Today, malware is used to steal personal and financial information, gain access to private computers or even to ask for ransom, and it’s usually hidden.
In the 80s and 90s, malware was quite different and among its purposes were usually experiments, pranks or destroying the infected computer, usually accompanied by messages, animations and even games.
Most of these old viruses are long gone, but if you’re nostalgic, the newly opened Malware Museum has you covered!
Created by Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at Finnish security firm F-Secure, and Jason Scott, the software collections curator at the Internet Archive, the online Malware Museum allows you to run some of the 1980s and 1990s MS-DOS viruses in an emulator or download them to your computer.
Don’t worry, the viruses were modified and they no longer include any malicious code. Their only use now is to allow you to experience virus infections as they were decades ago.
While all are interesting, one of the viruses available in the Malware Museum stands out. The virus is called Frodo (or 4K) and it was the first virus to use stealth tactics. Each year, after September 22 (Bilbo Baggins birthday – character from Lord of the Rings), the virus would make the system hang and display the “Frodo Lives” message.
Another virus, called Casino, which both Mikko Hypponen and Jason Scott have cited as their personal favorite, would destroy the FAT on the disk, copy it to RAM and give the user one last change to restore the data… by wining a game of jackpot.
Below you’ll find messages or animations displayed by these and some other viruses from the Malware Museum: