What happens when the vastly different worlds of art and computer malware collide? The answer is an artwork called The Persistence of Chaos that’s going for US$1.2 million.
The Persistence of Chaos is a work by Chinese digital artist Guo O Dong that is literally a 2008 Samsung NC10-14GB 10.2-Inch Blue Netbook, infected with six of the most damaging pieces of malware the world has ever seen.
The six viruses infecting the old laptop include WannaCry – the infamous ransomware infection that hit hundreds of thousands of computers in 2017, Mydoom – an email worm from 2004 generally considered to be one of the fastest spreading computer viruses in history, Sobig – a worm from 2003 that reportedly caused over $37 billion dollars in damage, ILOVEYOU, DarkTequila,and BlackEnergy.
Cybersecurity firm Deep Instinct worked with Dong to supply him with the malware and helping him modify the laptop to keep it isolated from the internet. The laptop reportedly is air gapped do that the viruses won’t be spread through peripherals like the USB ports.
We have this fantasy that things that happen in computers can’t actually affect us, but this is absurd. Weaponized viruses that affect power grids or public infrastructure can cause direct harm.
These pieces of software seem so abstract, almost fake with their funny, spooky names, but I think they emphasize that the web and IRL are not different spaces.
Malware is one of the most tangible ways that the internet can jump out of your monitor and bite you.
It’s unclear exactly how legal the auction actually is considering the sale of malware is illegal. But ‘The Persistence of Chaos’ is already up for auctioning, with the price to purchase already exceeding $1.2 million (at the time of writing). The auction is being livestreamed via the artwork’s official website.
Image credit: The Verge