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Malware Made Real

Romanian visual artist Alex Dragulescu has created a series of images depicting malware, under a commission from MessageLabs, a communications security company. The results are stunning because they sustain the expectation that malicious code is somehow alive.
Romanian visual artist Alex Dragulescu has created a series of images depicting malware, under a commission from MessageLabs, a communications security company. The results are stunning because they sustain the expectation that malicious code is somehow alive.

Dragulescu uses algorithms and data culled from blogs, spam, and other computer files as his raw materials. For the MessageLabs commission, he developed images using actual malware code."For each piece of disassembled code, API calls, memory addresses, and subroutines are tracked and analyzed," Dragulescu explains on his site. "Their frequency, density, and grouping are mapped to the inputs of an algorithm that grows a virtual 3-D entity. Therefore, the patterns and rhythms found in the data drive the configuration of the artificial organism."

We talk about computer viruses as if they are biological viruses. They're not, of course, but if they were organic entities, this is how they might be expected to look under a microscope.

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