Normally, people feel nostalgic about old school music, films, cars or video games. However, there are people who are so fond of outdated computer viruses that they even created a real museum of them. These two IT experts who initiated storage of old viruses on the Archive.org service are Mikko Hypponen, the chief research officer of Finnish security company F-Secure and Jason Scott, a historian and the software library manager of Internet Archive.
Hypponen has been collecting old viruses since he got started in the information security business 25 years ago. And after the emulator of an old MS-DOS application had been presented, the idea of such a project came to his mind.
Following the above, Malware Museum was founded where you can now find about eighty malicious programs that were spread in 1980s and 1990s. The visitors can see with their eyes what happened with a PC infected with a bug and what messages its user received.
Among the exhibits of the Museum there are many viruses that stood at the origins of future malware trends. One of them is Frodo, one of the first stealth bugs. It was spread on diskettes and was activated exactly on the 22nd of September, on the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo, the characters from Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”. When being downloaded it displayed the phrase “Frodo Lives” on the screen of the infected PC.
Mikko Hypponen notes that nowadays most viruses are written by cyber criminals with the purpose of stealing or extorting money, while in 80s and 90s of the previous century it was a different era – malicious programs were created by the advanced young IT developers («happy hackers”) just for fun. For example, there used to be Casino bug, which made its victim play cards with all the data at stake. If the victim won, he got access to his data back; if not – the virus cleared the hard drive. What If a victim was not able to play the game? That’s his own problem – malware is malware.