Searching online for your favorite superhero should be a safe activity, right? Turns out, it isn’t quite so. According to the latest McAfee’s research, searching for Aquaman, Mr. Fantastic, The Hulk, Wonder Woman and Daredevil will expose you to above 15% chance of landing on a website that has tested positive for online threats such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses or other malware.
How do you recognize a suspicious site or link? Follow these four tips to stay out of trouble without needing your superhero to rescue you. [I guess these apply equally well to photography websites.]
I always mouseover a link and look at the Web address to see if it looks legit (Tip #4). Clues that it’s not a safe link to click on: misspellings, a Web address that is different from the one it purports to be, a numbers only Web address, etc. If in doubt, go to the official Web site and navigate from there instead of clicking on the link. Stay safe!
As for Aquaman, I am partial to Namor the Sub-Mariner myself.
Aquaman Tops McAfee’s 2013 Most Toxic Superheroes List
McAfee today released its first-ever 2013 Most Toxic Superheroes list, with Aquaman coming in at number 1. McAfee researched superheroes to find out which ones 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.
The top 15 villainous superheroes for online surfers this year include the following:
McAfee’s Top 15 Most Toxic Superheroes:
- Aquaman: 18.60%
- Mr. Fantastic: 18.22%
- The Hulk: 17.30%
- Wonder Woman: 16.77%
- Daredevil: 16.70%
- Iron Man: 15.63%
- Superman: 15.21%
- Thor: 15.10%
- Green Lantern: 15.00%
- Cyclops: 14.40%
- Wolverine: 14.27%
- Invisible Woman: 12.40%
- Batman: 12.30%
- Captain America: 11.77%
- Spider-Man: 11.15%
*% indicates chance of landing on a website that has tested positive for online threats such as spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses or other malware.
For more information, check out McAfee’s blog post on the Most Toxic Superheroes (https://blogs.mcafee.com/consumer/toxicsuperhero).
Tips to Stay Protected:
- Be suspicious: If a search turns up a link to free content or too-good-to-be-true offers, be wary.
- Beware: Stay away from content that prompts you to download anything before providing you with content. You may want to opt to watch streaming videos or download content from an established site, such as Netflix, CTV or GlobalTV.
- Free downloads: These are significantly the highest virus-prone search terms. Anyone searching for videos or files to download should be careful to not unleash malware on their computer.
- Double-check the Web address: Look for misspellings or other clues that the site you are going to may not be safe.
Robert Siciliano, McAfee’s Online Security Expert, shares more information about how criminals follow the news and trends to take advantage of enthusiastic fans and tips on how these fans should protect themselves against toxic viruses and malware in “Aquaman, King of the Seven Seas, May Also be King of Threats.” Please let me know if you’re interested in speaking with Robert to learn more about McAfee’s Most Toxic Superheroes list.
Research was conducted during June-July 2013 on the top superheroes with upcoming film releases or films released over the last few years. The study uses McAfee® SiteAdvisor® site ratings, which indicate which sites are risky to search for superhero names on the Web and calculate an overall risk percentage. For example, fans searching for “Green Lantern and free torrent download,” “Green Lantern and watch,” “Green Lantern and free trailer,” etc. are at risk of running into online threats designed to steal personal information. Clicking on these risky sites and downloading files like pictures and videos exposes surfers or consumers to the risk of downloading viruses and malware.
About McAfee SiteAdvisor technology
McAfee SiteAdvisor technology protects users from malicious websites and browser exploits. SiteAdvisor technology tests and rates nearly every trafficked site on the Internet and uses red, yellow and green icons to indicate the website’s risk level.
SiteAdvisor site ratings are created by using patented advanced technology to conduct automated website tests SiteAdvisor software works with Internet Explorer and Firefox.