And the phishing Oscar goes to...
Cybercriminals are constantly evolving their tactics to exploit the latest trends and technologies. One way they do this is by using the names of popular celebrities to create phishing scams and other malicious content.
McAfee, the global leader in cybersecurity, has been tracking this trend for years and recently released its 2023 Hacker Celebrity Hot List.
See McAfee's tweet/xeet about this year's McAfee Celebrity Hot List below.
? Drumroll please ?
The celeb who tops the McAfee 2023 Hacker Celebrity Hotlist is... Ryan Gosling! ?
— McAfee (@McAfee) October 26, 2023
What is McAfee Celebrity Hot List?
The McAfee Celebrity Hot List is an annual list of celebrities whose names are most frequently used by scammers to create malware or risky sites.
McAfee Labs creates the list by identifying the big-name celebrities who most frequently generate unsafe search results that could lead consumers to unknowingly install malware and jeopardize their data, privacy, and identity.
McAfee Celebrity Hot List 2023
McAfee's 2023 Hacker Celebrity Hot List is topped by Canadian actor Ryan Gosling. Other celebrities on the list include Emily Blunt, Elon Musk, and Bad Bunny.
McAfee noted that Gosling's high profile this year, thanks to the release of the hit movie "Barbie," is likely why he ranked so highly on the list.
The top ten celebrities in McAfee Celebrity Hot List 2023 are as follows:
- Ryan Gosling
- Emily Blunt
- Jeniffer Lopez
- Kevin Costner
- Elon Musk
- Al Roker
- Margot Robbie
- Bad Bunny
- America Ferrera
AI-driven trends are on the scope of threat actors
In addition to using the names of popular celebrities, cybercriminals are also increasingly using artificial intelligence (AI) to create more sophisticated scams.
For example, they are using AI to generate deepfake videos of celebrities endorsing products or services. These videos can be very convincing and can easily deceive consumers.
Elon Musk was targeted by one such event. TikTok has seen a surge in fake cryptocurrency giveaways lately, especially those pretending to be connected to Elon Musk, Tesla, or SpaceX. These scams entice users with promises of quick and effortless cryptocurrency gains, posing a persistent threat.
Scammers create websites that mimic legitimate cryptocurrency exchanges or giveaway platforms, luring users with the prospect of free cryptocurrency rewards. However, these scams are elaborate traps that steal deposited cryptocurrency, leaving victims empty-handed.
To protect yourself from scams involving famous people, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Be careful with messages: If you receive an email, text, or social media message that claims to be from a celebrity, be cautious. Sometimes, scammers make fake accounts to trick people
- Don't click suspicious links: Avoid clicking on links in emails or messages from so-called celebrities, even if they seem real. Instead, go to the celebrity's official website or social media to make sure the message is genuine
- Think before you download: When so-called celebrities promote files or apps, be careful. Some of them might contain harmful software. It's a good idea to be cautious and check if they're safe before downloading