Being nominated for a Grammy doesn’t not raise your Q-rating; it also, apparently, increases the likelihood that cybercriminals will appropriate your name or song tracks to trick targets into opening malicious files.
Researchers at Kaspersky looked at 14 musical artists who were nominated this year for a major Grammy award and determined that in 2019 there was a 39 percent year-over-year jump in attempts to download or execute malicious files disguised as content related to these 14 talented individuals.
In a press release today, Kaspersky said it uncovered 30,982 unique malicious files that invoked the following 14 artists’ names or song titles: Ariana Grande, “7 Rings”; Billie Eilish, “Bad Guy”; Bon Iver, “Hey ma”; H.E.R., “Hard Place”; KHALID, “Talk”; Lady Gaga, “Always Remember Us This Way”; Lana Del Rey, “Norman F*cking Rockwell”; Lewis Capaldi, “Someone You Loved”; LIL NAS X, “Old Town Road”; Lizzo, “Truth Hurts”; and Post Malone and SwaeLee, “Sunflower”.
Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and
Post Malone – in that order – were the three artists whose names were most
commonly used by malicious files in 2019. Collectively, the three performers
claimed roughly 55 percent of the detected files. However, for Swift and Grande
this still represented a decrease in malware borrowing their names, when
compared to 2018.
The artist that saw the biggest increase in year-over-year
malware activity was actually Billie Eilish, who last Sunday swept the four
major Grammy categories – Best New Artist, Best Song, Best Record and Best
Album. The number of unique, malicious files that Kaspersky observed with the teenage
sensation’s name jumped from 221 in 2018 to 1,556. And the number of users monitored
by Kaspersky who downloaded such malicious file climbed from 254 to 2,171.
Kaspersky also found that “Sunflower,” “Talk” and “Old
Town Road” were the song titles that were most often leveraged in malware
attacks in 2019.
“Cybercriminals understand what is popular and always
strive to capitalize on that,” said Anton Ivanov, Kaspersky security analyst,
in the release. “Music, alongside TV shows, is one of the most popular types of
entertainment and, as a result, an attractive means to spread malware, which
criminals readily use. However, as we see more and more users subscribe to
streaming platforms, which do not require file download in order to listen to
music, we expect that malicious activity related to this type of content will