September 19, 2017 3:49 pm

Think twice before searching for these celebrities online

Four Canadian musicians were listed among the Top 10 most dangerous celebrities to search online, with pop-punk Avril Lavigne ranking number one.

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Canadian pop star Shawn Mendes has taken Justin Bieber’s spot as the most dangerous celebrity for Canadians to search for online, according to a survey conducted by computer security company McAfee.

The survey is meant to highlight the danger of clicking on suspicious links that could potentially expose celebrity’s fans to malicious websites and malware.

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Canada’s Most Dangerous Celebrities are all musicians, with Mendes at No.1 in his debut on the list.

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Bieber is second on the list, followed by Avril Lavigne, Céline Dion, Carly Rae Jepsen, Drake and Aleesia Cara.

McAfee’s U.S. list has Canadian pop-punk singer Lavigne named as the most dangerous celebrity on the internet.

Cybersecurity firm McAfee said Tuesday that Lavigne, whose last album came out in 2013, was the most likely celebrity to land users on websites that carry viruses or malware.

Searches for Lavigne have a 14.5 per cent chance of landing on a web page with the potential for online threats, a number that increases to 22 per cent if users type her name and search for free MP3s.

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Bruno Mars was second on the list, followed closely behind by Jepsen. Zayn Malik (No. 4), Dion (No. 5), Calvin Harris (No. 6), Bieber (No. 7), Sean “Diddy” Combs (No. 8), Katy Perry (No. 9) and Beyoncé (No. 10) rounded out the top 10 list.

It’s a dubious step up for Lavigne, who was ranked No. 2 in 2013. Lavigne, whose hits include Sk8er Boi, Complicated and I’m With You, has been out of the spotlight for several years as she battles Lyme disease.

McAfee had a few suggestions for why Lavigne scored so high on the 11th annual list: Interest after the artist said she’s working on a new album, a feature story on her by E! Online and an internet conspiracy that she has been replaced by an impostor.

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Lavigne is the first female musician to take the No. 1 spot and replaced Amy Schumer, named the most dangerous celebrity on the internet in 2016. In 2015, it was Dutch trance DJ van Buuren.

McAfee urges internet users to consider risks associated with searching for downloadable content. The company used its own site ratings to compile the celebrity list and used searches on Google, Bing and Yahoo.

Searching for “Celebrity Name + free mp3” generated the most potentially malicious websites and helped musicians dominate the list.

Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at McAfee, said: “In today’s digital world, we want the latest hit albums, videos, movies and more, immediately available to our devices.”

Davis continued: “Consumers often prioritize their convenience over security by engaging in risky behaviour like clicking on suspicious links that promise the latest content from celebrities. It’s imperative that they slow down and consider the risks associated with searching for downloadable content. Thinking before clicking goes a long way to stay safe online.”

—With files from the Associated Press

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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