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The Online Museum Where Computer Viruses Live On Forever

The Malware Museum collects the graphics that computer viruses would flash at horrified users. Today, they have a nostalgic charm.

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Today we know better than to click on emails with spammy subject lines or that come from random senders, but that wasn't always the case. 16 years ago, 50 million people made the mistake of opening a seemingly innocent email with the subject line "ILOVEYOU," which was ultimately a $10 billion lesson on why it's best to immediately delete suspicious messages and pony up for anti-viral software.

While seeing one of these screens meant a wrecked computer, in retrospect the screens their creators designed are oddly humorous digital relics in the context of the Malware Museum.

Mikko Hypponen, a cyber-security expert, has assembled a handful of viruses and programs that afflicted PC users in the 1980s and 1990s, which would sometimes display rudimentary animations (like cascading pixels) and messages (Legalize Cannabis!). He's stripped away all of the stuff that'll harm your computer, leaving just the visuals that you can safely watch.

Compared to the specter of today's cyber threats, the corny messages of the past seem docile. Peruse the collection at Archive.org.

[via the Guardian]

All Images: The Malware Museum via Archive.org

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