top of page

A laptop packed with 6 types of dangerous malware has been sold for $1.3m in an online auction

Who wants to buy a laptop that was loaded with malware? Huh...

Yup, the above is real. In a project titled The Persistence of Chaos, between an artist and a cybersecurity company, six strains of malware were loaded into an 11 year old Samsung notebook. 

  1. WannaCry - the ransomware that hit the NHS in 2017

  2. ILoveYou - released in the year 2000, this infected 50 million computers in two weeks, including at the CIA, Pentagon and UK Parliament

  3. MyDoom - a rapid-spreading 2004 Windows email worm that looked like an error message

  4. SoBig - when this was discovered, in 2003, one security company told BBC News that 1 in 17 emails it was sighted carrying the virus

  5. DarkTequila - a keylogger malware designed to steal financial data and log-in credentials

  6. BlackEnergy - used to attack Ukraine's power grid in 2016

Terms for the auction includes:-

  1. whoever purchases the laptop will receive it only once its ports and internet capabilities have been "functionally disabled"

  2. the notebook is air-gapped

  3. laptop must be purchased "as a piece of art or for academic reasons" 

At the closing of the auction on 5 June 2019, an anonymous bidder successfully bought it for USD1.3 million.

In health terms, it is like buying a canister loaded with the Ebola, H1N1, AIDS, Zika, and Dengue, few of the most deadliest virus known to human.

How did the cybersecurity company possessed and load these strains of malware? If they can load the notebook with a strain of each of the deadly malware virus, does it mean that the cybersecurity company are still in possession of copies of these strains in their 'library'? What assurance is there that their systems are not hacked and cyber criminals 'releasing' this strains into the internet world? Or the strains in their possession being let loose into the internet by accident?

Wonder what the purchaser intends to do with it?


bottom of page