The Internet Archive opens a Malware Museum

February 8, 2016 // 4:06 p.m.

Tags: #archiveorg #browser #dos #dosbox #emulation #malware #malware-museum #mikko-hypponen #ms-dos #simulation #the-internet-archive #virus #viruses

The Internet Archive has introduced a new live in-browser experience, following on from its DOS games archive, and it's likely to bring back some not-so-fond memories: it's a museum for vintage malware.

The Internet Archive is a non-profit project with no lesser aim than to digitise and store pretty much everything in the world. Its most famous creation, the Wayback Machine, allows users to visit websites as they appeared at certain points in time, while it recently expanded its capabilities by adding in-browser emulation technology to play ]classic arcade and computer games, and even to run selected vintage business software. Now, that emulation technology - linked to the classic DOSbox software - is being used to bring back a less fondly remembered branch of software: malware.

Dubbed the Malware Museum, the new section of The Internet Archive features a selection of classic MS-DOS viruses and joke programs. Each has been de-fanged, with its malicious payload removed, but will run as it did on genuine hardware - whether that means displaying a message calling for the legalisation of cannabis or making all the text on the screen melt down to the bottom. It's possible to switch any into full-screen mode, and quitting out returns everything back to normal.

For educational and entertainment purposes, the Malware Museum - curated by noted anti-virus expert and F-Secure chief research officer Mikko Hypponen - is a treasure trove of classic coding, and a reminder of the era when viruses were typically more annoying than destructive and written for infamy rather than monetary rewards. Famous malware brought back to life on the site include the AIDS Virus, LSD, QWALKER, Mars Land, Arianna, and even a simulated version of the Jerusalem virus which gathered headlines in 1987.

Each of these is available for your viewing pleasure on the Malware Museum's official subsection of The Internet Archive.
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