ADDING MULTIMEDIA Avril Lavigne is the 2017 McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrity™

Musicians Hit the Right Key and Dominate Top 10 for First Time Ever


  • Musician Avril Lavigne ranked No. 1 on the McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrities™ 2017 study
  • Study reveals which celebrities generate the most dangerous results that could expose consumers to malicious websites and malware
  • Searching for “Celebrity Name + free mp3” generated the most potentially malicious websites and helped musicians dominate the list

(Graphic: Business Wire)

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--()--Female singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne replaced comedian Amy Schumer as the most dangerous celebrity to search for online. For the eleventh year in a row, McAfee researched famous individuals to reveal the riskiest celebrity to search for online. While the top ten “most dangerous” historically have included a mix of musicians, actors and TV hosts, this year’s research identified musicians as the top ten “most dangerous.” The research reveals which celebrities generate the riskiest search results that could potentially expose their fans to malicious websites.

Avril Lavigne has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide, and is the second best-selling female artist in Canada of all time. Today, Lavigne adds “first female musician to take the No. 1 spot on the McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrities study” to her achievements. Lavigne was ranked number two in 2013 finishing behind Lily Collins on the list. Bruno Mars (No. 2) made his debut this year in second place followed closely behind by Carly Rae Jepsen (No. 3). Musicians Zayn Malik (No. 4), Celine Dion (No. 5), Calvin Harris (No. 6), Justin Bieber (No. 7), Diddy (No. 8), Katy Perry (No. 9) and Beyoncé (No. 10) round out the rest of the top 10 list.

Cybercriminals continue to use the fascination of consumers with celebrity culture to drive unsuspecting users to potentially malicious websites that can be used to install malware, steal personal information and even passwords. The study, conducted by McAfee and now in its 11th year, highlights the dangers of clicking on suspicious links when searching for celebrity-focused content.

“In today’s digital world, we want the latest hit albums, videos, movies and more, immediately available on our devices,” said Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at McAfee. “Consumers often prioritize their convenience over security by engaging in risky behavior 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.”

Searching for “Avril Lavigne free mp3” Results in a 22 Percent Chance of Landing on a Malicious Website

The global music market grew nearly 6% in 2016, so it’s clear that music continues to be a big part of the daily lives of consumers, so it’s no surprise that the top 10 celebrities are from the music industry. As artists go on tour, and release new albums and songs, the appetite for more content from these singer-songwriters continues to grow.

The top 10 celebrities from this year’s study with the highest risk percentage are:

Position   Celebrity   Percentage
1   Avril Lavigne   14.51%
2   Bruno Mars   13.43%
3   Carly Rae Jepsen   13.19%
4   Zayn Malik   13.06%
5   Celine Dion   12.92%
6   Calvin Harris   12.48%
7   Justin Bieber   12.33%
8   Diddy   12.32%
9   Katy Perry   12.25%
10   Beyoncé (search was conducted with “Beyonce”)   12.09%

The Most Dangerous Celebrities Outside of the Music Industry

While the 2017 McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrities study was dominated by musicians several actors and actresses found their way onto the list including Anna Kendrick (No. 13), Jennifer Lopez (No. 20), Hailee Steinfeld (No. 23), Will Smith (No. 34), Jackie Chan (No. 38), Vanessa Hudgens (No. 44), Teyana Taylor (No. 45), and Zendaya (No. 50).

How to Search Safely

  • Be careful what you click. Are you looking for a sneak-peak at Avril Lavigne’s rumored 2017 album? It’s better to wait for the official release than to visit a third-party website that could contain malware.
  • Searching for free MP3s? Watch out! Searching for “free MP3” returned the highest number of risky websites, so it’s important for consumers to be vigilant and ensure they are searching safely.
  • Browse with security protection like McAfee WebAdvisor. This McAfee tool can help keep you safe by identifying malicious websites and warning the user before they click. Download this free tool here:
  • Use cross-device protection. As our daily activities become more ingrained in our digital lives it’s important to keep everything protected. A comprehensive security solution, like McAfee Total Protection, can help ensure that your devices are protected against malware, phishing attacks and device-specific protection in the event of loss or theft.

For More Information:

Survey Methodology

McAfee conducted the study using McAfee WebAdvisor site ratings to determine the number of risky websites generated by searches on Google*, Bing* and Yahoo!*, that included a celebrity name and search terms likely to yield potentially malicious websites in the results. An overall risk percentage was calculated for each celebrity using the total number of risky websites divided by the number of search results returned. “Most dangerous” really means that these celebrities are likely popular search subjects.

Search terms included:

  • “Celebrity Name + free torrent”
  • “Celebrity Name + free mp4”
  • “Celebrity Name + free mp3”

About McAfee

McAfee is one of the world’s leading independent cybersecurity companies. Inspired by the power of working together, McAfee creates business and consumer solutions that make the world a safer place.

McAfee, the McAfee logo, and McAfee LiveSafe, are trademarks or registered trademarks of McAfee LLC or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries.

*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.


Craig Sirois, 214-405-2335


Craig Sirois, 214-405-2335