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Cyber criminals like Jessica Biel, using her name as a lure to infect Internet users with viruses and spyware

During 2009, actress Jessica Biel has proven to be the most popular celebrity for criminals to use to help distribute spyware, adware, malware, launch phishing attacks, and viruses against unsuspecting Internet users, McAfee said in an annual report.

The risk is so serious, in fact, that there is a one in five chance of running into a possible security risk each time searching for her name.

Last year, Brad Pitt was the most popular celebrity used by criminals, with a 20% percent risk as well.  Pop singer Beyonce was runner up both in 2008 and 2009, with Pitt's ex-wife, Jennifer Aniston, slotting into third place.

Searching for "Jessica Biel screensavers" poses a security risk as users have a 40 percent chance of downloading a virus, the McAfee research indicates.

"Cybercriminals are star watchers too," McAfee product development VP Jeff Green said in a statement.  "They latch onto popular celebrities to encourage the download of malicious software in disguise."

Celebrities and popular current news events are the most commonly used topics for criminals to use while trying to trick customers.  In 2009, a SARS e-mail worm was distributed, Swine flu spam circulated, and similar trendy tricks were used to deceive Internet users.

As the overall number of phishing attempts reportedly dropped in the first half of 2009, criminals are becoming more sophisticated in their attacks against unsuspecting Internet users.





"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton










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