With San Diego Comic-Con just a week away, McAfee—that sovereign of tech security—is once again making the most of this free publicity moment the release of its annual Top 10 Most Toxic Superheros.
Superman will not be pleased.
This year, the Man of Steel tops McAfee’s annual list of comic book crime fighters most likely to crap up your computer via bad links that lead to “viruses, malware and and sites laden with malicious software designed to steal passwords and personal information.”
Here’s the rest of the list, along with the percentage “which indicates chance of landing on a website that has tested positive for online threats such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses or other malware.”
McAfee’s Top 10 Most Toxic Superheroes
1. Superman, 16.50%
2. Thor, 16.35%
3. Wonder Woman + Aquaman (tie) 15.70%
4. Wolverine, 15.10%
5. Spiderman, 14.70%
6. Batman, 14.20%
7. Black Widow, 13.85%
8. Captain America, 13.50%
9. Green Lantern, 11.25%
10. Ghost Rider, 10.83%*
*Ghost Rider, really more of an anti-hero, but whatever.
If you’re wondering “whither Arm Fall Off Boy?” keep in mind that each year, McAfee searches for superheros with movie deals made over the past few years or with something coming up. Aquaman, which came in at No. 1 last year, remains in development limbo for both TV and the movies, but DC Comics may be interested to know that enough people are searching for the man from Atlantis that bad guys use him to hook vulnerable Web searches. (The ill-fated Edgar Wright joint “Ant-Man” is notably missing, but for many, that’s still too painful to discuss.)
As anybody whose ever regretted clicking on some suspicious news about Justin Bieber has experienced, Internet baddies use what’s popular in the news and on the Internet to lay their viruses, often on links that seem too good to be true. So be extra suspicious, McAfee warns, of links leading to “Superman and free torrent download,” “Superman and watch,” “Superman and free app.”
More or less, McAfee is basically pointing out that nothing on the Internet is sacred and that the spread of malware can come in any form, anywhere. Even in the form of the Caped Crusader.
Meanwhile, innocent Internet searchers are the only ones who best beware. Superman is the do-gooder of the masses. Black hat hackers, spammers and malvertisers exploiting his name to lure unsuspecting Americans (and foreigners, whatever) to infected sites would put him in major superhero mode. The super hero also known as Clark Kent would crush evil nerd skulls.
Lead image courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures