Would you pay a million dollars for a laptop infected with the worst malware? Probably not, but there's a whole market for this kind of art, and that's exactly what a technological/artistic project is demonstrating right now.
The work is titled "The Persistance Of Chaos". The official page of the project can be visited at this link. But what is it?
Specifically, a laptop was infected with six of the most famous and harmful strains of malware, including WannaCry and ILoveYou, and then auctioned off as an art project in the US. During the auction, the computer was kept isolated to prevent any contagion. Once the auction is over and a winner is announced, the device's network connection will be interrupted, and all ports with connection capability will be disabled before it is sent to its new owner.
The authors of the work are the artists Guo O Dong and the American computer security company company Deep Instinct.
According to our sources, the last verified amount of the auction was $1.1 million. Part of the conditions for the auction is that the laptop be acquired as a "as a piece of art or for academic reasons", since in the US it is illegal to sell malicious programs.
And what are the malwares in question?
- WannaCry: a ransomware that infected the British National Health Service in 2017
- ILoveYou: a program propagated in 2009, it infected 50 million computers in two weeks, including some from the CIA and the Pentagon
- MyDoom: a fast spreading email worm in 2004, which simulated an error message
- SoBig: when it was discovered in 2003, a security company revealed to our source that one out of every 17 emails checked carried the virus
- DarkTequila: a keylogger designed to steal financial and login data
- BlackEnergy: malware used to attack Ukraine's power infrastructure in 2016
These are some of the most damaging programs in recent history. Taken together, they have caused damage and loss totaling $95 billion. According to the artist, Guo O Dong, the project is "a kind of bestiary, a catalogue of historical threats".
What do you think of this art? Do you think it's, as they claim, the most dangerous laptop in the world? Some kind of Pandora's box or time capsule in 2019? Leave us your comments!