“Cheryl Cole” has the spam factor as Britain’s most dangerous internet search term

The X Factor judge’s former name tops a list of the most virus-ridden and spam-generating celebrity monikers to search for online, with Harry Styles, Alesha Dixon and Lily Allen also making the UK top ten

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X Factor judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini’s former moniker Cheryl Cole is the nation’s most lethal internet search term.

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Cole tops the list of the “most dangerous” celebrities in the UK in terms of online searches that lead to sites linked to viruses, phishing and spam, according to research by online security firm McAfee.

The company claims that searching for terms with her name in it result in a 15% chance of visiting potentially risky websites.

Joining Cole in the list of the ten most dangerous celebrity-related searches are Jessie J, Alesha Dixon, Ellie Goulding, Pixie Lott, Harry Styles, Lily Allen and Rita Ora.

The UK list is a musician-heavy collection, with Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe and former footballer David Beckham the only personalities coming from outside the pop and rock world.

In addition, all four of Styles’ One Direction bandmates – Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson – are inside the UK top 20, which the company has not chosen to publish.

And who tops the US list? According to McAfee, a search for chat show host Jimmy Kimmel carries a 19 per cent chance of landing on a website that has tested positive for spyware, viruses or malware. Rock stars Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi and singer Christina Aguilera also make the US list.

“The desire for consumers to have access to the latest celebrity information can often make them vulnerable to cybercrime,” explained McAfee Labs’ product manager Samantha Humphries-Swift.

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“Most consumers do not realise the security risks they are exposing themselves to when searching for celebrity videos and images online. But cybercriminals can exploit this desire for breaking celebrity news, leading consumers to sites that download harmful malware onto their devices and compromise personal data.”