Coming across with one of the most malware infected device in the world, one would think that the owner should throw the device away and wish that his data was not stolen and the infection would end. But that is not the case with a laptop that is infected with so much malware – the world’s nastiest ones – that some people call art for its own merits.
And people are willing to pay hefty amounts of money; even millions of dollars to earn possession of the infamous “art piece.”
The admired Samsung netbook that is currently in an auction has been infected with six infamous pieces of malware is now technically considered an art piece called “The Persistence of Chaos.” It is not an ordinary art project, however. According to reports, the art project is a collaboration between Guo O Dong, a Chinese internet artist, and security firm Deep Instinct, with bidding currently running at $1.13 million (around £900,000, AU$1.65 million) at the time of writing.
The six pieces of malware installed are WannaCry, BlackEnergy, ILoveYou, MyDoom, SoBig, and DarkTequila – each of which has earned notoriety for scamming huge amounts of money from their victims.
But of course, the intention of the installation isn’t to infect other devices and networks, so the Samsung netbook has been air-gapped (meaning it isn’t connected to the internet or anything else) to prevent any spread of these nasty pieces of malware. The auctioneers note these malware infections have caused a total estimated financial damage of around $95 billion (£75 billion, AU$140 billion) over the years. All the PC’s ports will be disabled post-auction, too.
Etienne Greeff, CTO, and co-founder of SecureData, raised an interesting point on the potential reaction from the shady world of malware peddlers and cybercriminals.
“Somewhere in Russia, a hacker is wondering how he only made a measly $300,000 from his ransomware attack when he could have made $1,000,000 selling it as art. Where there is muck, there is money […] However, there’s really no value in paying $1,000,000 for what we already know. Malware is malicious, and the people writing it are even more so. I wonder if the guy creating the installation got permission from the authors. If not, and if I were them, I would be very, very careful about how I use my computer in the future.”
Persistence of Malware
Malware is considered one of the most destructive cyberwarfare tool in existence. As mentioned, more than $95 billion has been scammed out of people’s pocket from all the six malware that infected the art/laptop alone, and there is other malware out there that have also gained notoriety especially in the recent days.
The malware found in The Persistence of Chaos piece is windows strains of the malware. However, Windows OS is not the only operating system that is being targeted by malware. Recently, researchers have found a Linux version of a malware used by Chinese hackers in the high-profile cybercrime against a Vietnamese game company in 2015.
Winnti’s Linux version was discovered by researchers from Google’s Chronicle, and they have a lot to say regarding their discovery.
“As with other versions of Winnti, the core component of the malware doesn’t natively provide the operators with distinct functionality. This component is primarily designed to handle communications and the deployment of modules directly from the command-and-control servers. During our analysis, we were unable to recover any active plugins. However, prior reporting suggests that the operators commonly deploy plugins for remote command execution, file exfiltration, and socks5 proxying on the infected host. We expect similar functionality to be leveraged via additional modules for Linux,” the team said regarding the discovered malware.
Of course, as the persistence of malware attacks grew over time, law enforcement and cybersecurity experts have been doubling their effort to fight against infections and those people who deliberately cause them. Recently, ten Europeans were indicted for spearheading a series of malware attacks against American companies and institutions across all sectors. The victims of the malware attacks included a Washington law firm, a church in Texas, a furniture business in California and a casino in Mississippi.
Officials reveal that the malware in the current court case has infected more than 41,000 computers by disguising as legitimate messages or invoice and was sent as spam emails. Once the email was opened, hackers will be able to record all keystrokes in the infected computer, sweeping data like baking information and wire money away from the victim’s account.
How Marvel Plans To Converge Mutants Into Its Timeline
The $71.3 billion acquisition of Disney over 20th Century Fox, lead us fans into a void full of speculation. With the merging of the two leading film studios, the convergence of two favorite franchise — Marvel and X-Men — remains a topic of uncertainty; how will they do it?
This “acquisition” may sound like an ideal outcome to Marvel who’s recently producing box-office movies, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe has yet to settle incongruences with previous X-Men and Fantastic Four movies, to put them in the state of their current timeline.
If you’ve been keeping track, the X-Men franchise has been in a roller coaster ride in terms of its chronology.
Dark Phoenix—which aired in cinemas recently—leaves behind a relatively low box office compared to its other highly-successful X-Men franchise. The recent release was the most disappointing X-Men movie with a $33 million opening weekend. The film is now likely facing over $100 million losses.
MCU announced that it’s scrapping all of the other X-Men projects in its slate. This decision comes along with reports that the MCU is not rushing to put X-Men into any Marvel movie anytime soon.
