Searching for the latest tracks from your favourite artists on the web could render your device vulnerable to spyware and other malicious viruses, warns McAfee.
More than one in ten websites offering free music from Craig David contain harmful malware that can steal data from your device.
The UK’s Most Dangerous Celebrity™ 2017 list released by McAfee sounds a warning bell for million of music enthusiasts in the UK who often go hunting for their favourite music tracks on the web.
McAfee warns that cyber criminals are creating malicious websites to offer free tracks from the most popular musicians. Once music fans click on such websites, they are infected by malware and other internet viruses that may steal their credentials or download more malware to their devices.
Comeback king Craig David, whose latest album Following My Intuition propelled him to the top the charts for the first time in 16 years, has been named the most dangerous celebrity in the UK. More than one in every ten websites that are offering music by Craig David contain malware and other viruses.
Other musicians on McAfee's Most Dangerous list include Emeli Sande (2nd), Liam Payne (3rd), Ed Sheeran (5th), Zayn Malik (10th), Adele (4th), Jessie J (6th), Rita Ora (7th) and Charli XCX (8th).
With so many musicians on the Most Dangerous celebrities' list, it is fair to state that music fans in the UK are now more vulnerable to be infected by malware than others who may not visit music-oriented websites regularly. What's worse for music fans is that while the UK’s Most Dangerous Celebrity lists every year include actors, TV hosts and musicians, all ten on the 2017 list are musicians.
“Having the latest hit albums, videos and movies available on our connected devices immediately is a tempting proposition. However, consumers need to be aware of the cybersecurity risks of clicking on links that promise the latest content from celebrities, particularly when they’re offering free content," says Nick Viney, consumer VP at McAfee.
"When searching for their favourite content online, they need to slow down and assess the links and sources that are showing up in search results. We urge people to think before they click to protect themselves from malware and cybersecurity threats,” he adds.
However, there's a glimmer of hope. With the music streaming industry, led by the likes of Spotify, Deezer and Apple Music, gaining ground and expected to generate £2.9bn in revenue this year, revenues from digital downloads are expected to fall 22% year-on-year and may reach £520m by the end of the year.
With more and more Brits switching over to streaming services, the likelihood of people visiting websites to search for content from their favourite musicians will reduce in the coming years. However, millions of music fans in the country are at the moment vulnerable to malicious websites masquerading as music-oriented ones.
McAfee suggests that you should be extra careful while searching for 'free MP3' online as such searches returned the highest number of risky websites. At the same time, installing anti-malware tools and software on your device will also help you learn more about a website before you click on it.