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It’s a Pirate’s Life for Me! – The $1 Mil Malware Laptop

How would you feel about spending £800,000 or the equivalent of $1 million for an 11-year-old laptop? Let’s up to the ante – for the above-mentioned price tag you can buy a decade-old laptop that’s been deliberately infested with every bit of malware code known to humankind.

Why would one do that, you ask? For the purpose of the act, of course. This outlandish piece of hardware has been on auction since the beginning of the week and, as odd as it sounds, there are people out there willing to dig deep into their pockets in order to purchase this piece.

Say, “What, now?”

Yes, you’ve read that right – for ‘meager’ $1 million you can be the next owner of a ‘state-of-the-art’ laptop that’s been infested with every bit of malware code its creator could lay its hands on. The project, which is the brainchild of artist Guo O Dong and Deep Instinct, a New York-based cybersecurity company.

When asked about the unusual art display, Dong declared that the infected item is far more than a laptop – more a depository or a reliquary of computer threats; a modern age bestiary as Dong would put it.

The unusual item has been placed in what’s called an air-gapped enclosure, which prevents the laptop from interfering with any electronic device.

Furthermore, according to Dong, the Wi-Fi connection has been permanently disabled, as it’s illegal to connect an infected computer to the internet. The auction has already begun and is most likely to end on Wednesday when the winner will be announced.

As for the price, the bidding for the 11-year-old Samsung Notebook will commence at £800,000 (around $1 million). So, if you’re interested in seeing or even participating in the auction, here are a couple of things you should know about the item on display.

  1. The project is called “The Persistence of Chaos.”
  2. The laptop, which stands behind a screen enclosed, is a 2008 Samsung NC10-14GG with a 10.2-inch screen, running Windows XP SP3. Moreover, since its battery is long gone, the laptop runs on cord exclusively and has a built-in restart script (courtesy of Deep Instinct) in case something goes wrong.
  3. There are six types of malware running on the computer: ILOVEYOU, MyDoom, SoBig, WannaCry, DarkTequila, and BlackEnergy.
  4. All malware combined caused $95 billion worth of damages.
  5. Before the laptop’s shipped, the winner’s obligated to sign a contract that forbids him or her from spreading malware to other computers or networks. Any breaches will be punishable by law.
  6. At the time this article was written, the price rose to $1.2 million.

Wrap-up

Even though to some, this bidding might seems like a badly timed jest, from an academical standpoint, the project is indeed fascinating.

Unfortunately, it seems unlikely for Dong’s laptop to end up in a computer sciences laboratory or an electronics museum.

It’s safe to assume that it will probably end up in someone’s private collection, never to see daylight ever again.

What do you think about buying a computer that’s been infected on purpose for art’s sake? Head to the comment’s section and let us know.

About Daniel Sadler

Old-school PC gamer, poetry buff, cat lover, tech wiz. His writing career began almost two decades ago when he modestly acknowledged that hindsight or, lack thereof, can compromise security. He enjoys spending quality time with his friends and family. Most of his friends refer to Daniel as a "man of a few words, but, man, what words!" His interests include cybersecurity, IT, blogging, and, of course, everything related to technology.

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