Few best picture Oscar nominees in history have had as divisive a road to nomination as Todd Phillips's Joker. From big wins at international film festivals to becoming the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time to attracting criticism over its perceived message of self-righteous violence, the movie has been at the center of one media storm after another. The latest addition to this trend is Kaspersky's recent press release, which awarded Joker the title of 'The most dangerous film of the year'.

Now, in case you start wondering when Kaspersky, the internet security company, started branching out into film criticism, the danger posed by Joker which is mentioned in their report is actually in regard to the popularity of the film, and the security threat that trend poses to internet users.

Cybercriminals love to jump on the latest pop culture bandwagon and use the guise of popular media items to distribute their malware to users reckless enough to download the items. As the Oscars approach, there is a greater demand among netizens to watch the best picture nominees by downloading them for free. As such, it becomes a simple task for criminals to name a malware file after a nominated picture, and watch eager users download the file and attempt to play it, setting viruses lose on their devices.

Joker has been shown to lead the pack in this regard, with 300+ files created in its name which promise to allow the user to view the film online but propagate malware instead. The second film name to act as bait is the war drama 1917, with The Irishman rounding out the top three places.

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This is one crime that critics can hardly blame on Joker's content. Rather, the online popularity of the movie is just another indication of the massive support it enjoys not just among critics, but also the general populace, a hard feat to manage for most film projects.

Kaspersky's report is unlikely to figure largely in the minds of the team behind Joker, as they prepare for the night of the Oscar ceremony, where the film has been nominated in a whopping 11 categories.

Whether or not the film wins any awards, it has already done enough to qualify Warner Bros.'s gamble on making such an offbeat superhero film a rousing success. There are talks of creating an entire Joker cinematic universe spinoff, and any future Batman property that is adapted to the big screen, like Matt Reeves's upcoming Batman movie, will be expected to follow in the footsteps of The Dark Knight and now Joker in being a film that is a blockbuster and also enjoys critical acclaim. It is a tall order for any project, but one that places the Batman franchise and all its related properties consistently on the cutting edge of the mainstream superhero narrative in popular media. This news comes direct from Kaspersky.

Neeraj Chand