When you’re computer is chock-full of malware of various kinds, you’re either reformatting the whole thing or torching it with a flamethrower.
What you’re not doing is auctioning it off as an art piece, and yet that’s exactly what happened to one laptop in New York.
The laptop in question is a 10-inch Samsung netbook running Windows XP, and it’s part of an art project called ‘The Persistence of Chaos’. It’s a partnership between Chinese internet performance artist Guo O Dong and cybersecurity firm Deep Instinct.
The team just managed to auction off the laptop, which was infected with WannaCry, BlackEnergy, ILOVEYOU, MyDoom, SoBig, and DarkTequila. These are some of the deadliest malwares in recent history that have caused an estimated $100 billion in damages worldwide between them.
The winning bid on the laptop? Around $1.35 million, or Rs 9.4 crore.
Until it was sold, the laptop was kept on a 24-hour livestream so people could see it…. be all malware-y? Any way, at the very least the thing is air-gapped, meaning it’s never been connected to the Internet and has had its ports disabled, so it can’t spread the malware.
Apparently Guo says the project began because he was interested in how we view these virtual weapons with such fear.
“These pieces of software seem so abstract, almost fake with their funny, spooky names, but I think they emphasize that the web and IRL are not different spaces,” Guo said. “Malware is one of the most tangible ways that the internet can jump out of your monitor and bite you.”