There are many late nights when I sit in the Bach Seat after a long day of coordinating shared technical services and need some silliness. Jay Leno was my late-night source of silliness until BitDefender told me he is the Most Dangerous Celebrity in Cyberspace.
According to an analysis of 25 million spam messages by the Bucharest, Romania based anti-malware firm, comedian and TV host Jay Leno is the most dangerous Hollywood celebrity in cyberspace. BitDefender found Mr. Leno mentioned in the subject line of 38,000 spam messages most of which focused around medicine and the purchasing of pills but come with enticing subjects such as ‘Jay Leno found taking drugs.’
“Cyber criminals follow the latest trends just as consumers do and they use these and the names of popular celebrities in their campaigns in order to lure people to websites that are full of malicious software (malware),” said Catalin Cosoi, Head of the BitDefender Online Threats Lab.
After Mr. Leno, the article at InfosSec Island says that cyber criminals next most often used Madonna and Cameron Diaz to spread spam. (I wrote Cameron Diaz’s reign and the McAfee “Most Dangerous Celebrity on the Web” here). The rest of the top 10 personalities used by spammers include:
Other notables on the list are:
Notable for their absence from the list are:
The use of celebrities to promote malware and spam is deeply rooted in social networking and Web 2.0. In 2009, Barracuda Networks identified a ‘Twitter crimewave’ on Twitter after popular celebrities joined the service to tweet to fans. Criminals followed the celebrities to the new service sensing a new population of easy-to-fool users, using a range of techniques including impersonation and simple link spamming to draw people to malware-infested websites. Facebook still has a major problem with celebrity abuse.
This may seem trivial because most firms have set up gateways to filter these spam-mails from hapless users in boxes. However, there are enough users that ignore the warnings and open spam-mails to make spamming on a vast scale worthwhile to the spammers.
What do you think?