In the shadowy world of cybercrime, there seems to be a rather unexpected love affair blossoming, one that intertwines the allure of celebrities with the dark intentions of hackers.
But before jumping to conclusions, let’s clarify – this isn’t about romantic escapades. Instead, it’s about a fascinating trend where celebrities become unwitting accomplices in cyber scams.
Findings from the latest Hacker Celebrity Hot List by MacAfee reveal that there’s a select group of celebrities whose names and images are being favored by hackers to lure unsuspecting victims. It appears that not all celebrities are equal in the eyes of these cybercriminals; some, indeed, are more preferred than others.
Topping this year’s list is none other than Ryan Gosling, the heartthrob and male lead from this year’s release, “Barbie”.
In this fascinating intersection of cybercriminals and celebrity culture, we will delve into the dangers associated with searching for these popular figures online.
The hackers behind these cyber escapades are after two primary objectives: using information to commit identity fraud and for theft such as pilfering of personal details, spyware that steals your information and ransomware holding your files hostage. They cleverly match celebrity names with deceptive labels such as “audio book”, “lyrics”, “deep fake”, “free ring tone” and “free movie”.
According to the most recent “Hacker Celebrity Hot List,” top-tier actors like Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie, known for their roles in Barbie, as well as actors from Oppenheimer, are among the top ten celebrities whose names are being exploited by cybercriminals. These actors’ names are used as bait in keywords to trick individuals into downloading malicious software.
How does this work?
Cybercriminals are hosting websites that provide pirated versions of popular movies. When users visit these sites and try to download the movie, they install malicious software into the users’ system.
The user being unaware of any malware being installed on their system happily downloads the movie and leaves. And from here, starts the evil saga of scams, data theft, and whatnot.
Top Ten Celebs on the Latest Hacker Celebrity Hot List
Hackers prefer to use celebrities in drawing unsuspecting victims into traps but there are five people who take prime position in those baits.
The charts for hacker celebrity hot list of the year, 2023, see these celebrities at its center repeatedly. Let’s take a closer look at this elite group:
- Ryan Gosling, Male Lead (Barbie)
- Emily Blunt, Female Lead (Oppenheimer)
- Jennifer Lopez, pop icon, singer
- Zendaya, actress and singer
- Kevin Costner, Male Lead (Yellowstone)
- Elon Musk, tech entrepreneur
- Al Roker, author, and journalist
- Margot Robbie, (Female Lead) Barbie
- Bad Bunny, singer, Spotify’s most streamed artist of the year
- America Ferrera, supporting actor (Barbie)
The Computer security company has been releasing the Hacker Celebrity Hot List for 15 years now. It depicts what celebrity names are used are targeted keywords by the scammers to enter into innocent internet users systems.
“People are putting speed and convenience over their own online protection by clicking on pop-ups and other suspicious links that promise celebrity-filled content,” said Steve Grobman, CTO at McAfee while talking about the latest Hacker Celebrity Hot List.
“We also know people are seeking out free content, such as movie downloads, which puts them at risk. If it sounds too good to be true, it deserves a closer look,” he added.
Internet users can protect themselves against evil cybercriminals. They have listed four crucial guidelines for internet users:
1. Be careful of what you click on
2. Don’t click on suspicious MP3 files
3. Download videos and data only from trusted sources
4. Don’t login or provide personal information frequently
This information is based on the latest Hacker Celebrity Hot List research to determine the amount of malicious sites generated on different celebrity names. The analysis was carried out with a focus on web browsers such as Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Edge to determine these findings.
Media Disclaimer: This report is based on internal and external research obtained through various means. The information provided is for reference purposes only, and users bear full responsibility for their reliance on it. The Cyber Express assumes no liability for the accuracy or consequences of using this information.