Malware Ridden Laptop ‘The Persistence of Chaos’ Sold for $1.345 Million

By Bill Toulas / May 28, 2019

The auction for “the persistence of chaos”, a malware-ridden laptop, has been concluded with the final accepted bid reaching a staggering $1.345 million. The laptop is just a Samsung NC10 10.2-inch Netbook built a decade ago and running Windows XP Service Pack 3. However, as a work of art, the persistence of chaos is a unique piece of equipment that is loaded with six samples of untamed malware that have taken over the obsolete system. Located in New York, USA, the laptop is airgapped and sealed as if it contains snakes, and in some sense it is.

To ensure that the buyer of this extraordinary work of art won’t try to disseminate the contained malware, either on purpose or by mistake, the seller has disabled the internet capabilities of the laptop and sealed its connection ports. As the terms of sale clarify, the persistence of chaos is meant to be admired as a piece of art or used for academic purposes, and buyers should be aware that they are getting a highly potent security hazard that must be handled with care and responsibility.

The six malware samples that are contained in the persistence of chaos hold historical importance that derives from the damage they have caused in the IT world. Here is a list of them:

WannaCry – The ransomware crypto worm that spread rapidly in May 2017 over 300000 computers around 150 countries before it was stopped by Marcus Hutchins.

ILOVEYOU – A computer worm that hit the wild in May 2000, causing about $8 billion in damages worldwide, after infecting fifty million systems within just ten days.

DarkTequila – A malware that targeted mostly Mexican users, stealing banking credentials and corporate data, and being able to work even when offline.

MyDoom – A 2004 virus that was to be found in one in twelve emails sent globally, causing $38 billion in damages and slowing down the internet by 50% at its infection peak.

SoBig – A worm that was released in May 2003, getting distributed via spam email and causing a total of $37 billion in damages.

BlackEnergy 2 – The second version of the sophisticated rootkit and payload dropper. The particular version was released in 2015, causing an extensive blackout in Ukraine.

To put things into perspective, a recent auction of a 1976 Apple-1 in working condition received a final bid of $470k, which is about 1/3 of “the persistence of chaos”, reflecting the profound impact that Guo O Dong’s work had to the public, offering them a somewhat tangible sample of famous internet threats, and creating a physical beast cage.

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