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The hottest celebrity ... viruses?
Software company says Britney Spears is No. 1 name used by hackers to spread computer viruses.
June 20, 2005: 3:44 PM EDT
Britney Spears tops the list of celebrities whose names have been used as part of computer virus attacks.
Britney Spears tops the list of celebrities whose names have been used as part of computer virus attacks.

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - While Britney Spears' pregnancy may be popular with celebrity news junkies, her time in the public eye is also making it a whole lot easier to spread computer viruses.

According to a computer software maker, Spears tops the list of famous people whose names are used in mass e-mail messages to entice readers to download damaging viruses.

A typical scenario would involve a spam e-mail that either contains the virus program as an attachment or includes a link to a Web site that can infect the reader's computer with a Trojan-type virus.

Panda Software, which published the rankings, notes that creators of these viruses often use attractive female celebrities such as Spears, Jennifer Lopez or Paris Hilton or globally known figures such as Bill Gates, who took second place in the rankings. Phony news events surrounding such polarizing individuals as Osama Bin Laden can also lure a reader to click on the virus link.

One of the more recent instances of this mass virus messaging occurred when an e-mail surfaced indicating that Michael Jackson had attempted suicide before a California jury announced his acquittal on child molestation charges on Monday. In that instance, four different types of viruses were sent out through spam e-mails.

In order to prevent falling victim to these attacks, Panda Software recommends keeping your anti-virus software updated.

As for the people who made the top ten, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira took third and fourth place respectively, Osama Bin Laden and Michael Jackson came in at fifth and sixth, while Bill Clinton, Anna Kournikova, Paris Hilton and Pamela Anderson rounded out the list.

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