If you take a look at the viruses of the past showcased at the Malware Museum you might be surprised at their originality, their bright colors and their comedic effects. Yes, even though many of them were supposed to invade our computers and damage them in various ways, they would often include funny messages.
The museum can be accessed online in total security, and displays numerous viruses from the ‘80s and the ‘90s. Those were meant to affect computers running with MS-DOS.
Those of you who are curious enough to take a look will discover the wide diversity of the viruses which often included texts and flashing graphics. While some of them had the potential of destroying the software or burning the precious hard drive, others were less harmful as they were supposed to block the access to some features or just bother the owner of the computer.
However, the viruses put on display on the online museum have been rendered powerless and thus can be safely observed. You can now live the experience of encountering the original images and texts on a MS-DOS machine, and thus virtually go back in time.
Mikko Hypponen is the curator of the museum and a computer security expert. He is the one who collected, analyzed and removed the threats from the viruses over the years. One day he decided to show his collection to the curator of Internet Archives, Jason Scott. Scott was truly impressed and thus started a collaboration with Hypponen.
Probably the most interesting item on display at the Malware Museum is a virus named Casino. While it did not harm the hardware of the computer in any way, Casino made the user go through a game in order to save all of his RAM files. Basically, the virus copied those files in the RAM and launched a game. If the user was able to beat the game named Disk Destroyer, Casino would restore all the files and simply disappear. However, if the user lost, the virus would destroy the RAM files. The user would lose them forever.
On the other hand, there were viruses simply meant to send messages. The Elvira virus would make your screen go black and display a romantic message that floated in the Star Wars style. The Coffshop virus showed a pixelated picture of the cannabis leaf along with the text “Legalize Cannabis”.
The viruses of the past showcased at the Malware Museum can be viewed free of charge here.
Image Source: Vintage is the New Old