An old laptop infected with six of the most dangerous viruses has been auctioned for a whopping $1.345 million (around Rs 9.388 crores). Yes, you read that number right. Someone is ready to pay this amount for a laptop, which is infected with all these viruses.
For those wondering why this laptop is even on sale, this is actually an art installation. The 2008 Samsung NC10 10-inch Blue Notebook is called “The Persistence of Chaos” by artist Guo O Dong. Chaos sounds about right, because any of those viruses on an actual PC would result in exactly that.
The auction was live-streamed on Twitch. According to the auction website thepersistenceofchaos.com, the laptop carries six pieces of malware that have caused financial damages totaling $95 billion, which is no small number.
The laptop runs Windows XP Service Pack 3 and it was auctioned bundled with a power cord. The names of the malware installed in the laptop are– ILOVEYOU, MyDoom, SoBig, WannaCry, DarkTequila, and Black Energy.
The website says that the Dong is a “contemporary internet artist whose work critiques modern day extremely-online culture”. The art piece has been created as a collaboration between Dong and the cybersecurity company Deep Instinct. The company provided malware for the Persistence of Chaos.
So will the new owner spread the viruses? That might not be possible. The website mentions that the laptop has been isolated and air-gapped to prevent the spread of the malware. The laptop cannot be connected to the internet and the USB ports cannot transfer the data. However, it still poses a risk given the hard drive can be used to spread the malware.
The terms of sale on the auction website mentions that the sale of malware for operational purposes is illegal in the US. It reads, “As a buyer, you recognise that this work represents a potential security hazard. By submitting a bid you agree and acknowledge that you’re purchasing this work as a piece of art or for academic reasons, and have no intention of disseminating any malware.”
Upon the conclusion of this auction and before the artwork is shipped, the computer’s internet capabilities and available ports will be functionally disabled. The price of the sale has been provided by the website itself and there is no way to verify the auction amount given the bidder remains anonymous. The Persistent of Chaos ships from New York.
Of course, why would anyone pay for much for a laptop they can’t use and is infected with malware is anyone’s guess.