“There is no rush to bring the X-Men to the marketplace after this. And when they come back, it’s going to extend Marvel’s run another ten years,” a producer said.
Kevin Feige told in an interview: “You’re right, it’s too far out to talk about whether it will happen [or] not. We’re not working on it in any way, shape or form. We’ve got five films on the docket we’ve already announced that are taking a big percent of our time. But I will say to your very good question that if you look back to Phase 1 and after ‘Iron Man’ was released and we announced our upcoming films, one of which was ‘Thor,’ people said, ‘How in the world can you bring in a Norse god who flies with a hammer into the world you’ve established of Tony Stark and Stark Industries?’”
“That was sort of the reason we made the ‘Thor’ film the way we did, was to ease character into a world together, even though they might not understand each other and might have trouble getting along at first, that’s the fun of it. But tonally there’s always a way, and as you said the comics have been navigating it quite well for half a century.”
MCU may be silent regarding any upcoming X-Men-Marvel movie, but the company is actively setting the groundwork to make it a possibility.
Recently, Marvel Entertainment tweeted a new post of what seems to be leak photo of a confidential report. The image, filled with computer coding and a lot of redacted information, meant to reveal information referencing to the Weapon Plus program and the Super Soldier serum that created mutant Logan (Weapon X) and Captain America Steve Rogers (Weapon I).
The post is speculated to relate with the writer, Jonathan Hickman’s upcoming comics called Powers of X and House of X.
Moreover, it is speculated that Hickman’s new books will “tie that origin of ‘mutantkind’ alongside the 616 origins of mutant to uncover an entirely new genesis for the species. It will also change the perspective on several classic stories already told, and serve as the stepping stones for new X-Men stories going forward.”
Additionally, Hickman’s new books will lay the foundation on how Marvel will incorporate mutants into its universe via a telling of their secret society living amongst humans. The story will go back as far as World War I with Wolverine’s story and connect with Captain America’s account during World War II, based on the cryptic message Marvel tweeted out.
Nonetheless, more will be revealed once the two books are out. House of X and Power of X arrives in comic shops July 24 and July 31, respectively.
5 Top Las Vegas 2019 Shows You Should Watch
Las Vegas is where people go to have one of the wildest weekends in their lives. It’s the 28th most populated city in the United States and boasts millions of visitors annually. In 2018, there over 42 million people who went to visit the “sin city. “
Popularly known as a city for drinking, gambling, and even getting married to strangers, Las Vegas proves to be one of the fascinating cities in the world. But the city is not only known to host the biggest parties but also host the biggest performers.
Singers, Dancers, Magicians, and a ton of different acts and performances are in Las Vegas — to accommodate its millions of visitors and throw a one of a kind experience.
If you’re planning a trip to Las Vegas, here’s a list of shows you should watch:
The Goddess of Pop and queen of Camp is making a visit in the sin city this March and between August 21 until the first day of September at Park MGM.
She is an Emmy, Grammy, and Academy-Award winner, as well as, the recipient of hundreds of other awards spanning her decades-long career as one of the top-selling performers of all time.
She is also popularly known for her highly energetic and entrancing performances on stage that should please all Cher fans.
You may know Absinthe as the green alcoholic drink that knocks you right off your feet, but the Absinthe in Vegas is way more than a glass of intoxication.
Unassumingly located in the Roman Plaza (just steps from the front entrance of Caesars Palace), “Absinthe,” the show that will entertain, surprise, and might even push you on the edge of your seats (if you take it too seriously).
Moreover, Absinthe is an adults-only, circus-type show that features an impressive variety of productions with burlesque-type performances bordering on becoming too lewd with funny, fast-witted acts that will surely give you a laugh.
#3 Cirque Du Soleil
TripAdvisor’s top two most recommended shows to visit when in Las Vegas both come from Cirque Du Soleil. The play performs seven times a week featuring different fanciful worlds and extreme acrobatics that will entice the viewer’s imagination.
Among Cirque Du Soleil’s seven different shows, here are two of the most reviewed on TripAdvisor:
O: Is an aquatic-themed wonderland of surrealism, artistry, and romance during a performance of ‘O,’ one of the most sought-after and iconic Cirque du Soleil shows in Las Vegas. Combining a worldwide crew of synchronized swimmers, daring acrobats, and elegant divers, the show seamlessly transitions between the fantasy worlds above, on and below the water to produce a stunning spectacle, all housed inside an elegant theater similar to some of Europe’s grandest opera houses.
The Beatles: Celebrates the musical legacy of The Beatles during a performance of LOVE by Cirque du Soleil at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. This performance features the musical catalog of the Fab Four alongside special effects, freestyle dancing, and aerial acrobatics, offering an intimate chance to relive some of your favorite Beatles moments.
