Superman is the most likely superhero to inadvertently lure users to be hacked in as little as one click, claims security company McAfee.
The Man of Steel tops the list of “most toxic superheroes” for 2014, closely followed by Marvel’s Thor and DC’s Wonder Woman.
“While searching for your favourite superheroes online might seem innocent at the time, we need to remember that cyber criminals take advantage of their popularity to target unsuspecting consumers seeking more information,” Raj Samani, chief technical officer for McAfee said in a statement. “These criminals want to lure us into unsafe sites that can severely infect computers and devices, and steal personal data.”
McAfee found that searching for “Superman”, “Superman free torrent download”, “Superman watch”, “Superman free app”, or “Superman online” were the most likely superhero searches to land users on a site that could infect their computer with spyware, viruses or other malware, or attempted to steal user data.
Top 10 ‘toxic’ superheroes
- Superman, 16.50%
- Thor, 16.35%
- Wonder Woman + Aquaman (tie) 15.70%
- Wolverine, 15.10%
- Spiderman, 14.70%
- Batman, 14.20%
- Black Widow, 13.85%
- Captain America, 13.50%
- Green Lantern, 11.25%
- Ghost Rider, 10.83%
Superman’s profile was raised by the recent movies, while Thor’s movies and his involvement in the Marvel’s Avengers film made them attractive targets for criminals hoping to capture unsuspecting users. Wonder Woman and Aquaman are the only outliers here.
The super-powered heroine had a TV show in the 1970s and a pilot for a reboot in 2011, which did not lead to a new show. She is expected to appear in the upcoming Batman v Superman film, which is not scheduled for release until 2016, while Wonder Woman might have her own movie at some stage.
Aquaman on the other hand had a TV movie in 2006, and is also expected to make some sort of appearance in the new Superman movie alongside Wonder Woman. Why that makes them targets for cybercriminals is unclear.
No such thing as a free lunch
Users searching for pirated content are frequent targets of online criminals. Superheroes have become big business as Hollywood, games developers and TV producers have taken them in and turned them into multi-million dollar franchises.
The advice to users is simple. Be careful what you click on, check the web address of links before following them and when somewhere offers something that’s usefully expensive for free it’s normally too good to be true.
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