World’s most dangerous laptop on sale for $1m

A laptop filled with six of the world’s most dangerous viruses is on sale for more than $1 million. Some of the world’s greatest artworks are known for their elaborate backstory or complex history, but not many are actively dangerous to those who own them. ‘The Persistence of Chaos’ might be an exception. Created by internet artist, Guo O Dong, this piece of art is an ordinary laptop filled with six of the world’s most dangerous pieces of malware. It’s perfectly safe — as long you don’t connect to your Wi-Fi or plug in a USB.

Speaking to The Verge, artist, Guo O Dong says the intention behind the laptop was to make physical the abstract threats posed by the digital world.

The six viruses in the laptop (a 10.2-inch Samsung NC10-14GB) were chosen for the magnitude of economic damage they’ve caused. They include the ILOVEYOU virus, a computer bug from 2000 that often appeared as a “love letter” attached to emails; and WannaCry, a ransomware attack that shut down computers in hospitals and factories around the world in 2017, and which intelligence agencies blamed on North Korea.

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Guo says WannaCry is the perfect example of how digital attacks can have physical consequences. “WannaCry … caused the (UK’s National Health Service) the equivalent of $100 million in damages and led to the cancellation of tens of thousands of doctors’ appointments,” he says. “It is not a leap to say this caused significant human harm, though it might be hard to pinpoint the effects exactly down to the patient.”

And these are far from historic concerns. Just this month, a ransomware attack ravaged the city of Baltimore, freezing government systems and disrupting “estate sales, water bills, health alerts.” In total, Guo estimates that the six viruses on his Samsung laptop caused economic damage worth $95 billion.

The piece was commissioned by cybersecurity firm DeepInstinct, and is currently being auctioned online. You can watch a live stream of the laptop to make sure it doesn’t make any sudden moves, and keep an eye on the rising price tag, which currently sits above $1.2 million. That may seem like a lot to pay for an old laptop riddled with malware, but Guo says he likes to think of the artwork as “a kind of bestiary — a catalogue of historical threats.”

Next time you have to fix a relation’s computer and it turns up in a similar state, try telling yourself the same thing: “Ah, what a wonderful bestiary of historical threats!”

Courtesy: The Verge