Recently, artist Guo O Dong, who is described as a “contemporary internet artist,” sold a 2008 Samsung laptop for over $1 million. No, it didn’t hold the coordinates to the Lost City of Gold or anything like that. It’s infected with the world’s most dangerous computer viruses.
The laptop is officially called “The Persistence of Chaos,” and was created by Dong and Deep Instinct, a cybersecurity company, who gave Dong the malware and helped him infect the computer safely. The laptop is disconnected from the internet with other precautions in place, so someone couldn’t use the computer as a weapon. At least, in theory. Dong reported the sale and price on his website; other sources haven’t confirmed it yet.
What viruses are on the laptop? There are six, including the infamous ILOVEYOU, BlackEnergy, and SoBig. ILOVEYOU was spread in 2000 through email and file sharing. Victims were tricked into opening the virus because of the subject line, “I love you,” only to have all their media files replaced by the virus. To continue spreading, the virus then emailed itself to all the victim’s contacts. BlackEnergy was supposed to be a data collection tool, but morphed into malware. It ended up causing a blackout in Ukraine in 2015. SoBig, transmitted by email, was similar to ILOVEYOU in that it scanned a computer’s email addresses and spread that way. That virus ended up halting freight and computer traffic in Washington D.C and grounding Air Canada planes.
Hopefully whoever bought “The Persistence of Chaos” is just a tech nerd who wants a conversation piece, and not a super villain intent on unlocking the viruses and unleashing them upon an unsuspecting world.