Malware Museum/Internet Archive Mikko Hyponnen, chief research officer at security firm F-Secure, has been working with computer viruses for over 25 years.
Over the course of his career, he’s managed to accumulate more than a few computer viruses for his collection, storing the viruses on old floppy disks. So when he learned that the Internet Archive had the capability to run software written for DOS computers, it was a no-brainer to share his bizarre menagerie of malware with the world.
The viruses have been ripped off of 5.25-inch floppy disks and tweaked by hand so that all that remains is their visual effects — not their harmful ones — and now you can enjoy these bizarre pieces of semi-malicious art from the safety of your modern browser at the Malware Museum.
Jason Scott, who curates the software collection of the Internet Archive and who helped set up the Malware Museum, appreciates the viruses from both an aesthetic and historical standpoint.
“Removed of their teeth and confined within the emulator, I do see these as art,” Scott told Business Insider. “From this safe distance, a lot of people can see what these viruses were like to get, and see what effect it might have had to get one.”
“I think it’s really important that we try to archive our common digital history the best we can,” Hyponnen said in an email. “No one else will do it for us.” While no one else may do his work for him, others have already lent a hand. Scott said that the collection, which began at 30 viruses, has since grown to nearly 80 thanks to the contributions of other virus collectors.
You can see what the viruses look like below.