[25 July 2014]
As a writer living in two worlds, one a world of contemporary technology, the other, a world of hard science fiction speculation with an occasional hint of fantasy, I always enjoy coming across real world data that illustrates just how thin the boundaries are between these world.
Ahead of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, McAfee, one of the leaders in online security, has released their list of 2014’s Most Toxic Superheroes. They state in their press release that “this research is based on which superheroes are kryptonite on the web and result in bad links, including viruses, malware and sites laden with malicious software designed to steal passwords and personal information.”
McAfee’s Top 10 Most Toxic Superheroes:
1. Superman, 16.50%
2. Thor, 16.35%
3. Wonder Woman + Aquaman (tie) 15.70%
5. Wolverine, 15.10%
6. Spiderman, 14.70%
7. Batman, 14.20%
8. Black Widow, 13.85%
9. Captain America, 13.50%
10. Green Lantern, 11.25%
11. Ghost Rider, 10.83%
This year two female superheroes – Wonder Woman and Black Widow – leaped into the top 10, while last year’s number 1 most toxic superhero, Aquaman, has sunken to the number 3 spot to tie with Wonder Woman. I do have to ask, how Aquaman ever made it to number 1, but that is a post for another day.
If you want to avoid a hack job on your computer from the ranks of supervillians or just some guy in Russia or China (or your own government of distrust and illicit data gathering) then you should head the following warnings:
Be suspicious: If Bing or Google (or even worse, Reddit) serves up something too good to be true (like a date with Felcia Day) then be afraid, be very afraid.
Beware: If your Internet transporter of geek goodness requests that you download a few bits before the next few bits will work, don’t accept the offer because it’s probably some digital DNA hack that will turn your computer into a spam toaster. For safety, stick to Hulu, Netflix, NBC, SyFy or other legit sources of content.
Free downloads results in the highest virus-prone search results. Searching for a free version of Thor may unleash a Loki-driven plague of malware (not to mention discontent) on your computer. You probably don’t have to worry about Free Comic Book Day though.
Double-check the web address: If the domain or major parts of the URL reaching out to you look like tattoos written on the skin of Dominion’s Chosen One, then you are probably reaching into an alternative universe that will reach back with some serious malware or virus mojo prepared to eat your homework and maybe even your lunch.