Feeds

VXers love Britney Spears - official

Jacko lags bin Laden in celebrity virus chart

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Spanish anti-virus firm Panda Software has produced a ranking of the famous people most often used to spread viruses on the internet. The listing follows the recent distribution of a Trojan horse malware using spam messages posing as information about a supposed suicide attempt by Michael Jackson.

Exploiting society's fascination with celebrity to trick punters into running malware is a common ruse. Celebrity malware is spread either in viruses attached to infected emails or (increasingly commonly) loaded onto maliciously constructed websites promoted using spam messages. Both these types of attack invariably only target Windows PCs leaving Mac and Linux users untouched. Serious security commentators, such as VMyths, argue that focusing on the use of celebrities is nonsense that has nothing to do with information security.

They're right, of course, but it's still interesting to find out that Britney Spears tops PandaLabs's celebrity virus ranking, as the involuntary protagonist of the numerous virus attacks over the years. Bill Gates comes in as runner-up behind the toxic songstress. Fifth in the list is terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden, the frequent subject of malware spreading emails claiming that he has either been hung or captured. Other famous people who have been used in this context include Anna Kournikova, the subject of infamous Kournikova worm, Bill Clinton, Pamela Anderson, and even Alberto Fujimori, the ex-president of Peru. Places in the list are determined by the number of items of malware featuring a celebrity subject.

PandaLab's celebrity virus ranking:

  1. Britney Spears
  2. Bill Gates
  3. Jennifer Lopez
  4. Shakira
  5. Osama Bin Laden
  6. Michael Jackson
  7. Bill Clinton
  8. Anna Kournikova
  9. Paris Hilton
  10. Pamela Anderson

®

Related stories

Bogus Jackson suicide bid claim used to spread malware
Trojan poses as Osama capture pics
The return of the celebrity virus
Bill Clinton virus proves user security sucks
Britney Spears virus fails to chart

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.