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Friday, April 12, 2024

The persistence of Chaos: World’s deadliest laptop sells for $1.3 million

A laptop loaded with six of the world's most notorious and deadly viruses was sold in a Newyork online auction for over $1.3 million. The laptop came with stern warnings for buyers not to disassemble or connect it to any network.


For Chinese artist, Guo O Dong, the simple black Samsung NC10 laptop computer, loaded with six potent viruses, symbolizes one of the world’s most frightening threats.

On Tuesday his creation “The Persistence of Chaos” rocked the art world, selling for more than $1.3 million in a New York online auction.

There’s nothing special about the 2008 10-inch Netbook, running Microsoft’s now-outdated Windows XP.

But loaded onto its memory chips are the computing world’s equivalents of the most deadly infectious diseases: “I LOVE YOU” from 2000, “Sobig” of 2003, “MyDoom” (2004), “DarkTequila” (2013), “BlackEnergy” (2015), and the most notorious of all, the “WannaCry” ransomware from two years ago.

As long as you leave it on the shelf and don’t pull the pin out of the grenade – in this case, connect to WiFi or plug in a USB – it should be safe.

It is a powerful symbol of the threat on simple laptop can pose to the entire world. The six trojans, worms and malware loaded on it have caused at least $95 billion in damage around the world, according to Guo.

Guo is an internet artist “whose work critiques modern day extremely online culture,” the auction site, organized by cybersecurity group Deep Instinct, said.

The laptop, viewed via an online video stream, is harmless in its auction state – turned on, but not connected to any network or the internet.

Precautions for Buyer

The auction site says it is “airgapped” – its wireless and internet connections physically and electronically plugged. But it comes with an ominous warning to the buyer of laptop, not to unleash its pathogenic programs – possible by unplugging its connection hardware, or by simply inserting a thumb drive.

Read more: How to protect your data online?

The site stresses that the artwork [laptop] is for research use only, saying that anyone who submitted a bid contractually agreed that they “have no intention of disseminating any malware.”

At the same time, the site appeared to acknowledge that the buyer might not heed the agreement. “Please remember that these are live and dangerous malware samples,” it said.

Laptop selling Website: https://thepersistenceofchaos.com/

“Running them unconstrained means that you will infect yourself or others with vicious and dangerous malware.”

In its isolated, air-gapped state, the laptop is harmless. In a sense, it might be comparable to collecting ancient weaponry. As long as you leave it on the shelf and don’t pull the pin out of the grenade – in this case, connect to WiFi or plug in a USB – it should be safe. While these viruses could still cause harm, they’re outdated in the sense that new forms of ransomware are already at work.

The buyer was not identified.

AFP with additional input by GVS news desk.