back to article Roll up, roll up to the Malware Museum! Run classic DOS viruses in your web browser

The Internet Archive has opened a new collection dubbed the Malware Museum that lets you run old DOS-era viruses in your web browser. There are 78 samples to play with, all uploaded earlier today and collated by Mikko Hypponen and Jason Scott. The cheesy old code is executed in your browser using a JavaScript version of …

  1. John 104 Silver badge

    Very cool.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Or using Winbloat?

      1. Mikey

        I suppose a lot of us would like to know...

        ...What exactly IS this 'winbloat' you're on about? Kinda sounds like some weird prank program, or maybe a Mr Creosote simulator. Whatever it is, I guess I hope it doesn't show up on my install of Win 7. Thankfully, that has some semblance of a firewall, and a semi-useful malware checker.

        But no, you can't mean Windows. That DOES come with some security, even if the rest is up to the user to provide. And that's a good thing, I think, having the freedom of choice on that. Certainly choice seems to be a tennet of that peculiar kind of rabid open source lunatics, so choice MUST be a good thing!


        1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

          Re: I suppose a lot of us would like to know...

          A Mr. Creosote simulator? See icon.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I suppose a lot of us would like to know...

            A Mr. Creosote simulator?

            "How about a little cloud solution to round it all off, sir?"

        2. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: I suppose a lot of us would like to know...

          @mikey - have a look in $Windows.~BT - you will find a nice winbloat file that is waiting for you to upgrade to w10 whether you want to or not.

          Just a little smaller than this fully functional rasbian system I'm typing this on.

          1. Mikey

            Re: I suppose a lot of us would like to know...

            @mikey - have a look in $Windows.~BT - you will find a nice winbloat file that is waiting for you to upgrade to w10 whether you want to or not.

            You mean the one I got rid of as soon as I found it, and knew what it was for? Yes, I removed the cached data for the upgrade, no different to any other downloaded and as-yet-uninstalled update in principle. Sure, the delivery method was underhanded, but an update is all it ever was.

            And now it's not. Good computer management, you see. Take steps to secure, remove, patch and protect.

        3. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: I suppose a lot of us would like to know...

          "a Mr Creosote simulator"

          This is the new 10nm process technology, it's wafer thin.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Or using Winbloat?"

        Let's not forget that the worse virus / worm infection ever in terms of % compromised and impact was on UNIX based machines:

    2. macjules Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: So what's the difference between this, and installing Flash???

      One is written by despicable, evil, hackers who only want to ruin your day with endless desktop messages and demands for you to download and install their latest, pathetic attempts to write code.

      The other is a relatively harmless computer virus written by someone with absolutely no connection at all to Adobe.

    3. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      > So what's the difference between this, and installing Flash???

      The viruses are better designed software with significantly smaller footprint. Also, they viruses work as designed.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ... or indeed Windows?

  3. Andrew Jones 2

    I have often said that viruses used to be intelligent and sometimes quite fun, they existed to destroy hard drives and find new ways to spread. Nowadays they are all about stealing information and forcing you to pay. I don't think you even get polymorphic viruses these days do you? They are all written from toolkits and show very little innovation.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      They are all written from toolkits and show very little innovation.

      "They are perfect. A new form of lowlife!"

      A blast from the past:

      Scientific American 1985-03, "Computer Recreations" Column by Alexander Keewatin Dewdney: A Core War bestiary of viruses, worms and other threats to computer memories

      There is a good problem implicit here and I would be both unimaginative and irresponsible for not posing it; In one page or less describe DOS DOCTOR, a program on disk that somehow stamps out such electronic epidemics. Many disks used by a personal computer contain copies of its DOS. When started up, the computer obtains its copy of the DOS from the disk. This DOS will still be in charge when other disks, also containing copies of the DOS, are run. If it is infected, the DOS currently in charge may alter the other copies of the DOS or even replace them with copies of itself. But how to counteract such virulence?

      That sounds suspiciously like a halting problem.

    2. fearnothing

      There is polymorphism to some extent, but it's more often seen in the delivery, exploit kits and the like, than the final stage malware.

  4. davcefai

    Just to add a little info, the Maltese Casino was a modified, already existent, virus. I examined the innards and saw that the date check code was very clumsy although it did work. It was nowhere near as elegantly written as the rest of the .com file. However it served as a good detection string.

    Strangely enough the 15th August is a national holiday in Malta - a big one - where we literally celebrate not becoming part of Germany during WW2. Malta was out of food and aviation fuel. Fighters could not take off. The Ohio made it into harbour and fuel was trucked straight to the waiting planes!

    Anyway, the point is that the writer set his code to trigger on a day when the fewest computers would have been turned on. Most businesses would be on Summer shutdown and everybody would be at the beach!

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      The Ohio made it into harbour and fuel was trucked straight to the waiting planes!

      This is like a Hollywood "Shields have been restored" situation.

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Thanks @davcefai - if I recall correctly the whole Island of Malta was awarded the George Cross for this epic stand?

      Have wasted far too much of my life wrestling with viruses (of the computer variety), nice to salute a real life and death struggle.

  5. RIBrsiq

    Ah, the endless fun of using Sourcer to fiddle with One-Half, NATAS and Whale...!

  6. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    I had the (un)fortunate chance of meeting the Fumble, twelve tricks and burger virus.

    Not to mention the favourite - the Stoned virus.

