Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder and in this case its a very specific audience that will take pleasure from this museum.
Dealing with computer viruses today is entirely a different experience to the 1980s and 90s. While today’s malware operators are craftier and silently lurk into computers to steal credit card information or hold hostage personal data for ransom, past malware operators seemed to thrive in destroying computers with their garish scrambled codes, splash screens, laughing skulls and animated pot leaves.
Even though they could not hijack data or personal credit card information, these viruses still cost billions in repair costs. In bringing back the 80s and 90s malware memories, an online malware museum is now available where you can view past viruses without having to worry about your computer being destroyed because they have been stripped of their destructive aspects.
Back in the 80s and 90s, computers viruses seemed trendier and flashier. For those who were unfortunate to have dealt with these malwares, it would be easy to admit that they were real menaces. For instance, there was one virus that would make an animated grey-haired man wearing tinted glasses appear on the monitor walking from one end to the other. Another one would scramble the screen to a disgusting and infuriating mishmash of letters in a rainbow of colors.
And to show modern computer users how it all happened, a large collection of online museum has been created by the Internet Archive to safely show visitors how these classical viruses were so ruthless in action and safely show how they worked on the operators’ side. Since it went live on February 5, the online malware museum has received more than 150,000 visitors who are trying to understand how these viruses worked behind the scenes.
Created by computer historian, Jason Scott with the help of Finnish cyber security expert, Mikko Hypponen, the malware museum has attracted a lot of interest from computer users who are eager to see how these malwares operated. It shows a large collection of past malwares that have been rendered harmless and safe to view on personal computers. This one-of-a-kind malware museum gives visitors the opportunity to download these defanged versions of viruses that have had their harmful codes removed, leaving their visual effects only.
Despite their negative effects in the past, these viruses appear funny now that they can be viewed without having to worry about your computer being destroyed. One such example is the Casino virus, which many including both Scott and Hypponen have cited as their favorite from this museum. It involves a taunting and infuriating spotty and virus-inventing script that must have been a real headache back then. It appeared particularly infuriating in the way it announces on your screen that it has destroyed your data before challenging you to win back the data through a game of jackpot; a futile game that perhaps no computer user could have had the chance of winning; thereby losing data.
There are some examples: