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Oscar Searches Could Be Poison

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 9, 2010 at 12:19AM

As Oscar-lovers troll the web for info about Sunday night's telecast, beware of poison searches.
Thompson on Hollywood

As Oscar-lovers troll the web for info about Sunday night's telecast, beware of poison searches.

Broad search topics such as "Oscar 2010" and "Academy Award 2010 Nominations" can yield virus infections. According to a Norton Internet Safety Advocate, out of the top 100 search results related to the Oscar nomination announcements, more than 42% contained potentially malicious content. Norton recommends that "movie fans take a common sense approach to combating this criminal activity by keeping vigilant with online security, including maintaining an up-to-date browser and operating system and ensuring antivirus and firewall software is fully current." (Obviously Norton is invested in scaring us into buying their software.)

Now Oscar night brings even more poisoned search results from Google, Ask, Bing and Yahoo, with pop-ups for fake or dangerous anti-virus software. Some search terms to avoid include:

“Oscar 2010 Winners” – 60% infected
“Music By Prudence” – 58% infected
“Kathryn Bigelow height” – 48% infected
“Sandra bullock Meryl Streep kiss” – 43% infected
“elinor burkett prudence” – 58% infected
“watch Oscars online” – 46% infected
“how old is Sandra Bullock” – 40% infected
“Oscar 2010 winners” – 34% infected
“red carpet Oscars 2010” – 13% infected

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.