Hardware Viruses
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Thread: Hardware Viruses

  1. #1
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    Hardware Viruses

    Okay so nihil just recently informed me of the CIH virus which I was currently unaware of. What this virus does is

    1.) Overights the first meg of you hardrive causing data loss and in some cases, causes your bios to not load that drive
    2.) It attempts to dump data into the BIOS thus basically destorying a end-users pc.

    Well I have been researching this idea, and I have found many viruses that attempt to flash the bios, but I was thinking about other methods as well.

    I found another one called Beast 4 that causes the CD-Rom drive to open and close repeatadly during 9 pm to 6- am. This, if unchecked, would no doubt destroy the drive. More info here
    http://www3.ca.com/securityadvisor/v...s.aspx?id=3244

    So what else could be done with a hardware virus? Fast resolution changes of one's monitor eventually burning it out is one possibility. Production of insanely high or low tones to destory speakers is another. For computers that have software to controll their fans, what about stopping those, or jacking there speed up to ungodly levels? How about the printer? A neverending "echo" command to the local printer and before to long all your ink is gone. These are some ideas I found on the internet. I haven't actually seen a viruse exploit these, but they are all feasable and probobly not that hard to produce. I thought it would be fun to have a little discussion on hardware viruese and just how far they could go to actually "destorying" a computer.
    You shall no longer take things at second or third hand,
    nor look through the eyes of the dead...You shall listen to all
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  2. #2
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    Indeed, the possibilities are not exactly limited.
    The thing of the printer is kinda useless actually, if one notices his printer suddenly starts printing unrequested stuff he can simply detach it. I hadn't heard yet of software that allows you to control your fans (I'm not exactly a modding/hardware freak so), if so this is definitly something a virus could exploit. Some research and some messing around makes it not difficult to control most of these things.
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  3. #3
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    The monitor burning out may work as I don't know about the brand new monitors, but the old ones don't have any protection that I know of. The fan thing probably wouldn't work because all motherboards nowadays have a heat sensor that shuts the computer off if the temperature goes too high. If a virus made your computer shut down several times for heat or any other reason it would throw a flag up at an average computer user.

  4. #4
    AO French Antique News Whore
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    More possibility are.

    1) CPU tester got a software name CPU Burner that goal is to make a CPU Temp raise! This is done to test cooling system like Thermaltake. ( http://users.bigpond.net.au/cpuburn/ )

    2) Make the HardDisk spin forever.

    3) Video card CPU Burner.. Never saw one but could happen sometime.
    -Simon \"SDK\"

  5. #5
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    I think you'd want to talk to some computer hardware/modding/overclocking forum if you think that benchmarks like 3d Mark 2003 are a virus. Sure it can bring computers down a lot if the user's cooling system isn't good enough, but in most cases these stress tests allow you to bring the computer into "safe" territory. So I guess it could be a double edged sword

    If we're talking about destroying hardware...

    1) How about having some virus powering off and powering on the computer as fast as possible? Judging from BOFH, a PSU can only stand that about 20 times before deciding to blow up.

    2) And there is a virus or something that is capable of doing physical damage to a hard disk. It happens to be a batch script also, and with some weird thing it causes the write heads to drag. I think it is called Harddisk Killer or something? But the website has to work "hack" in the URL...

    3) And lastly, most people may realize that CD-ROM drives are rated to 48x at the most. Why? Because above that most CD's will self-destruct under the forces created at those super-high RPMs. So if a virus made the CD-ROM drive spin at about 35,000RPM, most CD's would destroy themselves, and the shrapenal might destroy other stuff, or even break through the front panel to injure the user...

  6. #6
    King Arana: Super Moderator
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    Hard Drive Killer Pro, Tim_Axe? Or Hard Disk Killer? I think I know what your talking about. Alot of these type's of virii become more common in network-based attacks and the determination to do more a physical damage to the victim's computer than anything else (stealing files, etc). It's amazing some of the thing's they could do (e.g: messing with the heating/cooling, hard drive, etc to get it to screw up).

