It’s hard to imagine being afraid of Jay Leno, unless perhaps you’re another late night talk show host, but BitDefender recommends caution. The Romanian Internet security company has updated its list of the celebrities whose names are used to trick people into opening spam and infected emails, and Leno is in the top spot.
The next two in line for this dubious honor are perennial malware favorites Madonna and Cameron Diaz. Some stars have dropped off the list, however, including Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber and Angelina Jolie.
This weird gauge of celebrity status must raise mixed feelings among household names. If a star’s name is used in a subject line for spam email for untrustworthy pharmaceuticals, is that good because it shows the star is that popular, or is it bad because of its association?
“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,” said Catalin Cosoi, head of the BitDefender Online Threats Lab. “As a result, users searching for the latest videos or pictures can instead end up with a host of problems on their computer.”
Additional ways the current most prevalent threats are being spread include fake Google+ invitations and viruses disguised as updates for Microsoft’s Windows.