Malware Museum: Visit Retro Viruses In Your Browser


This Future Is Disappointing, Part #87: modern computer viruses are rubbish. Back when it were trees as far as the eye could see, a computer virus played silly noises and animations while it wiped your files. Now they silently perv on your webcam, steal your passwords, and use your PC to mine Bitcoins and knock game servers offline.

Treat yourself today to some vintage viruses with a virtual visit to The Malware Museum. It’s a collection of ’80s and ’90s viruses and malware which run safely in your browser, with loads of colourful animations, bleepy music, and ‘greets’ to ‘crews’.

You might want to imagine the terror of having your PC send out a wailing ambulance or set DOS on fire, having it encourage you to smoke jazz cigarettes or bleep the State Anthem of the Soviet Union. Some draw pretty pictures and some draw trippy pictures, man. Some are really into techno. Some have cool bouncy balls.

My two favourites are Disk Destroyer, which threatens to delete your files but will let you play a one-armed bandit to save them, and CRASH.COM, which is the colourful gibberish that movies have led me to want in a virus (here’s a short burst).

But which do you like best? Go have a look! It’s all perfectly safe, don’t worry: they’ve been defanged and run inside a DOSBox emulation, so there’s no risk of them infecting your own floppy disks. You can also download them as souvenirs.

The Malware Museum is a collaboration between Jason Scott, curator of the excellent TEXTFILES.COM and opener of the Infocom cabinet (among other things), and security expert Mikko Hypponen.

And it's beautiful in motion!


  1. Sin Vega says:

    Some of these remind me of those old amiga crack intros. The one for Mortal Kombat 2 was mesmerising once you got rid of the text full of meaningless names and addresses in Sweden.

    Glitches were great back then, too. As in, terrifying graphical abominations that had me convinced that some living monstrosity was devouring my computer’s insides.

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      alison says:

      The best cracktro i remember was for a game that i don’t even remember what it was, but i loved the music so much i loaded the cracktro and just left it there watching the raster bars for hours. Then i transposed it to guitar. I still have the handwritten tab somewhere. Years later, on a retro gaming kick, i discovered that the music was J Dave Rogers’ theme to Stormlord. Best chip artist ever. Zynaps, Cybernoid 2, Netherworld. I even bought a DIY AY chip synth because of him. I could never make it sing like that.

  2. aleander says:

    Ancient versions of mks_vir, a polish virus scanner, contained a “virus library”, where you could read descriptions of known viruses, and, for some of theme, watch the demos. I loved it, and I was sorely disappointed when I found out more modern software didn’t do it :(

  3. bbankrablo says:

    Now the main question is:
    Does anyone won back his hard drive in jackpot? :D

  4. JaminBob says:

    Arggh. Dosbox runs fine through a browser on an android phone… The future hurts my head.

    These lovely viri though I can understand them. Lovely retro awesomeness.

  5. cpt_freakout says:

    The world just became a more awesome place. Thanks for the link!

  6. corinoco says:

    I love the old ‘greetz’ to ‘crewz’. I also liked when, waaaay back when the internet was new and shiny, and the ‘crewz’ didn’t quite yet know how to write HMTL, the ‘nfo’ ‘filez’ used to have things like:


    in among the 1337-ascii art. It was laughable, even then. I always used to wonder how much ‘cred’ and ‘rispec’ they got from that.