Priyanka leads the gang of toxic stars


It is not that fans mob actress Priyanka Chopra just in person; they throng her in cyber domain as well. Probably this is the reason why the Exotic singer has become a soft target for cyber criminals, who often lure unsuspecting viewers to the sites in her name, which are laden with malware that can steal passwords and personal information. According to a research by security technology company McAfee, this year Priyanka Chopra is the most dangerous celebrity in Indian cyberspace, and a hit on her name can lead you to download some dangerous spyware.
Explaining the modus operandi, Venkatasubrahmanyam Krishnapur, VP of engineering, consumer and mobile, McAfee India Centre, says, “Essentially cyber criminals create websites associated with celebrities that have their photos, wallpapers and videos cleverly anticipating that some of the fans would search for these celebrities along with keywords like photos, videos and so on. They also pack these sites with malware that can steal passwords and personal information. This year, searching for a celebrity name coupled with the search terms ‘wall paper’, ‘video’', ‘nude picture’ resulted in high instances of malware-laden sites.”
Last season it was Canadian porn star Sunny Leone who had maximum malware-laden sites in her name, this year Priyanka Chopra dethroned her with her list of new releases, item numbers, international single and personal life.
“I was not a huge fan of Priyanka until this year when she did that Babli Badmaash number and her song with Pitbull. Having an international release is a great achievement and that too when you are going through a personal low. She had just lost her father when the song came out. I was so intrigued to know what she is doing and how she is bracing herself to the loss that I would often google her name. My curiosity always got the better of me and I ended up reading each and every news item on her. I became such a great fan of Priyanka that I possibly downloaded a hundred wallpapers of her,” says Tanish Gupta, an engineering student.
Filmstars remain the best choice for cyber fraud because of their popularity in India, where they are treated like demi gods. “Filmstars are a popular choice primarily because of the interest they generate. Fans want to know everything about their favourite stars and often track their name, thus making a fertile ground for malicious code writers to write hidden codes, infect and botnet their systems. Their focus is very clear and they look for most popular, loved celebrity and the most trending celebrity. They piggy-ride on the credibility of these stars and target the clueless browsers. Earlier it was Katrina Kaif and Kareena Kapoor. Generally we see that the actor or actress, whoever is having an eventful year, is the most gullible target of cyber crime,” says cyber expert Pavan Duggal.
Cyber law consultant Karnika Seth says it’s much more serious than we think. “Most of the time users are not even aware that they are browsing through a harmful website and download virus, trojan and malware which can jeopardise the entire system. It can lead to Internet time theft, identity and data theft, signature theft, financial crime and in case you have some secret files in your system, they can be copied. I have seen cases where copyrights over art are damaged. So to prevent these crimes, always have an anti-virus installed and use a good search engine. If something pops up that you think is harmful, just do not use that,” explains Karnika.

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