Spyware, Viruses, & Security forum


Possible BIOS Virus Infection?

by ZoddTheImmortal / October 3, 2012 5:32 PM PDT

I'm looking for some advice regarding what course of action to take. First the story:

I came home today and my computer booted up to the motherboard screen, but wouldn't go beyond it. After a little troubleshooting, I came to two seemingly likely solutions. A. My motherboard is fried. B. My HDD is dead. I was leaning more towards A considering there was no message indicating that it could not locate a boot device, and no beep codes or anything of that nature. So I decided to test it by plugging my HDD into my friends pc. Now his PC won't boot either, except his wont even produce an image on the monitor. I forgot to mention, that my computer seems to be frozen at the motherboard startup screen, as I cannot enter BIOS settings or anything else from there. I thought maybe it was because of my USB wired keyboard, but I tried it with a converter and plugged it into the old fashioned keyboard slot with the same result. I also used this keyboard to setup everything initially when I built this computer, so it should function.

So since the HDD appears to have killed my friends computer as well, I started considering the possibility that I had contracted a BIOS virus that spread from my HDD to his motherboards BIOS. Stupidly, I also plugged his original HDD back in and tried to boot to see if it would work, so I can only assume that is also infected. I tried removing the power cord from both computers, and removing the CMOS battery for about an hour, and after plugging it all back in, the results are the same. My motherboard did begin doing its usual start up beep after that though, but I still cannot access the BIOS menu. My friends computer is remains a black screen.

So my first question is basically do you think it's likely that I have a BIOS virus or are there other more likely explanations? I realize they are very rare, but at this point, all other explanations I can think of seem less likely.

And if I do, I am seeking advice on correcting it. I was considering just buying new motherboards and hdds, but I am worried that the virus may have spread to other hardware, such as the video card. I read that these types of viruses can hide themselves in the BIOS of multiple pieces of hardware, and I'd hate to replace the MB and HDD only to have it reinfected by the video card... there's not really any way I can think to test it without risking annihilating more hardware. And since my friends computer will no longer produce any video, I was thinking maybe his card had become infected then, and perhaps mine being newer had some type of defense against it, as I have read newer hardwares have been making efforts to prevent these kinds of attacks. The lack of video could also just be differences in how our motherboards are handling the infection though I suppose. Anyone have any thoughts on courses of action? I could always take it in somewhere and have professionals risk their equipment, but I'd hate to pay them just to tell me I need to buy new parts, considering I'm already going to likely be dishing out money for new parts -.-'

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All Answers

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Pretty rare issue.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 4, 2012 2:40 AM PDT
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That doesn't really help...
by ZoddTheImmortal / October 4, 2012 3:57 AM PDT

This computer is only a year old, and I take great care of it, I'm not the statistically average user. I honestly wish it was just a dead piece of equipment because I could easily troubleshoot and replace it. I don't think the motherboard is dead, I think it's BIOS has been overwritten, which is almost as good as dead. The HDD's are also likely compromised, although I think I could potentially repair those through linux and by hooking them up as a slave drive.

I realize how rare these types of viruses are, but back in 2005, my old computer also caught a virus of this nature. A computer security "specialist" checked it out for me, and confirmed that was the case back then, so it's not that impossible.

Failing equipment doesn't explain how connecting my HDD to another computer also rendered that computer's motherboard no longer functioning as well, unless a short in the HDD somehow traveled through the SATA cable, and instead of just frying the HDD port, went even further and destroyed the entire motherboard, which I'm not even sure is possible, especially because my motherboard has many fail safes for dealing with power surges.

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That's why
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 4, 2012 6:39 AM PDT

Details matter. While it is possible I'm finding folk call the cause a virus and derail any conversation about recovering or repairing their PC.

For example, if you had written details such as the motherboard is the Azert MT-9 I could check if it had a bios recovery system.

As to those fail safes, I continue to see wiped out PCs as the power supply fails (mostly home built that folk overtaxed the PSU) and this failure can be catastrophic.

If you want to discuss PC repair there's a lot to cover. But as presented here, if your machine was hit with such it's so rare that most won't believe it. Not that I will write either way but it appears you think this affects how to recover. It doesn't.

-> The bad thing about such a virus is that I find the owner usually has repeating events. It's like that Torrent user. They get burned dozens of times until they learn. Maybe you have a reason to suspect a virus such as you were using crack software but it really does not matter. Recovery is the same.

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by ZoddTheImmortal / October 4, 2012 8:54 AM PDT
In reply to: That's why

I understand why you assume I don't know what I am talking about, but you haven't offered an explanation as to why every motherboard my HDD connects to becomes nonfunctional. I'm asking for other ideas as to why that would happen, but so far everything you've suggested would have nothing to do with that most important fact. That important fact is the ONLY reason I suspect it is a virus.

As for the details, just ask for them. The first motherboard is a GIGABYTE GA-970A-UD3 AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard. The second I cannot check at the moment. I've done some research and it appears my motherboard has the dual bios feature, whether or not I can utilize it without physically swapping out the BIOS chips though is another story, since I cannot even access my BIOS settings.

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Let's clear the air.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 4, 2012 11:06 AM PDT
In reply to: Details

I'd love to help. It's not that I don't believe you but such is rare. I've seen such in the past it came down to the PSU or faulty motherboard. Sadly the owner didn't believe so we handed the machine back and sent them on their way. What else can you do?

We showed the fault using an Oscilloscope but they were adamant that because the supply was fine for years, it could not be that.

-> It's time to exercise the warranty on the board since it's to the point you can't get to the BIOS.

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by ZoddTheImmortal / October 4, 2012 1:32 PM PDT
In reply to: Let's clear the air.
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