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Cyberliability Report | October 2017

cyber scare avril lavigne

McAfee’s Most Dangerous Celebrity List

Yes, you read that right. A dangerous celebrity list? McAfee, a leader in threat protection in the software industry for its antivirus, antispam and anti-malware software, released its 2017 list of the most dangerous celebrities, crowning Avril Lavigne with the number one spot.

What’s this all about? McAfee’s research has found that celebrities rank highest in Internet searches that could generate serious risks exposing the searcher to malicious websites. Cybercriminals use whatever fad or trend is the most popular to install their malware which drives the person searching to websites where it’s possible for them to steal personal information and even passwords.

The 2017 List of Most Dangerous Celebrities is:

  1. Avril Lavigne
  2. Bruno Mars
  3. Carly Rae Jepsen
  4. Zayn Malik
  5. Celine Dion
  6. Calvin Harris
  7. Justin Bieber
  8. Diddy
  9. Katy Perry
  10. Beyonce


McAfee reports that “Cybercriminals continue to use the fascination of consumers with celebrity culture to drive unsuspecting users to potentially malicious websites.” The study is now in its 11th year. McAfee Chief Consumer Security Evangelist Gary Davis advises Internet users that “Thinking before clicking goes a long way to stay safe online.”





Beware of Ransomware

Ransomware, also known as “scareware”, is a growing threat potentially affecting every computer user. What exactly is ransomware? It’s a type of malware that can prevent or limit users from accessing their computer system. It does this by either locking the system’s screen or by locking the files until a ransom is paid.

Ransom prices vary and payment is usually requested in bitcoins. However, recently alternative payments such as iTunes and Amazon gift cards have been accepted. But be forewarned, paying the ransom does not guarantee that the user will be given the decryption key or unlock tool that’s required for access to the files being held hostage.

In a recent article on, Quincy Larson, a software engineer and the founder of freeCodeCamp telling ABC News said: “If you are going to be infected by ransomware, it will happen when you get an email or some other form of message that’s asking you to download and run it. And when that file runs, then usually the attacker will encrypt your hard drive or encrypt part of your hard drive so that your computer is still operable and you can continue to use it, but you can’t access all your files.”

Larson told ABC that the best way to prevent ransomware attacks is to make sure every time your operating system or a software asks if it can run a system or security update, that you update it.

Here are four other simple things you can do today to protect yourself.

  1. Update Windows XP or any other older Microsoft operating systems in order to limit your vulnerability. In fact, you should always update all your software. In general, always download the latest version of a software once it becomes available.
  2. Back up your files remotely every day, but only on a hard drive that is not connected to the internet. So long as you back up files on an external hard drive, you won’t lose any information if hit by a ransomware attack.
  3. Never open a suspicious email attachment. And never download an app that you haven’t verified with an actual store. Read reviews before installing programs.
  4. Finally, antivirus programs have the ability to scan files to see if they might contain ransomware. Make use of them before downloading.

Source: and


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More Disclosure Needed From Hacked Companies

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton recently called for hacked companies to offer better disclosure. This statement came on the heels of the Equifax hack. Clayton said that the current level of information coming from companies is inadequate and poses dangers on multiple fronts.

“Companies should be providing better disclosure about their risk profile. Companies should be providing sooner disclosure about intrusions that may affect shareholder investment decisions,” the regulatory chief said during testimony before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. “Across our markets there should be better disclosure as to the cyber-risks we face.”

Equifax, a consumer credit rating company, recently revealed that the credit records of some 143 million individuals were exposed. Disclosure of the incident wasn’t made public for weeks after it was discovered. The company’s CEO, Richard Smith, suddenly retired.


This information is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice.  Should you have any questions or would like to discuss your risk exposure with your company’s cyber liability insurance, please contact the insurance pros at ARCW Insurance.  We are here to help.