Comic actor Simon Pegg left his fans with little to laugh about when his Twitter account - which has around 1.2 million followers - was used to spread a Trojan designed to capture on-line banking login details.
A message was posted to Pegg's Twitter stream on Sunday, reading: "Download the new 'Paul' Screen Saver. After download right click and press test to install." Fans eager for something to celebrate the actor's latest film downloaded the file in their hundreds, but received more than they had bargained for: a nasty piece of malware.
Rather than being a screensaver, the file was a VisualBasic application designed to steal login details for on-line bank sites in order to defraud their owners of hard-earned cash.
Upon discovering the post, Pegg denied responsibility and blamed an unknown third party for the link. "Some **** has hacked my account," he posted to Twitter. "I did not post any Paul screensaver. DO NOT DOWNLOAD IT. Will get back to you."
Following a brief investigation - which, hopefully, included revoking API access to third-party apps and changing the password - Pegg apologised to his fans. "I'm sorry some feckless little ****-weasel piggy backed my account to spred his/her **** arsed computer virus," he spat, "and to the perp, **** you!!"
Once he'd calmed down, Pegg joked: "Apparently the virus CAN infect Apple products. It made my iPad shrink to the size of an iPhone. And vice versa. Wait, false alarm."
Graham Cluley of anti-virus specialist Sophos believes that this latest in a long stream of celebrity Twitter hacks should come as a wake-up call to the site's many users. "Clearly, it is a timely warning to all Internet users to think long and hard before running or installing any unknown content on their computers," advised Cluley.
"It's no laughing matter, of course, for Simon Pegg's Twitter followers," he added, "any of whom could have been putting their computer at risk if they downloaded and ran a malicious file."