#4 Magic Mike Live
Described by The Hard Rock Hotel as “a sizzling 360-degree dance and acrobatic striptease spectacular guaranteed to bring on the heat,” Magic Mike Live at Las Vegas will get everyone screaming.
The 18 years old and above show is inspired by the Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL movie franchise that stars Hollywood hunk, Channing Tatum. Also, Tatum is genuinely part of the show. He will not be dancing, however, but this is his idea come to life.
Moreover, it will resemble Club Domina (the popular club where Tatum performs in the movie) and will include 13 extremely fit, barely-clothed men.
The show runs from Wednesday to Sunday weekly with each show running for 80 minutes each.
#5 Barry Manilow
Barry Manilow is making a comeback “through October 2019!”
Barry Manilow returns to Las Vegas for an exclusive residency show at the International Theater at Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. With an extensive back catalog, including over 50 Top 40 hits and 85 million albums sold worldwide.
There’s also an all-new stage design that’s touted to give his performance a new dynamic.
And The New Batman Is…
DC confirms today that Robert Pattinson will be playing Gotham City’s newBatman.
The news broke last week that DC was looking to cast Pattinson for the Batman role—that received a mix of support and outrage from the online community although it watered down when other stories told that DC was also considering to cast Nicholas Hoult, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Armie Hammer for the role.
With characters like Batman, production houses often walk on thin ice to cast suitable actors to play the role. They don’t only have to put into account the talent and skills an actor possesses but also how the audience would receive it.
Besides, Benn Affleck’s 2016 ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ and 2017 ‘Justice League,’ both received mixed reviews and shown to be a disappointment for Warner Bros. with both failed to compete against the MCU—that earned a billion dollars in its Avengers 1 movie.
Also, Pattinson will be following after other Batman icons, Michael Keaton (for 1989’s Batman and 1992’s Batman Returns), Val Kilmer (for 1995’s Batman Forever), George Clooney (for 1997’s Batman & Robin), and Christian Bale (for the Dark Knight trilogy spanning from 2005 to 2012).
Amidst immense opinions regarding Pattinson’s consideration for the role, Scott Dickerson — Marvel’s Doctor Strange director — gave his sign of approval on Twitter saying that Pattinson would be a “remarkable actor and an outstanding choice.”
Moreover, Matt Reeves, the filmmaker behind the last two ‘Planet of the Apes’ sequels, will produce and direct the 2021 Batman movie alongside his ‘Planet of the Apes’ collaborator Dylan Clark. Reeves, also assumed ‘Batman’ directing duties from Ben Affleck in January 2017.
Reports indicate that Pattinson’s ‘The Batman’ would be a fresh take on the Caped Crusader. Fandom on Twitter released the photo above, showing that the 2021 Batman sets in the 1990s — where he’ll face villains like Catwoman, Riddler, and The Penguin. Other characters such as Commissioner Gordon and Alfred should also be expected.
Also, Pattinson will most likely sign for a 3-movie deal with the DCU that will tackle Bruce Wayne’s younger years as the Gotham crime fighter. However, while the plot and further details are still under wraps, fandom suggests that it will not be an origin story.
Moreover, “it’s very much a point of view-driven, noir Batman tale,” Reeves told THR. “It’s told very squarely on his shoulders, and I hope it’s going to be a story that will be thrilling but also emotional. It’s more Batman in his detective mode than we’ve seen in the films. The comics have a history of that.”
“He’s supposed to be the world’s greatest detective, and that’s not necessarily been a part of what the movies have been,” the director continued. “I’d love this to be one where when we go on that journey of tracking down the criminals and trying to solve a crime, it’s going to allow his character to have an arc so that he can go through a transformation.”
Furthermore, Forbes reported that rumors include Robin — Batman’s crime-fighting sidekick — would also be part of the cast in 2021′ ‘The Batman.’ It would be most likely since the story’s believed to be surrounding Bruce Wayne’s earlier years into being Gotham City’s protector.
Pattinson initially grew popularity in his role as vampire Edward Cullen in the five-film “Twilight” franchise alongside Kristen Stewart’s Bella Swan. But he was also seen in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” with his role as Cedric Diggory.
This year, Pattinson will also star in Christopher Nolan’s latest film, ‘Tenet,’ with John David Washington — set to open July 17, 2020. Also, ‘The Lighthouse,’ which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, and appeared in Claire Denis’ ‘High Life,’ ‘The King’ for Netflix, ‘Waiting for the Barbarians,’ and ‘The Lost City of Z.’
Although no production start date is announced yet, the studio is expected to start pre-production this summer (which suggests filming will begin late this year or early 2020), according to Rotten Tomatoes.
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