FILE PHOTO: 62nd Grammy Awards – Photo Room – Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 26, 2020 - Billie Eilish poses backstage with her awards
FILE PHOTO: 62nd Grammy Awards – Photo Room – Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 26, 2020 - Billie Eilish poses backstage with her awards

Watch out for malware disguised as Billie Eilish

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Jan 31, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - About 15000 users have been attacked by malware disguised as Billie Eilish in South Africa, according to Kaspersky, a global cyber-security company. 

It said the connection between the rise in her popularity and malicious activity is much evident in the case of newer artists such as Billie Eilish. 

“The teenage singer became hugely popular in 2019, and the number of users who downloaded malicious files with her name has risen almost tenfold compared to 2018 - from 254 to 2171, the number of unique distributed malicious files - from 221 to 1556.” 

It said for instance, while the number of users attacked by malware disguised as Billie Eilish songs in South Africa accounted for only 205 in 2018, 2019 saw this number increase to 15354. 

Overall, South Africa saw 90 of such malicious files distributed in this region in 2019, with 184005 attacks. It also found that there was a 55percent increase in cyber criminals abusing the names of artists and songs nominated for a Grammy 2020 award to spread malware. 

Analysis showed that the names of Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift and Post Malone were used most, with 55percent of detected malicious files named after them, it said. 

Kaspersky researchers analysed Grammy 2020 nominated artists’ names and song titles for malware and found 30982 malicious files that used the names of artists or their tracks to spread malware, with 41096 Kaspersky product users having encountered them. 

Anton Ivanov, Kaspersky security analyst, said: “Cyber criminals understand what is popular and always strive to capitalise on that”.

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