The Persistence of Chaos
Image: Deep Instinct

Have ever you wondered a decade-old laptop running Microsoft’s Windows XP could cost more than a million dollars? Unexpectedly, The answer is YES.

The 2008 Samsung laptop Known as ‘The Persistence of Chaos’ is loaded with the world’s deadliest and the most destructive pieces of malware in the history of the digital era. The viruses have caused almost $100 billion in damages worldwide, and some of them are still drifting around on the Internet.

Samsung-NC10-Persistence-of-Chaos
Image: Deep Instinct

Labeled ‘The Persistence of Chaos’ is a 2008 Samsung NC10-14GB 10.2-inch laptop, which is running on Windows XP SP3 and carries six of the world’s deadliest malware files ever known.

Internet artist Guo O Dong created the machine and commissioned Deep Instinct, a company applying deep learning to cybersecurity. Deep Instinct has ensured that the system cannot be exploited to cause further damage, and all ports on the device will be disabled once the auction ends.

Front of The Persistence of Chaos
Image: Deep Instinct

The Persistence of Chaos is on offer as a piece of art or for academic reasons. Bidding for the laptop was closed at $1.345 million in a private auction.

However, the auction was open for everyone who wanted to bid on it online for the machine. The piece of art weighs 2.8lbs and comes with a power cord and restart script according to the auction page thepersistenceofchaos.

The six deadliest malware of The Persistence of Chaos:

1. ILOVEYOU

The Persistence of Chaos- ILOVEYOU_Virus
Image: Wikipedia

The first one is the ILOVEYOU virus, which was distributed via email attachments and file-sharing networks. Said that The virus affected 500,000+ systems and caused $15 billion in damages total, and is believed to have caused as much as $5.5 billion in damages within the first week of it being unleashed.

2. WannaCry

The Persistence of Chaos- Wana_Decrypt0r
Image: Wikipedia

The one is WannaCry, the WannaCry ransomware was an extremely virulent Cryptoworm that also set up backdoors on systems for other malware to exploit. The virus affected more than 200,000+ computers across 150 countries and caused the NHS in the UK as much $100M in damages with the total expected to damage approximately $4 billion.

3. SoBig

The Persistence of Chaos- Sobig_email
Image: Malware Wiki

SoBig, The trojan that circulated through emails as viral spam.SoBig could copy files, email itself to others, and could damage computer software/hardware. This trojan caused nearby much as $37 billion in damages and affected hundreds of thousands of PCs.

4. BlackEnergy

black_energy_eng_virus
Image: Securelist

BlackEnergy 2 uses sophisticated rootkit/process-injection techniques, robust encryption, as well as a modular architecture known as a “dropper.” The BlackEnergy malware was used in a cyberattack that caused a large-scale blackout in Ukraine in December 2015.

5. DarkTequila

dark-tequila virus
Image: Securelist

Dark Tequila, The sophisticated and evasive virus that targeted users mainly in Latin America, The piece of malware stole bank credentials as well as took data from corporate networks, even while the systems were offline. DarkTequila was set off to estimate millions of dollars in damages across many users.

6. MyDoom

domess virus
Image: Wikidot

Last but not least is the MyDoom, which is considered to have been custom-built by Russian e-mail spammers. This was one of the fastest spreading worms ever and is believed to have caused as much as $38 billion in damages.

The laptop is being kept isolated and air-gapped, which means the six the deadliest and the destructive pieces of malware viruses cannot escape from the laptop and spread elsewhere, unless, of course, if you plug in a USB or connect it up with Wi-Fi network.

The Story Behind ‘The Persistence of Chaos’:

Speaking to The Verge, artist Guo O Dong said that the intention behind creating such a laptop was to turn the digital abstract threats more physical.

According to the artist, the project’s goal is to physically represent the abstract danger of digital attacks. He explains, “We have this fantasy that things that happen in computers can’t actually affect us, but this is absurd. Weaponized viruses that affect power grids or public infrastructure can cause direct harm.”

The bid’s Terms and Conditions state that “You should not and undertake not to disseminate any malware included in the Work of Art in any manner. You agree not to connect the work of art to any computer network.”

Guo and Deep Instinct claim they took steps to ensure the malware isn’t dangerous. Its internet capabilities will be disabled before it is shipped to the winning bidder.

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