Spyware! Viruses! Scams! Meet the World's Most Toxic Superhero


You think the Toxic Avenger is bad? The '80s cult film antihero has nothing on DC Comics' Aquaman. According to security software specialist McAfee, the sea king is the superhero most often associated with Internet malware.

Original poster from the 1984 horror comedy The Toxic Avenger. Source: IMDB.

Roughly 18.6% of the time, surfers looking for more information about the character on the Web will find sites that have tested positive for online threats such as spyware, viruses, and the like.

Talk about a tough break. As if Aquaman doesn't already have it bad enough? DC Comics parent Time Warner shot a TV pilot in 2006 starring actor Justin Hartley in the title role. Executives chose not to take it further.

Writer Geoff Johns and artist Ivan Reis tried a different take on Aquaman, when DC rebooted its entire comic book line in 2011. June sales of the "Aquaman" comic book fell 21% year over year, according to data compiled by The Comics Chronicles.

So even if the sea king is dangerous, not enough netizens are interested in his adventures to make him a global threat.

Beware of attacks by The Hulk, Wonder Woman, and others
Other characters with a broader following who also attract malware include Marvel's Mr. Fantastic (18.22%) and The Hulk (17.30%). DC's Wonder Woman (16.77%) and Marvel's Daredevil (16.70%) round out the top five names.

Interestingly, of those five, only one character has enjoyed time on the big screen in the past five years. Mark Ruffalo starred as The Hulk's alter ego, Dr. Bruce Banner, in last year's Marvel's The Avengers and then made a cameo in the closing credits of Iron Man 3. Walt Disney hasn't revealed whether the character will get another chance at a solo film after two relatively unsuccessful attempts in recent years.

For its part, McAfee says the best ways to avoid malware sites are to be suspicious of too-good-to-be-true offers, especially for "free downloads." Also check the Web address before clicking any link. Misspellings or an unusual URL that seems disconnected from the offer or site description might indicate a trap waiting to spring.

Time Warner, meanwhile, heads into this week's San Diego Comic-Con with a big screen hit in Man of Steel and a lot of unanswered questions about what's next for the DC Cinematic Universe. I'll be at the show hunting for answers and related investment ideas, so be sure to return often.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. What do you want to see from DC? Would an Aquaman movie interest you? Leave a comment to let us know what you think.

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The article Spyware! Viruses! Scams! Meet the World's Most Toxic Superhero originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Time Warner and Walt Disney at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home and portfolio holdings, or connect with him on Google+, Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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