    And also the cascade one.

    NATAS and Exebug joined the fun as well. Exebug was a bugger though

    Was fun in those days.

  7. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Spin Dryer

    Not a virus, more of a joke utility, but who remembers the Spin Dryer utility? Set it running and it tells you your floppy drive has water in it. It then proceeds to control the floppy drive to cause it to make lots of noises akin to that of a washing machine on spin cycle.

    1. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: Spin Dryer

      Yes, I used that on occasions to clean the floppy drive heads with head cleaning disk.

    2. fixit_f

      Re: Spin Dryer

      I had a whole directory of these stupid DOS utilities. I used to use them to freak my Mum out on her computer.

      I wasn't a cool kid.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Irish virus?

    To me, that was the funniest one of all. Although I have an issue with considering any complete demographic dumb other than middle management, I loved the idea behind that one.

    One of the better jokes of that era :)

  9. Mr Templedene

    Two I remember which were fun and non destructive, but were detected and flagged as viruses by anti virus software:-

    popcorn, that changed the keyboard beep note so that as you typed it played the tune "popcorn"

    It was fun briefly, as you tried to get your typing to fit the songs rythm

    and "Polite" which got all huffy if you inevitably typed a swear word into the command line, and then refused to let you do anything until you typed in an apology.

    1. Anonymous C0ward

      Did it respond

      to Scunthorpe, Middlesex, Shitterton etc?

  10. Mystic Megabyte

    Music virus

    In all my computing years the only data loss* I've had was from the "Music virus". I got it from a dodgy copy of "The Prince of Persia" which was running on a 286. Sure enough it played a tune while deleting the FAT :(

    I've gone all Linux now so apart from Flash I should be safe. When the BBC finally stop using Flash it will be removed immediately.

    *AFAIR nothing important was lost

    1. Archivist

      When the BBC finally stop using Flash

      You don't have to wait till then, just tell your browser User Agent to identify as an iPad. The beeb will then serve you sensible media.

  11. Anonymous C0ward

    Your PC

    is now Stoned.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

      Re: Your PC

      That was the very first thing I saw on my new and shiny 286. The first floppy I owned had the virus on it. Had no idea what a virus is so phoned up the guy who gave the disk to me. He was mildly embarrassed.

  12. Dan 55 Silver badge

    The Terminator (1984)

    That is all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Terminator (1984)

      displays a message reference kickass 1990s sci-fi flick The Terminator

      I also do not recognize any reference kickass. Except maybe the text "Terminator". Maybe the author was a fan of Monsanto products?

  13. JimC

    Virus Collections...

    I came across my Virus collection floppy discs the other day: quite an array of different offenders we caught in the organisation. The only one that really hurt is was the first we got, Vacsina, which was a pain in the neck to eliminate. After that we got much better at catching them early on.

  14. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    My first encounter with a virus

    My largest client at the time had bought a high-performance pc (a 386sx, if my memory serves me right) from a London-based third-tier manufacturer. He wanted a mouse to go with it and I supplied him a top-of-the-range Logitech. In those days you had to run the supplied driver disk (5.25" floppy) to get it recognised. Did that, tested it, client happy, went away.

    Shortly after I got urgently summoned back: accused of infecting the pc with a virus. WTF!? This was indeed A Serious Matter.

    When I arrived, it turned out that that super-duper high-performance pc had got fried. The supplier had installed a new motherboard and had thought he'd try and mitigate some of the loss of replacing said motherboard with another one FOC by flogging my client an AV solution. In those days it was Dr Solomon, and his product was indeed considered by myself as the Rolls Royce of AV scanners (but that's another story).

    So, the pc supplier had run the AV through and lo and behold there was a virus on the hard drive. What software had been recently been installed? (Perish the thought that it had originally been supplied with a virus). So I got the blame.

    I asked where the Logitech disk was, right now.

    "It is in the safe." (This was pre-internet when manufacturer driver disks were precious).

    Having established that it had a write-protect tab on it (which I had had the foresight to ensure was on there when I supplied it), I said "Ok, let's run an AV check on that."

    Banking my reputation on Logitech being a Good Brand, that test came up negative. So I was able to prove that, without shadow of doubt that it was not the mouse software that was the source of the infection. "Get that f'ing pc supplier down here, Right Now..." was my client's response.

  15. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

    "Banking my reputation on Logitech being a Good Brand"

    Fortunately it was. Doubtful we could have the same level of confidence today.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apart from Word macro 'viruses'

    Ive never seen a real virus in action.

    Good article.

  17. Tachikoma

    "Type Cookie!"

    Those were the days!

    I think one of my earliest coding attempts was a sort of virus on the Archimedes, one of the cover discs had an antivirus app on it, which grabbed my curiosity so I wrote something (pseudocode, excuse me) like:


    IF SYS$.Time = 09:00:00

    Copy <random folder name>, <same folder name>



    There were no checks in those days, so you could copy a folder into itself, which would cause an endless cycle of copying until the folder/FAT limit had been reached... or you pressed Ctrl Shift + Break

  18. Imsimil Berati-Lahn

    My favourite

    I was rather fond of the URKLE virus.

    Silly payload would randomly put the letters URKLE into the keyboard buffer rendering subsequent memos slightly silly.

    I remember when nostalgia used to be considered a mental illness.

    But that was back in the good old days.

    Ah well.

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