Laptop infected with world’s most dangerous malware sells for £1m

A laptop loaded with six of the world’s most dangerous viruses has sold for more than £1m at an online auction. 

The infamous malware is estimated to have caused a total of around $95bn (£74.4bn) in financial damages across the world.

One of the viruses running on the device is WannaCry, which was used for a wide-scale cyber attack on the NHS in May 2017 and brought down 80 trusts across England alone.

However the Windows XP laptop – which was sold as a piece of art – has been isolated and air-gapped with its internet and available ports disabled to make the device safe.

North Korea has been widely blamed for the WannaCry ransomware attack
Image: The WannaCry ransomware attack took down parts of the NHS in 2017

The artwork, named The Persistence of Chaos, was created by internet artist Guo O Dong in collaboration with cybersecurity company Deep Instinct.

Mr Guo told The Verge the piece was created to highlight the physical dangers that internet threats pose.

“We have this fantasy that things that happen in computers can’t actually affect us, but this is absurd,” he said.

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“Weaponised viruses that affect power grids or public infrastructure can cause direct harm.”

One of the viruses running on the laptop is MyDoom, a fast-spreading worm dating back to 2004 which was said to have been commissioned by Russian email spammers.

The device is also loaded with ILOVEYOU, which is believed to have affected more than 500,000 computer systems in 2000 using email and file sharing services.

File photo dated 06/08/13 of a woman using a laptop
Image: The malware is estimated to have caused tens of billions of pounds in financial damages worldwide

Other malware on the device includes SoBig, DarkTequila and BlackEnergy.

On the auction site, the terms of sale stated: “The sale of malware for operational purposes is illegal in the United States.

“As a buyer you recognise that this work represents a potential security hazard.

“By submitting a bid you agree and acknowledge that you’re purchasing this work as a piece of art or for academic reasons, and have no intention of disseminating any malware.”

The online auction closed with a winning bid of $1.3m (£1m).

Source: SKY NEWS

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