Malware Museum Shows How Past Viruses Were Creative, Artful

Today's viruses make your heart ache with sorrow and stress. Yesteryear's viruses sometimes made your heart ache from laughter. While still relatively destructive during their time period, the malware of previous decades showed one thing that is lost upon today's cybercriminals: a sense of humor. Thanks to the Internet Archive, however, those can now be relived, or reviled if you were a victim, showcasing the viruses prevalent during the 80s and 90s, in all their animated pixel art glory. Without the damaging virus itself, of course.

Perhaps it was a difference in cultures. Virus writers back in the days were more concerned about "showing it to the man", creating mayhem, and becoming famous. Many of today's hackers are more focused on getting credentials, whether for the aforementioned reasons or, more often, money. As such, the malware of the past revealed a more "creative" side of computer geniuses, hijacking computers and their screens to display messages and not phishing scams.

Now the Internet Archive, which not only documents websites but even games, holds a portion of that computing history. Some might question the purpose of almost glorifying those unlawful exploits. After all, while some of these viruses may have been born out of fun or boredom, they are, in the end, malware that try to illicitly get control of a computer that the author has no legitimate access to.

That said, it's still hard not to get amused, if not dazzled, by the variety of creative means these hackers go through, from splashing the screen with dizzying colors to flooding it with their "brand". Techno, for example, is like The Matrix meets Rainbow Brite.

About 78 malware examples from those decades are now up on the Malware Museum. Like the games that have been archived there, these can also be safely "played" inside the browser. You can also download them and try to run them on your own computer. Don't worry, these viruses have been defanged. Or at least that's the official story. Proceed at your own adventure. Or risk.

SOURCE: The Internet Archive

VIA: Motherboard