Brad Pitt, Paris Hilton

Scott Kirkland/INFphoto.com; Chris Polk / Getty Images

Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Amy Winehouse are old news. At least to spammers, phishers and other online villains, who have attached their hopes—and pop-up ads—to Brad Pitt, Heidi Montag and George Clooney.

Pitt, Montag and Clooney are among the stars currently most used by cyber tricksters to lure users to sites rife with spyware, viruses and other system-clogging junk, according to the Internet security company McAfee.

Spears, Hilton and Winehouse are among the stars who used to be hot and now are not.

"We know in general that the bad guys are going for the most popular celebrities," says McAfee research analyst Shane Keats. "And we know Paris Hilton has not been as much in the news this year as last year."

Hilton was 2007's so-called "most dangerous celebrity in cyberspace," per McAfee. This year, per the results of the latest study released today, the reformed jail inmate isn't even in the Top 15.

Spears, who of late has been making more headlines for her career than revealing paparazzi shots, also dropped out of sight, falling all the way from No. 4.

The same went for Winehouse, last year's No. 2, who took the tumble despite her best efforts to stay in the news by winning a batch of Grammys, but mostly by landing in and out of (and in and out) rehab.

Pitt, a fairly consistently famous sort, skyrocketed to No. 1 in a year marked by babies and a new movie, the Coen brothers' Burn After Reading.

Pitt's partner on the babies front, Angelina Jolie, could do no better on the new McAfee list than No. 11, despite: (a) actually giving birth to the couple's new twins; and (b) starring in a bigger-grossing film, Wanted.

Blame the cyber crooks for the rankings. 

On average, an Internet user stood an 18 percent—or, almost one in five—chance of picking up something bad when searching for Pitt pictures, screensavers and more, McAfee said. Sites offering Jolie downloads were still risky, but a little less so—posing a threat 14.3 percent of the time.

After Pitt, McAfee's updated "dangerous" stars list looked like this: Beyoncé; Justin Timberlake; Montag; Mariah Carey; Jessica Alba; Lindsay Lohan; Cameron Diaz; George Clooney and Rihanna, both tied for ninth place; Jolie; Fergie; David Beckham (but not Victoria Beckham) and Katie Holmes (but not Tom Cruise), both tied for 13th place; and Katherine Heigl.

Among the Beyoncé search results, ringtones were particularly dicey. For Timberlake, it was music downloads; for Montag, wallpaper.

"The message is not to not search for celebrities, not to search for screensavers and ringtones," Keats says. "The message is if you want to show your love of your favorite actor or singer keep on the safe, well-lighted part of the Internet."

Or maybe search for someone who's not quite as white-hot famous as she used to be.

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