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Googling Canadian Musicians Can Cause You Some Serious Cyber Problems

That Shawn Mendes is totally trouble.

09/19/2017 16:55 EDT | Updated 09/19/2017 16:55 EDT
Chris Wattie / Reuters
Shawn Mendes holds his award for Artist of the Year backstage at the 2017 Juno Awards in Ottawa on April 2, 2017.

With free music so readily available online, many people turn to the internet to find tunes by their favourite artists.

This can, however, have mixed results and open people up to having viruses and other malicious programs invade their computers.

Cybersecurity company McAfee just released their rankings for 2017's "Most Dangerous Celebrities" and it seems that Canadians are making waves both in our own country and globally.

The list is comprised of celebrities whose names are likely to link to unsafe websites when typed into search engines.

In Canada, golden boy Shawn Mendes topped the list.

Getty Images for MTV
Shawn Mendes performs onstage during the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on Aug. 27, 2017.

Mendes, only 19, rose to fame after covering songs on the social media platform Vine. He's released two number one albums and his songs "Stitches" and "There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back" both received massive amounts of radioplay. 14.08 per cent of search engine results for Mendes link to malicious websites.

He knocked Justin Bieber out of the top spot where he'd been ranked in 2016 down to second place. Bieber was followed by Avril Lavigne.

McAfee
Canada's 2017 Most Dangerous Celebrities by McAfee.

In the U.S., Lavigne actually nabbed the number one position with 14.51 per cent of her results linking to dangerous sites. She was followed by Bruno Mars, and another Canadian — Carly Rae Jepsen.

With her top spot, Lavigne becomes the first female musician to top McAfee's list. A company blog post about the study speculated that a bizarre internet conspiracy theory about Lavigne having died and been replaced with a lookalike to be partially responsible for her high position.

This year's list was also exclusively musicians, instead of also including actors and other public figures, which is uncommon, according to the press release.

Steve Marcus / Reuters
Avril Lavigne performs on the Village stage during the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas on Sept. 21, 2013.

The company gathered the data by looking at the number of risky website generated when various celebrities were searched on Google, Bing and Yahoo's search engines. Canadian data was generated with .ca domains while U.S. data relied on .com results.

McAfee also generated searches with the celebrity's name and other popular terms like "name + free mp3" or "name + free torrent." They divided the number of total results by the number of malicious websites to get the percentages used to rank the artists.

McAfee recommended users be more cautious about what they're clicking on, especially when searching for free music.

They also helpfully created this Spotify playlist of all of Canada's top searched artists.

Happy listening!

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