Computer running 6 historically dangerous malware programs up for auction as performance art

A laptop running six historically infamous malware programs that collectively caused billions in damages is currently up for auction online, reportedly as part of a performance art installation. And as of Thursday afternoon, the bidding had climbed to over $615,000.

Called "The Persistence of Chaos," this highly virulent work of art is currently located somewhere in New York City, and consists of an airgapped 2008 Samsung NC10-14GB 10.2-Inch Blue Netbook running on Windows XP SP3. More noteworthy, however, are the six malware programs running on it: ILOVEYOU, MyDoom, SoBig, WannaCry, DarkTequila and BlackEnergy. The first three programs are fast-spreading worms from the early-to-mid 2000s, while the remaining three are respectively identified as wormable ransomware, a banking trojan targeting Mexicans and a malware used to attack Ukraine power providers.

The auction website claims that the six malware programs have caused a total of roughly $95 billion in damages over the years.

The multiple malware mashup is a collaboration between performance artist Guo o Dong and cybersecurity company Deep Instinct, according to a May 15 Forbes article. Because the sale of malware for operational purposes is illegal in the U.S., the official auction site notes that the buyer must agree to purchase the machine as a piece or art or for academic reasons, with no intentions of spreading malware. As an extra layer of protection against dissemination, the computer's internet capabilities and ports will be functionally disabled before it is shipped to the winning bidder.

Bradley Barth

As director of multimedia content strategy at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for online conferences, webcasts, podcasts video/multimedia projects — often serving as moderator or host. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

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