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With the FIFA World Cup 2014 just over a week away, cybercriminals are most likely to use Portugals Cristiano Ronaldo to lure visitors to web pages designed to infect them with malware, according to a study by Intel's security arm McAfee.
The McAfee Red Card Club showcases the top eleven Brazil-bound players whose web pages are considered to be risky for fans for online searches. In terms of risk percentage, Ronaldo (3.76%) is followed by Argentinas Lionel Messi (3.72%), Spains Iker Cassillas (3.34%), Brazils Neymar (3.14%) and Algerias Karim Ziani (3 %).
As is common with other cultural sensations, cybercriminals leverage consumer interest in the worlds most popular sport to lure them to websites rigged with malware, malicious code capable of infecting a users machine and stealing passwords and personal information.
McAfee researchers have used McAfee SiteAdvisor site ratings to determine which sites are risky to search when coupled with footballer names and have calculated an overall risk percentage.
Fans run the greatest risk when visiting sites offering screensaver downloads and videos showcasing the extraordinary skills of the players, the study revealed. Searching for the latest Cristiano Ronaldo content yields more than a 3.7% chance of landing on a website that has tested positive for online threats, such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and other malware.
Players make the McAfee Red Card Club by scoring among the top eleven positions in terms of greatest percent chance of web page risk:
Consider the McAfee Red Card Club as our effort to warn consumers against allowing passion to trump digital hygiene, said Paula Greves, Director - Web Security Research, McAfee. Cybercriminals cant resist taking advantage of fever-pitch excitement around this summers epic matchups in Brazil. The danger is that this anticipation could lead fans to download content from pages they shouldnt to fulfill their football experience.