The New IT Security Threat: Celebrity Gossip

Thanks to programs such as 20/20, 60 Minutes and countless pop culture references, we have all heard stories of famous email scams, like the infamous Nigerian prince with a sudden windfall who needs you to send him your bank account number.

With stories of identity theft and stolen credit card information becoming old news, it’s easy to think that you’ve heard it all. Yet malicious identity theft attacks are continuing, and the methods behind them are constantly being updated. In this hectic online environment, defending yourself and your files requires constant vigilance.

Constant Vigilance

The Trap: Searching For Celebrity Gossip

Just look at the recent celebrity photo scandal “The Fappening”. The number of articles, links and stories posted by the minute was astounding. And while the world was focused on the photos and the scandal itself, the story also provided the perfect opportunity for cyber attacks through the use of malicious sites masquerading as simple gossip stories.

Oscars

When targeting normal, everyday users with click-bait, the creators of malware know how to harness the power of curiosity, especially when it comes to celebrity gossip and trending news. According to the 2014 report from McAfee on the “Most Dangerous Celebrities” in online search, Jimmy Kimmel topped the list with approximately 20% of links related to him posing threats to users in the form of viruses, spyware and assorted malware.

In the time that it takes to load the video “Jimmy Kimmel I Told My Kid I Ate All Their Halloween Candy,” your device can already be infected with malicious code.

How to Protect Yourself From Celebrity Gossip Click-Bait

Jimmy Kimmel Slapped

So before you look for the latest celebrity gossip on J-Law, Queen B and Blue Ivy, or George and Amal’s wedding, check to see that your antivirus software is up-to-date, and try to stick to stories found through official channels or reliable aggregators such as Yahoo, Google News (which can be customized to your interest areas) or even a subscription service such as The Skimm.

While far from bulletproof, making sure that your antivirus software stays up-to-date can significantly reduce your risk of being infected by celebrity gossip click-bait. Many users fail to keep track of notifications or install anti-virus updates regularly, leaving them vulnerable to cyber attack.

With that in mind, organizations can transition to an easy, dependable, and hassle-free experience for users by choosing to use a centrally-managed antivirus solution from your IT service provider, instead of having to track the updates on each and every device in your business.

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