Step back in time to when hackers were just having fun

Threats & Hacks

What’s so fun about old malware?

In just four days more than a hundred thousand people have visited The Malware Museum — an online repository of classic malware, mostly viruses, that infected home computers in the 1980s and 90s.

Working with archivist Jason Scott, Mikko Hyppönen — our Chief Research Officer — put together 78 examples finest/worst examples of old-school malware that includes emulations of the infections with the destructive elements removed so you can enjoy them safely.

“I only chose interesting viruses,” Mikko told BBC News.

The result is “nerdy nostalgia,” says PC Magazine‘s Stephanie Mlot.

The exhibits feature clunky ASCII graphics, pot references and obscure allusions to Lord of the Rings.

While an early ancestor of ransomware like Casino was willing to ruin your files and call you an “a**hole,” it wasn’t trying to extort any cash out of you. That’s because the creators of these early forms of digital vandalism were amateurs in the truest sense of the world. They did it for the love of mayhem.

We long for the days of “happy hackers,” as Mikko calls them, because the malware landscape today is so ominous.

“Most of the malware we analyze today is coming from organized criminal groups… and intelligence agencies,” Mikko explained.

To keep the memories of the good old days alive, we’re going to make t-shirts celebrating some classic malware. And we’d like you to choose which viruses we should commemorate.

CRASH
CRASH malware, malware museum, old viruses

V SIGN
Q V Malware, old viruses, Malware Museum

FLAME
old viruses, Flame malware, Malware Museum

CASINO
Old Malware, Casino virus, Malware Museum

PHANTOM (Image via @danooct1)
Phantom virus, old malware, Malware Museum

If you appreciate the Museum, Mikko asks that you contribute to the Internet Archive. You can learn more about Malware from Mikko’s Malware Hall of Fame.

Cheers,

Sandra

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