    I found another one called Beast 4 that causes the CD-Rom drive to open and close repeatadly during 9 pm to 6- am. This, if unchecked, would no doubt destroy the drive.
    Haha wow, really? Damn.. that's something else. Oh well, too bad I'm online virtually all the time and would notice
    Space For Rent.. =]

  7. #7
    The Doctor Und3ertak3r's Avatar
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    There is one that has been overlooked..RAM Burner.. Toggles various memlocations at full bus speed.. and the closer the memcells are to each other, the quicker the heating and the death of the mem stick..
    HAd a few machines with dead memory, and the HDD in need of a full course of PC-Cillen (pun intended)..
    Don't forget about how Malware can "Lock" the HDD..
    An once that is done..the BIOS.. have had bad data written to the CMOS, this will cause odd problems, including prevention of installation of an OS..(a common Anti-Windows prog..lol)
    And of course the re-flashed BIOS.. have recovered 1 out of 7 that I have encountered..

    hmm, Stuffed BIOS, Boiled CPU, Fried RAM, Jambed HDD, Toasted Video Card.. sound more like a meal than a computer


    Cheers
    "Consumer technology now exceeds the average persons ability to comprehend how to use it..give up hope of them being able to understand how it works." - Me http://www.cybercrypt.co.nr

  8. #8
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    hmm, Stuffed BIOS, Boiled CPU, Fried RAM, Jambed HDD, Toasted Video Card.. sound more like a meal than a computer.
    .. would you like some Fried RAM with your Stuffed BIOS, sir ?

  9. #9
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    Tim_axe, how can a batch file control the heads of a hardrive? I looked the virus up that you cited and it doesn't do anything of the sort. If you can remember the name of the one you are thinking of then I would like to see it. I just don't see how a virus can mess with the heads of the hardrive, I thought that the hardrive had a "Physical Lock" on how far the heads could go.

    The power on and off virus would kinda be like the printer one, it would be really easy to notice. Plus, the computer would have to at least enter the OS before this happened because I don't think that someone could plant a script like that in the bios. But if it tried to make the program run at a certain time...say 2:00 am, then that would most definately work. And would only take about 20 times like you said before the powersupply said "Ow!"

    For the cd-rom spinning at ungodly speeds, how could you actually push that further than its preset speed. I thouhgt the speeds where set in the firmware? Maybe I am wrong. If you can find a proof of concept, I would love to see it.

    Finally, as for the heat issue, I thought about that too. Most bioses have placed a limit on this also haven't they? I don't think that anything too much more than 12 volts can reach the cpu. But this is definately an option too.
    You shall no longer take things at second or third hand,
    nor look through the eyes of the dead...You shall listen to all
    sides and filter them for your self.
    -Walt Whitman-

  10. #10
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    Some people have changed the firmware version of their CD-ROM drives to match those of a "faster" cd-rom drive that was mechanically similar. I don't remember the model/make of the CD-ROM drives this was done with, but I think it was a Lite-On or Plextor drive where one could burn CD-R's at 40x or so, and another at 48x. Physically they were the same, and that is why it was possible. I guess that if there was a virus that could do this (unlikely), it would probably run into mechanical limits such as how fast the motor is acturally able to spin the disc, and compatibility of firmwares...

    The website I was mentioning with the HDD Killer was "Hackology" (IIRC). They claimed their program would destory/trash a hard drive, and I'm not going to try it on my own drive to verify their claims. They offered two versions, *.BAT, and a compiled *.EXE. They said they had no idea how damage occured, but it somehow did. I wasn't going to run this on any of my machines, or anybody else's, because I wouldn't want a paperweight. So I am going off of what these people claimed, rather than risk having a paperweight. I have no idea if the website is still online, as I haven't visited it in about 3 years.

    Another way to stress a HDD, that is probably easier for a virus to do, is to bring the HDD into and out of power-save (idle) state as much as possible. It could probably be done through power-save features in Windows, ie setting HDD idle time to 1 min (or somehow less). I have no idea about *nix and HDD powerstates, although *nix should support them. Usually after so many times of spinning up (most stressful HDD event) and spinning down, it might get hot or the motor might decide it had enough. I don't know of any viri that does this though.


    And instead of overpowering a CPU, it *might* be more effective to underpower it. (User is confused as to why no smoke, yet instable.) In overclocking, the more voltage your CPU gets, the more stable it is. Of course it generates much more heat as a result, and has more power consumption (wattage). Without enough power, the CPU is unstable at higher clock frequencies. I have no idea if this can be controlled after the POST/BIOS, although I have heard it is possible to control the FSB of some nForce2 motherboards from within Windows. "CPUMSR" can do this per processor. It is a processor overclocking utility from within Windows. And some settings it can change have crashed my usually stable PC. If a virus went and set some of these things to weird settings, it is pretty easy to crash a computer.

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