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27 Jun 2019 2:09
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  •   Home > News > International

    Laptop infected with six of the most destructive viruses sells for $1.9 million

    An 11-year-old computer loaded with six of the most destructive viruses ever created fetches an astronomical figure in an online auction.


    A second-hand laptop loaded with six of the most destructive viruses ever created has sold for almost $2 million at auction.

    The 2008 model Samsung was infected by artist Guo O Dong for a work called The Persistence of Chaos.

    The six pieces of malware (BlackEnergy, DarkTequila, ILOVEYOU, MyDoom, SoBig and WannaCry) have caused almost $100 billion in damage across the globe, according to Guo.

    To prevent the nasties being set free by their new mystery owner, the computer's internet connectivity and ports were disabled.

    The malware itself is not rare or valuable.

    "By submitting a bid you agree and acknowledge that you're purchasing this work as a piece of art or for academic reasons, and have no intention of disseminating any malware," Guo said in the terms of the auction.

    Before the sale, a viewing of the laptop, which sold for $1.9m, was livestreamed from New York.

    The Persistence of Chaos was created as a collaboration between the artist and cybersecurity company Deep Instinct, which provided the malware and technical expertise.

    Guo, a contemporary artist whose work critiques online culture, said the work was a representation of the real-world harm that could be caused by malware.

    "We have this fantasy that things that happen in computers can't actually affect us, but this is absurd," Guo told The Verge.

    "Weaponised viruses that affect power grids or public infrastructure can cause direct harm."

    He said the WannaCry attack on the UK's National Health Service was an example of the impact viruses could have on the offline world.

    "[WannaCry caused] the equivalent of $US100 million in damages and led to the cancellation of tens of thousands of doctors' appointments," he said.

    "It is not a leap to say this caused significant human harm."


    ABC




    © 2019 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved


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