WTF?! Who knew that an obsolete netbook loaded with malware could be worth so much? As a PC repair technician, I've been dealing in "rare art" for well over a decade and had no idea. SMH.

Take something ordinary, slap the term “art” on it and people will pay a fortune. Or at least, that’s the lesson garnered from this story.

The Persistence of Chaos is an art project commissioned by cybersecurity firm Deep Instinct. Get this – it’s literally a 10-year-old Samsung NC10 netbook loaded with some of the world’s most malicious pieces of software that recently sold for more than $1.3 million at auction.

The piece was created by contemporary Internet artist Guo O Dong to “make physical the abstract threats posed by the digital world.” It contains six pieces of malware – ILOVEYOU, MyDoom, SoBig, WannaCry, DarkTequila and BlackEnergy – which have collectively caused financial damage totaling $95 billion.

Dong told The Verge that we have this fantasy that things that happen in computers can’t actually affect us, but this is absurd. “Weaponized viruses that affect power grids or public infrastructure can cause direct harm,” Dong added.

The laptop is “isolated and airgapped” to help prevent the malware from spreading. Engadget likens it to a grenade – so long as you don’t pull the pin out (or in this case, connect it to Wi-Fi or plug a drive into it), it should be safe.

Image credit: Virus malware by Yuttanas