Would you buy an infected laptop? More to the point, would you buy one for $1.3m? We guess not, although someone just has…
The Persistence of Chaos, an artwork project, saw a laptop packed with six kinds of dangerous malware. The laptop was then sold in an online auction – and surprisingly there were a lot of takers!
Artist Guo O Dong and cyber-security company Deep Instinct were behind the project. It’s understood that the 11-year-old Samsung notebook was eventually purchased by an anonymous bidder.
That bidder then had 24 hours to provide follow-up information about the payment, following the terms of the auction.
The main question about the Persistence of Chaos: Why?
Well, that’s what everyone has been asking! Artist Guo told Vice that the team came to understand the project ‘as a kind of bestiary, a catalogue of historical threats’.
He added that it was exciting to see ‘the beasts’ in a live environment.
The project has left some cyber-security experts bemused, however. In a BBC report one came up with another way which could ‘save a million dollars’ while doing so.
Their expert said anyone interested in getting the same outcome could connect a laptop to the internet without antivirus software and leave it for a few days. According to him the chances of a ‘similar infestation’ would be as high.
The auction stressed that the laptop had to be purchased with terms and conditions in mind. Above all, it had to be bought as ‘a piece of art or for academic reasons’, given the dangerous viruses on board.
Which six strains of malware are on the laptop?
It’s fair to say that Guo and Deep Instinct have created a deadly malware cocktail here.
The ILOVEYOU virus is perhaps one of the most infamous. Created in 200, it infected a host of institutions including the UK Houses of Parliament.
The WannaCry ransomware, which hit big organisations in 2017, is also on it. The BBC report adds that the NHS faced £92m in costs after it spread through its systems.
The full list is as follows:
- MyDoom – This looked like an error message, but it was really a 2004 Windows email worm which spread rapidly.
- DarkTequila – Created to steal log-in credentials and financial data, this keylogger malware is nasty.
- ILoveYou – as well as the UK Parliament, it attacked 50 million computers in just a fortnight. Other victims included the CIA and the Pentagon.
- Black Energy – Ukraine’s power grid fell foul to this one in 2016.
- WannaCry – The NHS was hit bad by this just a couple of years ago.
- SoBig – Discovered in 2003. One security company told BBC News at the time that one in 17 emails was seen carrying the virus.
Malware is especially risky business. If you want to learn more in order to protect yourself, check out our Ultimate Antivirus Guide.
The sale of malware is restricted in the US. The laptop will only be sent to the successful bidder once all ports and internet capabilities have had their functionality disabled.
Where Cyber Security Meets Art… Why has the world's most dangerous and expensive laptop gone on sale? Do you dare to place a bid? #PersistenceofChaos #CyberSecurity #Malware #DeepLearning https://t.co/DI6buUqByH
— Deep Instinct (@DeepInstinctSec) May 20, 2019
It has also been air-gapped, another security tactic to keep it away from other networks. To learn more about the project click here.
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