This Laptop is Packed With Six of the World’s Most Dangerous Viruses And It’s Available for $1 million
This is ‘The Persistence of Chaos.’ Created by internet artist Guo O Dong, this piece of devasting art is an ordinary laptop that is packed with six of the world’s most serious pieces of malware. It’s perfectly safe — as long as you don’t connect to your Wi-Fi or plug in a USB.
Speaking to The Verge, artist Guo O Dong says the purpose behind the laptop was to make physical the complex threats posed by the digital world.
“We have this fantasy that things that happen in computers can’t actually affect us, but this is absurd,” says Guo. “Weaponized viruses that affect power grids or public infrastructure can cause direct harm.”
The six viruses in the laptop (a 10.2-inch Samsung NC10-14GB) were chosen for the degree of financial damage they’ve caused. This laptop comes with 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.
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 upsetting “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 selected 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 catalog of historical threats.”