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Artist auctions off a virus-ridden laptop for $1 million

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A laptop infected with some of the most destructive pieces of malware ever may sound like the kind of ticking time bomb you’d expect only in sci-fi movies. But one man has created just such a machine, and it can be yours — if you have about $1 million to spare. 

No, this isn’t some shady dark web marketplace. It’s an art auction, and the current bidding price is around $1.2 million. 

The piece, by artist Guo O Dong, is titled “The Persistence of Chaos,” and the name is apt because the laptop could wreak some serious havoc. The old Samsung Netbook that runs Windows XP is infected with half a dozen extremely dangerous pieces of malware that, cumulatively, have caused nearly $95 billion in damages, according to Dong. 

This includes recent exploits, like the WannaCry ransomware, as well as as older viruses, like the nearly 20-year-old ILOVEYOU virus. You can watch a live stream of the laptop during the auction period in the video below. 

While it may seem irresponsible to sell a machine capable of causing that much damage, Dong says he’s taken precautions to prevent the laptop’s contents from spreading. “The piece is isolated and airgapped to prevent against spread of the malware,” he writes on the auction page. 

The listing also comes with a warning that the piece is intended to only be used as art or for “academic reasons,” and that “the sale of malware for operational purposes is illegal in the United States.”

If only all of our malware-ridden machines were this valuable.

h/t: The Verge

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