download anything from a website you don’t trust — especially video. Most news clips you’d want to see can easily be found on official video sites and don’t require you to download anything.
  • “Free downloads” are by far the highest virus-prone search term: Anyone 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 your phone and other mobile devices: If you don’t and your phone is lost or stolen, anyone who picks up the device could have access to your personal information online.
  • 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—credit card, email, home address, Facebook login, or other information—to grant access to an exclusive story, don’t give it out. Such requests are a common tactic for phishing that could lead to identity theft.
  • Search online using a tool, such as SiteAdvisor software, which protects users from malicious websites and browser exploits. A complimentary version of SiteAdvisor software can be downloaded at


Dreamer, Blogger, Writer, Foodie, Movie buff, Public Relations. Contributor for The New Indian Express and recently started a news publishing website 'Unkrate'.

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