Security & Fraud

Virus-Infected Laptop Sold As Artwork For $1.3M

Who says a virus-riddled laptop is useless? In fact, one person just paid $1.345 million to obtain an infected device — as a piece of artwork.

According to Fortune, the laptop — called The Persistence of Chaos — has six types of malware installed on it that have reportedly caused over $95 billion in damage. Its designer, Guo O Dong, describes himself as a “contemporary internet artist,” and he created the artwork with cybersecurity company Deep Instinct, which provided the malware and supervised the work so it was created in a safe environment.

The laptop is a 2008 Samsung NC10-14GB 10.2-Inch Blue Netbook running Windows XP. It contains the viruses ILOVEYOU, which caused $5.5 billion in damages in its first week; MyDoom, which was reportedly commissioned in Russia; SoBig, which has infected PCs in the hundreds of thousands; WannaCry, a ransomware; Dark Tequila, which stole bank credentials when users were offline; and Black Energy, which was responsible for the major blackout in the Ukraine in 2015.

However, the anonymous buyer doesn’t need to worry: The laptop was isolated and air-gapped from other machines during its creation, and its internet capabilities and available ports will be “functionally disabled” before it’s delivered to its new owner.

In more serious cybersecurity news, Verizon reported at the end of last year that there were 2,216 confirmed data breaches across 65 countries, with 68 percent taking months for the companies to discover. Furthermore, 28 percent of those incidents were perpetuated by insiders. More than half of those breaches by outsiders were done by members of organized crime.

In fact, cybercrime hit nearly every sector throughout 2018 — including those seemingly less obvious, like education or manufacturing — for one obvious reason: the money. For example, MarriottFacebook and database marketing firm Exactis exposed the records of roughly 300 million people.

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