Photos: Beautiful but scary cyberthreats

Romanian artist Alex Dragulescu uses code to create art from some of the world's most dangerous cyberthreats.

James Martin
1 of 10 James Martin/CNET

Infected Art show at Press Club in San Francisco

The RSA Conference being held in San Francisco, Calif., this week is bringing together information security professionals to discuss the most dangerous cyberthreats looming beneath our fingertips. At the Press Club on Wednesday evening, artist Alex Dragulescu debuted his new artwork depicting computational representations of code which, while dangerous, can also be beautiful.
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Using actual code from these dangerous viruses, with help collecting them from cybersecurity firm MessageLabs, Dragulescu gives us a look at codes that have wreaked havoc around the world. In early 2004, the MyDoom e-mail worm was said to have infected 1 of every 12 e-mails worldwide.
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Rogueware Spysheriff

Fake anti-spyware program Rogueware Spysheriff will slow a computer and display pop-up ads. After MessageLabs intercepted these codes and diffused them so they were rendered inoperative, Dragulescu built an application to analyze them and used their values to create 3D visualizations.
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These 3D models are then manipulated with modeling software to best capture the unique patterns and aesthetics of the code visualizations. Installer Trojan Cutwail, also known as Pushdo and Pandex, is currently one of the world's largest botnets, controlling more than one million active bots.
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Information-gathering Trojan PWS-Lineage is a class of malware that steals passwords.
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DegreesDiploma5 arrives in your in-box as spam, promoting university degrees.
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The Parite virus

The Parite virus infects host files and drops executable malware.
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This non-threat image, BoundaryEncryption1, is a visual representation of 15,000 e-mails sent and received through MessageLabs Boundary Encryption service.
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EmailArchive1 shows archived e-mails, which are represented by three-dimensional "voxels," where the data size of the e-mail is proportional to the volume of the voxel. The most recent e-mails are stored on the blue surface of the sphere and older e-mails are stored toward the core.
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EmailContinuity1 illustrates e-mail frequency and volume data as an arc from sender to recipient. The objects around the edge represent e-mail in-boxes, and their size represents the size of their data in an e-mail. The arcs represent internal and external e-mail communication, with the faded arcs denoting older e-mails, and the brighter arcs representing more recent messages.

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