Star-powered websites may contain harmful software, claims anti-virus specialist McAfee. According to the company, celebrity websites are the most "prolific" distributors of adware and spyware.
Using a web ranking utility called SiteAdvisor, McAfee has examined tens of thousands of websites for adware and spyware-like characteristics. It is commonly believed that adult websites are the main spreaders of adware, but McAfee says this is a misconception. "Celebrities are a bigger lure than sex," said the McAfee report.
According to McAfee, the celebrities may not even be aware that their websites are spreading adware because the adware companies use front companies to hide themselves. The front companies also make it hard to tell if a website is safe or not. McAfee recently surveyed web surfers and found that 97% of Internet users could not differentiate between safe and unsafe websites.
The report also claims that spyware is increasing at an "exponential" rate. Much of this growth is because of the huge payoff for spyware installers. Jeanson James Ancheta, an indicted spyware installer, was allegedly paid $150 dollars for every 1000 machines infected.