For a $1.2 million dollar bid, you could own a 2008 Samsung laptop containing six of the most infamous computer viruses in history.
The infectious computer is an art project titled "The Persistence of Chaos," created in collaboration between Chinese internet artist Guo O Dong — known for previous projects like HiPSTER ON A LEASH — and cybersecurity company Deep Instinct, which provided the malware and technical expertise to execute the work in a safe environment.
In an interview with VICE, Guo explained the reasoning behind his creation as "a kind of bestiary, a catalogue of historical threats."
"Malware is one of the most tangible ways that the internet can jump out of your monitor and bite you," Guo told VICE. "These pieces of software seem so abstract, almost fake with their funny, spooky names, but I think they emphasize that the web and IRL are not different spaces."
Look But Don't Touch
All together, the six pieces of malware — ILOVEYOU, MyDoom, SoBig, WannaCry, DarkTequila, and BlackEnergy — have caused $95 billion dollars in damages worldwide, attacking millions of users and targeting banks, government institutions, and average people.
Guo teamed with Deep Instinct to make sure the powerful malware running on the computer can't spread. The laptop is isolated and airgapped, meaning it can't connect to the internet, and once the auction ends, the computer's ports will be completely disabled.
Four days remain to place a bid, but make sure you read the fine print before buying: the work could still present a potential security hazard despite the protections put in place, and you have to agree you have "no intention of disseminating any malware."
While the clock ticks down, you can view of livestream of the infected laptop running the malware — safely cordoned off with caution tape.
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