Mikko Hypponen, a computer security expert who has spent decades analyzing, collecting and writing about viruses, curated the collection, which is a collaboration with the Internet Archive’s Jason Scott. The destructive parts of the viruses in the collection have been removed, and aren’t going to hurt your current machine.
The collection of ’80s and ’90s viruses includes the Casino virus, which actually forces the unfortunate computer user to play a game.
“The casino virus is neat,” Hypponen explained in a 2011 talk that accompanies the collection. “It actually takes a copy of your file allocation table to memory, then it overwrites it on your hard drive. So, you’ve just lost all your files,” he explains. “But it has a copy in RAM, right? And now it lets you play a game.” Basically, if you win the game – nicknamed Disk Destroyer – it writes your file allocation table back to the drive, restoring your stuff. If you lose, well, you lose your files too.
Other old viruses, like COFFSHOP, displayed a political message:
And some just made fun of you:
You can check out the full collection, here.
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