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Last Updated : Oct 22, 2019 04:59 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Why browsing on MS Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar could put your device at risk

Protect your personal information and passwords while searching online for your favourite celebrities.


Are you searching for news, photos or videos of your favourite sportspersons or Bollywood actors and actresses? Then beware of cyber threats and malware. Some malware can steal personal information and passwords from your personal computers.

Former Indian cricket captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has topped the McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrity list 2019 in terms of searches.

Cyber security company McAfee has identified the top ten popular celebrities generating the riskiest search results that could potentially expose browsers to malicious websites and viruses. According to the study, the second on the list is cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.

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In India, where cricket is a religion, both MS Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar are seen as iconic figures. Their immense popularity has enabled cybercriminals to lure the unsuspecting web browsing public into various security threats.

When you search for “MS Dhoni wallpapers”, “MS Dhoni photos”, “MS Dhoni videos”, “MS Dhoni screen savers” or “Sachin Tendulkar wallpapers”, “Sachin Tendulkar screensavers”, “Sachin Tendulkar photos”, etc. there is high probability of you landing at a website that has tested positive for online threats, such as phishing, viruses, adware and other malware to steal your personal information and passwords saved on your computers.

The significant ease of internet access, through a host of connected devices, has made it increasingly viable for users to avail content from all over the world. Venkat Krishnapur, Vice-President of Engineering and Managing Director, McAfee India says, “As subscription-based content platforms continue to grow in India, netizens often look for free and pirated content such as major sports events, movies, TV shows, and images of their favourite superstars. Unfortunately, they may not be fully aware of the risks that malicious websites providing such content can pose in exchange for this access.”

Following them closely are Gautam Gulati, who was a winner of the reality television show Bigg Boss, Bollywood actress Sunny Leone and pop icon Badshah. Radhika Apte too is quite popular and is at the sixth spot, Bollywood actress Shraddha Kapoor, ace woman cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur, ace shuttle player P.V. Sindhu and football player Cristiano Ronaldo are next in the list of potentially dangerous searches.

In the quest for freebies

Demographically, India is a young country where almost a third of the population is comprises millennials. More than 50 per cent of the country’s population is below the age of 25.

By 2020, the average age of an Indian is expected to be approximately 29 years, making it one of the youngest countries in the world. As this digital native population continues to spend more time online owing to cheaper data and the pervasiveness of smart devices, they will continue to remain soft targets for cybercriminals who thrive on such user behaviour.

Says Krishnapur, “It’s important for young digital consumers to understand the risks associated with torrent or pirated downloads and avoid being exploited by savvy cybercriminals.”

Ways to protect your personal information from such online threats

Click with care

You should only stream and download directly from a reliable source for content related to ace sports personality or Bollywood/Hollywood actors, etc. Don’t trust free content from a third-party website that could contain malware.

Avoid illegal streaming sites

Many illegal streaming sites are pierced with malware or adware disguised as pirated video files. So, it’s recommended to stream the show only from a trustworthy source which could be subscription based.

Use parental control software

Children are fans of sports celebrities, actors, etc. So, ensure that cyber security settings are set for your child on the devices they use for surfing. Also, use parental control software to help minimize exposure to potentially malicious or inappropriate websites.

Install a web reputation tool

Install a web reputation tool on your devices which alerts users when they are about to go to a malicious website while surfing or downloading any content.

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First Published on Oct 22, 2019 04:59 pm
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