On a normal day, anyone trying to sell a laptop filled with viruses would be considered out of their mind.
However, in the world of art, a laptop filled with malware and virus is considered to be worth US$1.3 million (S$1.8 million).
And I kid you not.
Chinese artist Guo O Dong ingeniously took a basic Samsung laptop, a 2007 10-inch Netbook which runs on Windows XP, and put in 6 dangerous viruses (ILOVEYOU, Sobigm MyDoom, DarkTequilla, BlackEnergy, Wannacry).
This artwork is meant to symbolise how an everyday laptop can be a threat to the entire world. Guo is called an Internet artist and his creations are meant to critique the excessive online culture of today.
When not plugged in to any internet connection or wifi, this computer is harmless. However, it will be sure to unleash its wrath should it be connected to any network or the internet.
The six viruses
So, if like me, you have never heard of these viruses before, here are some facts about them.
This virus is also known as Love Bug or Love Letter. It attacked millions of Windows users with email messages titled “ILOVEYOU”. Attached to it was a file that would overwrite files at random. Next, it would go to the contacts list in Mircrosoft Outlook and spread the virus like wildfire. Oh, yes, because back in 2000, emails were so new that people just anyhowly clicked on it, especially with that kind of subject.
Similarly, the Sobig virus affected millions of Microsoft computer users. Sobig come in six different forms and are titled A-F. It is the second fastest virus in the world and would appear with subjects like “Approved” or “Thank you!”
Once again, MyDoom was a virus affecting Microsoft Windows. It holds the title of fastest-spreading email worm and it would send junk email through infected computers. It is rumoured that the creator of this virus is from Russia. Until today, the identity of its creator remains unknown.
DarkTequila was made to target Mexican banking users. This was discovered after 5 years of activity, stealing victims’ financial information from online banking sites and login information to popular websites.
This virus was spread through a Word document or PowerPoint attachment in an email. It was created by a Russian-based cybergang called Sandworm.
Also an attack on Microsoft users, it attacked users by demanding ransom to be paid for Bitcoin cryptocurrency. This was so serious that you can see the demand for ransom on some public screens in Singapore.
This piece of art comes with an agreement that the new owner is not allowed to release and activate the viruses.
The warning reads ‘Please remember that these are live and dangerous malware samples. running them unconstrained means that you will infect yourself or others with vicious and dangerous malware.’ (Shouldn’t they just keep it in the museum?)
This can be done simply through putting in a thumb drive. (The horror!)
The purchaser deemed it worth US$1.3 million (S$1.8 million) and has chosen to remain anonymous.
Let’s hope that he does not have any ill intentions.
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