The Malware Museum lets you experience viruses from the '80s and '90s

By Shawn Knight ยท 5 replies
Feb 8, 2016
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  1. Malware and viruses of yesteryear were far different than those that plague modern machines. Aside from the obvious level of sophistication, today's malware and viruses are largely silent assassins that siphon personal data for financial gain.

    Back then, however, most nefarious software was upfront about the fact that you'd been infected and typically just wanted to make your day miserable by trashing your files. Ironically enough, early viruses would often do so in a visually pleasing or otherwise amusing manner.

    The fine folks over at the Internet Archive recently launched The Malware Museum, a collection of early malware (mostly viruses) distributed in the earlier days of computing. The team has removed the destructive portions of code and through the use of emulations, you can experience what early viruses were like right in your browser.

    In total, there are currently 78 pieces of software on display – a small but important sampling of our digital past. Some of the noteworthy entrants include Casino, a slot machine "game" that gives you five chances to save your data, Coff Shop which promotes the legalization of marijuana, Marine which shows a sailboat out in the open sea and the Terminator-inspired Skynet virus.

    As Wired correctly points out, these early viruses didn't have the luxury of the Internet to make the rounds. Instead, they circulated via floppy disks physically passed around from person to person. My, how times have changed.

    Lead image courtesy JIP, Wikipedia

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  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,362   +2,008

    And if memory serves me correctly, The first "official" virus was an assignment at Ohio State by a professor. The parameters were (a) do something original & eye catching, (b) balance the code so the program had the identical number of bytes as the original, (c) make it automatically transferable from one machine to the next.

    And people say nerds can't be impulsive!
  3. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,671   +1,961

    They've missed the Irish virus...

  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,746   +3,712

    Ahh Ummm, why would someone want a trip down virus history lane?
  5. H3llion

    H3llion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,379   +286

    because #history

    Why would I want to see pans and pots in a museum irl? This could be useful for more "creative" projects and what not.
  6. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,746   +3,712

    Borderline to worshiping evil is what this is.

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