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Aquaman may have been the most toxic superhero in 2013, but this year McAfee has decreed that Superman is kryptonite.
Hold your jokes about Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel or the New 52 costume redesign. We’re talking about the software-security company’s second annual study of which online superhero searches result in the most bad links (such as to viruses, malware and websites containing malicious software used to steal passwords and personal information).
Superman soared to the top of the list from No. 7 last year, undoubtedly buoyed by the release last summer of Man of Steel and by the interest in Warner Bros.’ follow-up Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. As McAfee’s Robert Siciliano explains, “Cybercriminals know that search engines (like Google, Yahoo! and Bing) can also be used for criminal means. Therefore, they use popular search terms to draw victims in like celebrity gossip, holidays, viral hits, and … you guessed it … superheroes.”
The company’s study determined that people who searched for “Superman,” “Superman and free torrent download,” “Superman and watch,” “Superman and free app” and “Superman and online” have a 16.5 percent chance of ending up on a website that tested positive for online threats.
Aquaman, whose perch atop the 2013 is still puzzling, slipped to No. 3, alongside Wonder Woman. Mr. Fantastic, Daredevil, Iron Man and Cyclops, who appeared on last year’s list, failed to make the cut this time around. However, Black Widow and Ghost Rider are new.
Here’s the 2014 list: