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Viruses and hardware

By Ravenhawk ·
This may seem like a silly question but I just want to get support from the outside.

I have a user who was told that his system had a virus and now needs to replace the motherboard.
In my seven/eight years of being in IT I have yet to hear of a virus that can attack hardware. Yet he doesn't believe me.
I told him a virus is a software program/macro and cannot harm the hardware (outside of corrupting the harddrive but not physically harming it).
Any websites that anyone knows I can reference?

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Viruses and hardware

There was a Virus a while ago that attacked the Firmware in the computer so you had to replace all the Drives M'Board and other things that where Plug & Play with Firmware on them.

I never actually saw it but I think I read about it on the Symantec site and it was a very long time ago. If the unit will boot the M'Board doesn't need replacing. But it could be an insurance Scam. I don't know about that one but I'd ask first.


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by TheChas In reply to Viruses and hardware

While rare, there have been viruses that infect both the CMOS and Flash memory used for the BIOS and BIOS settings.

If it is a BIOS level virus, you can sometimes clean it out by clearing the CMOS and flashing the BIOS.

1 way to ensure removing a BIOS level virus is to flash the BIOS ROM on a PROM burner. That way, you are not booting an infected system.

Still, for most users it is safer and simpler to just replace an infected motherboard.

It is possible for a virus to infect ANY device that has a long term storage device. Be it flash memory or a micro-drive. Any device that is field programmable can potentially be over-written with infected code.


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