BURN IT, is what we'd do with a laptop loaded with some of the most dangerous strains of malware around; we certainly wouldn't put it up for a frickin' auction.
But hat's what Guo O Dong, a contemporary artist, and cybersecurity form Deep Instinct are doing; they're flogging a Windows XP-powered Samsung NC10, a 10.2in netbook - remember those? - which comes riddled with six malware strains that have wreaked havoc in the past, Forbes reported.
On the laptop, which we can envision spits out binary that spells 'kill me', one can find WannaCry, BlackEnergy, ILOVEYOU, Mydoom, Sobig, and DarkTequila strains. Some of these date back as far as the year 2000 and combined have caused a massive $95bn in damages.
The laptop has been kept in an 'air-gapped' form which means it's not been allowed near an internet connection in order to keep the malware on the machine, as well as to prevent it from being wiped by updated anti-virus. Think of its a bit like the one zombie/infected person boffins manage to capture to study in semi-horror movies.
In such movies, the zombie tends to escape and infect a seemingly safe environment. We're not saying that situation is likely with the infected netbook, but resourceful types have found ways to exfiltrate data from infected air-gapped machines by monitoring magnetic emission from CPUs and changes in current flows on power lines.
But that would involve some fairly tricking hacking. So instead people after the malware-riddled machine could simply bid for it.
Selling malware for operational purposes in the US, where the laptop is currently located, is illegal hence why it's being pitched as a "work of art."
The idea, Dong told Forbes, is "to see how the world responds to and values the impact of malware". It's a cool concept and highlights the legacy if some of the nastiest malware threats around.
Deep Instinct told Forbes that the laptop poses no threat to the world and that the malware has been or still is available on other dark corners of the web, so the Sammy netbook isn't quite the Pandora's Box of digital nastiness it might first seem like.
At the same time, one could argue that having it is a bit like walking around with a rabid dog and arguing that rabies already exists in the world so stop fussing and give Sox that treat.
Bidding for the laptop currently underway and in the regions of hundreds of thousands of dollars, with an estimated sale price of $1.2m.
The bids are private, so we can totally imagine it being snapped up by a Bond-like villain and used to hold the world to ransom for billions. That's until some Oxford-educated bloke with a PPK and a radio sorts the villain right out, ending with a quip along the lines of "now you have something you'll WannaCry about".
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