Ten points for Gryffindor!
"Harry Potter" series female lead Emma Watson is this year's most dangerous celebrity, according to digital security firm McAfee.
That doesn't mean that the English actress who portrayed Hermione Granger is a threat to your well-being. Rather, says McAfee, search-engine queries for her name or image are more likely to lead to malware or other forms of Internet nastiness than queries for any other celebrity.
"In today's celebrity culture, consumers expect to be able to go online to catch up with the latest photos, videos, tweets, and stories about their favorite celebrities," said McAfee director of Web security research Paula Greve in a press release. "Due to the richness of the data and the high interaction, oftentimes consumers forget the risks that they are taking by clicking on the links."
Following Watson was American actress Jessica Biel, fiancée of singer/actor Justin Timberlake and 2009's Most Dangerous Celebrity.
No. 3 was actress Eva Mendes, who, McAfee noted, "is currently in the news for her fling with Ryan Gosling."
Last year's No. 1, German model and reality-show host Heidi Klum, didn't even make this year's top 10.
In its press release, McAfee didn't explain why Klum had fallen out of favor, but it did showcase a variety of embarrassing clichés to mark the fact that at least half of the top 10 were women of Latin American origin.
"Study Finds Women Are More Dangerous Than Men, With Latinas Heating Up The Chart," read the sub-headline to McAfee's press release.
"Latina women have proven that they are on fire and make up five of the top ten spots," it noted later on.
Other than the American-born Mendes, McAfee's, ahem, hot tamales included American singer, actress and Justin Bieber squeeze Selena Gomez (No. 4), Colombian singer Shakira (No. 7), Mexican actress Salma Hayek (No. 9) and Colombian actress Sofia Vergara (No. 10).
American actress Cameron Diaz, at No. 8 (but No. 1 in 2010), didn't make McAfee's list of spicy señoritas, despite her Cuban ancestry — perhaps due to her lack of fiery dark eyes and raven-colored tresses.
Better with age
The over-35 crowd put in a good showing, showing that Internet users may have a thing for mature ladies. In addition to Shakira, 35, Mendes, 38, Diaz and Vergara, both 40, and Hayek, 46, American actress Halle Berry, also 46, placed at No. 5.
In case you're wondering, there were no men at all in the top 10. Former "Transformers" starlet Megan Fox placed at No. 6.
McAfee didn't provide a ranking of Nos. 11-20, but noted that the Top Man, as it were, at No. 13 was late-night talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel, who will be sure to include that information in his monologue.
"Hot movies and TV shows, awards and industry accolades seem to be more of a factor than headline-grabbing activity," Greve said. "Searching for any celebrity can bring up risky sites and the public should use caution by not clicking on any page that looks suspicious."
The top 10 McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrities for 2012, in order:
1. Emma Watson
2. Jessica Biel
3. Eva Mendes
4. Selena Gomez
5. Halle Berry
6. Megan Fox
8. Cameron Diaz
9. Salma Hayek
10. Sofia Vergara
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