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How low can they go?


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#1
MagicMantis

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My friend got an email warning about a super virus that can render your hard drive inoperable.
Just thought I'd put this long pondered thought out on the examination table for the tech experts for some insight.

As a kid in high school we've all heard of the viruses that will make your computer catch on fire or cause a component to explode or some kind of expression of utter disaster.
So what is the reality of physical damage caused by software(viruses)?
I know that hard disks come with low level formatting on them. Is it possible for a virus to reformat this low level format or possible for a virus to permanently edit the BIOS?
How about a permanent spot on the previous installation of Windows that isn't overwritten?
Or those viruses that can hijack your motherboard causing components to burn out?

I've always been interested in viruses and how they work and studying the black hat master minds though never get the chance due to a full schedule of regular computer work and regular friendly programming.
Figured I'd start a discussion about it in hopes to gain a little knowledge in something I don't ever find time to study myself.
So does anyone have any thoughts?
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#2
Chopin

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Well I see you're already a GeekU freshman, that's a good step. You might want to post this in the private forum in the future, though, so it is responded to by more knowledgeable people.

As for the theory that viruses can make your computer catch on fire.... well I think it is possible, but it is incredibly unlikely. Viruses, trojans, worms, etc. are software. Software can do many things and perform a multitude of functions, but exploding a computer is over-exaggerated I would say.

A malware staff correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it is possible for a virus to format your disk drive(s).

How about a permanent spot on the previous installation of Windows that isn't overwritten?

I'm not sure what you mean?

If you have any other questions related to your training, feel free to post them in the GeekU forum. Oh, and welcome to GeekU :)
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#3
Tal

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Welcome to GeekU! :)

Like Fredil said, there is a limit to what software can do. Make your computer explode? Highly unlikely, unless you have a bomb planted and it's activated by software. However, some software CAN slow down your fans and make your computer get hot.

As for editing the BIOS... That would be complicated, since most viruses run on the Windows environment. You can't control the BIOS through Windows, it's not even booted when you get the single option to control it. It might be possible to inject a virus onto the BIOS chip by updating it or flashing it in some way, but I am not sure about this.

As for motherboard crashing viruses... I think that's incorrect :)
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#4
MagicMantis

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Thank you landlord and Fredil.
I guess this is one I should have posted somewhere a little more sheltered.
Just something I've always wondered for a long time now.
It seems I'll carry questions for months before I actually get an answer.
I've never had a computer job and don't have any friends who are into computers so I learn what is given to me by chance through
the public library and google.
It's like I've given up on looking for answers to my questions and have retreated to just patiently reading and maybe by chance some
will be answered in my studies.

I hope to get back into Geek U soon though my first attempt at a log was a crusher.
Thanks once again.
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#5
Tal

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You're welcome :)
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#6
Chopin

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What he said :)
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