Infosec prophet Bruce Schneier (peace be upon him) is only as famous as half of Salt-N-Pepa

Totally sane John McAfee up there with Walder Frey, says cybersecurity celeb list

Despite billing himself as "the world's most famous hacker", Kevin Mitnick isn't the infosec personality your grandma is most interested in learning more about.

That honour falls to Robert Herjavec, who is the most searched-for person on Google with an infosec connection, according to a list compiled by threat intel firm Redscan.

Canadian entrepreneur Herjavec formed the eponymous firm in 2003, building it into a multimillion-dollar security integration and reseller business. However, he's also a regular feature on the Canadian version of Dragons' Den, meaning his telly antics are much more likely to be of interest to the great unwashed than his company.

Behind Herjavec in the second most-Googled spot is John "Totally Sane" McAfee, last seen moving from tinfoil safe house to tinfoil safe house having been told by an American court to pay $25m to the family of his murdered next-door neighbour. McAfee denies involvement in Gregory Faull's death, despite having fled his Belize home in the immediate aftermath.

Compared to non-industry folk, computer security's fame is rather residual. Ranking alongside McAfee's Google search popularity is actor David Bradley, famous for playing a mumbling farmer with a barn full of weapons and explosives in British cult classic Hot Fuzz and also for appearing a few times in some American sitcom about a metal chair. Meanwhile, rivalling infosec's top man Herjavec is actor and lawyer Ben Stein, known among film buffs as the boring teacher who says "Bueller? Bueller?" (and not a lot else) in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

Eventually making an appearance at number three is Mitnick, who continues to trade to this day on his FBI most-wanted status from 2000.

Numbers four and five on Redscan's list are Bruce Schneier and Troy Hunt respectively, who rank alongside Sandra Denton (Pepa from 1980s hip-hop duo Salt-N-Pepa) and English footballer Lucy Bronze, who plays for French club Olympique Lyonnais.

Aside from personalities, Redscan also took a look at other infosec-related search terms using Google Trends to compare relative popularity over time. While their list of antivirus and enterprise security companies holds no surprises, they also looked at the most-Googled hacking crews. Despite having been out of business for nearly a decade LulzSec is still up there in third, behind Anonymous and Lizard Squad.

As for the most searched-for hacks [None of us made it – Ed], the Equifax breach of 2017 is number one among the last 10 years' worth of Googled breaches. 2018's top was the Marriott Starwood reservation data breach, with 2017 also featuring Equifax and 2016 being the year of the Yahoo! hack.

"Cyber security has changed remarkably over the last 15 years and Google's search data is a great measure of this," said Andy Kays, a technical director at Redscan. "This is underscored by the rising interest in online privacy and the fallout and damage caused by the Equifax data breach, the most Googled cyber breach ever."

Indeed it has. While extrapolating from Google Trends (which never puts raw numbers on compared searches, only returning wiggly lines) is a risky business at the best of times, it probably says something deep and insightful that public awareness of infosec's more knowledgeable people ranks alongside female footballers and bit-part actors.

Keep fighting the good fight, folks. We know who you are – even if Auntie Mabel doesn't. ®

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