If you have more money than sense, or you just hate yourself, a Samsung NC10-14GB 10.2-Inch Blue Netbook, containing some of the most dangerous malware threats ever created is now up for auction.
Now, I don’t pretend to understand exactly why somebody would want to pick up a PC riddled with dangerous malware, but I assume it’s like in comic books when supervillains fight over a vial containing a deadly disease or some other dreadful tool of destruction.
As reported by PC Gamer, the laptop in question has been isolated and airgapped to prevent the malware from spreading, and contains six particularly nasty viruses, trojans, and other awful things that have apparently caused a collective $95 billion in damages over the years.
Quite why this laptop hasn’t just been put in a suitcase and thrown to the bottom of the sea or blasted into space where it can’t hurt anyone is beyond me, given the amount of hell this malware can cause – whether alone or combined. Let’s take a look at this sinister six, shall we?
First up, there’s ILOVEYOU, which first showed up in 2000 and spread to the masses by sending an email to everyone in a contact list with the attachment “LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.txt.vbs”. Opening the attachment would result in random files on your computer being overwritten.
In 2003, Sobig appeared as a worm and trojan that started infecting computers in August via email, before deactivating itself a month later. It remains the second fastest spreading worm, and the person (or people) behind it were never caught.
One year later, Mydoom appeared on the scene in 2004 and beats out Sobig as the fastest spreading email worm to date. It’s raison d’etre was sending junk email through infected computers.
BlackEnergy was first discovered in 2007. It started out generating bots to carry out DDoS attacks via email spam, before evolving into a more powerful form of malware that caused a huge blackout in Ukraine in December 2015.
2013 was the first time DarkTequila appeared and set about stealing personal and coorprate data, including bank credentials, mainly in Latin America. It was transmitted through spear phishing and infected USB flash drives.
Finally, we have WannaCry, which in May 2017 carried out a global attack affecting more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries. The people responsible demanded ransom paid in Bitcoin. Nasty stuff.
Understandably, it’s illegal in the US to sell malware for operational purposes, but the laptop is being sold as an artistic collaboration between performance artist Guo O Dong and cyber security firm Deep Instinct. The piece is called “The Persistence of Chaos”, and Deep Instinct, for its part, believes that the laptop is impossible to breach, so the malware can’t be released.
Dong told Forbes that he created the piece because he “wanted to see how the world responds to and values the impact of malware.” Personally, I’m just massively disturbed and slightly terrified by the chaos these programs caused in the past.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.