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Ronaldo tops Mcafee ‘Red Card Club’ for riskiest online searches for FootBallers


Cristiano Ronaldo removes his Real Madrid soccer jersey in Pasadena, CA.

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According to research from McAfee, part of Intel Security, cybercriminals are most likely to use Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo to lure visitors to web pages designed to infect them with malware. The McAfee “Red Card Club” showcases the top eleven Brazil-bound players whose web pages are considered to be risky for fans to search for online. Following Ronaldo are Argentina’s Lionel Messi, Spain’s Iker Cassillas, Brazil’s Neymar and Algeria’s Karim Ziani.

As is common with other cultural sensations, cybercriminals leverage consumer interest in the world’s most popular sport to lure them to web sites rigged with malware, malicious code capable of infecting a user’s 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.

According to the research, fans run the greatest risk when visiting sites offering screensaver downloads and videos showcasing the extraordinary skills of the players. 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:

[Infographic] McAfee Red Card Club 2014

“We want to caution consumers through the McAfee “Red Card Club” to not to let their guard down as they join in all the excitement surrounding the World Cup online. Be especially wary of videos promising to show your idol’s skills as you might get more than you bargain for,” said David Freer, Vice President, Consumer – APAC at McAfee, part of Intel Security. “Cyber criminals will definitely try to capitalize on ‘World Cup fever’, so it’s wise not to be complacent by downloading content that might put you at risk.”

Tips to Stay Protected

To avoid the summertime blues of becoming infected during the Brazil games and beyond, fans can follow a set of basic tips to protect themselves wherever their love of the game may take them:

  1. Beware of content that prompts you to download anything before providing you the content. Opt to watch streaming videos or download content from official websites of content providers.

  2. “Free downloads” are the highest virus-prone search term. Anyone searching for videos or files to download should be careful to not unleash malware on their computer.

  3. If you do decide to search for information on a major event or celebrity in the news, make sure your entire household’s devices have protection, such as McAfee LiveSafe™ protects all devices including PCs, Macs, tablets and smartphone and it also includes malware detection software, McAfee® Mobile Security, to protect your smartphone or tablet from all types of malware.

  4. Established news sites may not entice you with exclusives for one solid reason: there usually aren’t any. Stick to official news sites that you trust for breaking news. However, trusted sites can also fall prey to hackers. Make sure to use a safe search tool that will notify you of risky sites or links before you visit them. A complimentary version of SiteAdvisor software can be downloaded at

  5. Don’t download videos from suspect sites. Most news clips you’d want to see can easily be found on official video sites, and don’t require you to download anything. If a website offers an exclusive video for you to download, don’t.

  6. Don’t “log in” or provide other information: If you receive a message, text or email or visit a third-party website that asks for your information—credit card, email, home address, Facebook login, or other information—for access to an exclusive story, don’t give it out. Such requests are a common tactic for phishing that could lead to identity theft.

  7. Always use password protection on your phone and other mobile devices. If your phone is lost or stolen, anyone who picks up the device could publish your information online.

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