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Calliopenjo
05-04-2009, 08:58 PM
Hi there,

Is it possible to create a computer virus to take information from another computer before destroying it? Can it be programmed with a delay? Let's say it was set to destroy the computer in two days after initiation. Is that possible? Any information you provide me will help. Thanks. :D

hammerklavier
05-05-2009, 05:05 AM
Absolutely... but what exactly do you mean by destroying the computer? Apart from a couple exceptions in the 'early days', viruses cannot physically harm a computer. It could reformat your hard drive, or encrypt your data; besides those sorts of things someone would have to plant some sort of device in the computer for the virus to activate.

cbenoi1
05-05-2009, 05:54 AM
Many viruses today do exactly that: steal information and erase the hard disk.

If you are looking for physically destroying a computer, then there are a few things you can do.

You could reprogram the the video card refresh rate and resolution so that the monitor's flyback transistors bust over time (a very high pitch sound is a tell-tale). And even that won't work with all monitors; only the oldest models. Forget about a big Kaboom a la Bugs Bunny. Just a black screen.

Then you can reprogram the BIOS. Most computers today use reprogrammable flash memory chips instead of ROM for containing the BIOS (Basic I/O System). If the computer doesn't have a physical lock, it's a matter of running a small application and everything is gone at the next boot. You'd need to take the computer to the repair shop to get it to work. Again, not all computers would allow that.

Then there is overclocking both the CPU and the GPU. By boosting the clock speed, heat dissipation increases dramatically and unless you have upgraded your system with more powerful fans, you are looking at a 'Blue Screen of Death' on short order. Cycle this often and you may crack the chips beyond repair.

-cb

Calliopenjo
05-05-2009, 07:22 AM
What I have pictured to happen in my story is that a program is "snuck in" to a large corporations mainframe computer system. Nobody notices it because it just sits there doing nothing during the busy hours of the day. When the computers are turned off, the program activates itself copies everything in the corporation computers, downloads that information into another source, then when all of the information is taken, the corporations computer system slowly gets infected. The computers become inoperable erasing all of the memory leaving them with a happy face and a message. Is this conceivable?

Thank you for that information so far. It does help.

Willowmound
05-06-2009, 04:13 PM
If the computer is actually turned off, a virus can do nothing. A virus is a computer program, and the computer has to be on in order to run it.

That said, a corporation's mainframe isn't likely ever to be turned off. What you describe, then, is possible. But it would have to be some sneaky code to get past the mainframe's anti-virus systems.

Note on terms: sending information is called uploading; retrieving information is called downloading.

Calliopenjo
05-07-2009, 12:43 AM
Thank you. (Hugs and kisses to everyone. :Hug2:)

Williebee
05-07-2009, 12:57 AM
If the computer is actually turned off, a virus can do nothing.

Calli -- what they said, with an addendum to what's quoted above.

These days most computers sold have network cards that include a "Wake On Lan" function. In other words, as long as the office workstation has power, the computer can be turned on, via the network wire & a command issued to the network card.

At that point, you are back to corrupting, disrupting, and leaving them all with smiley faces. If you are talented, and a series of computers was in a large open area, with row after row of open desks (no fake wall cubicles), you could make each machine display a letter, so that the wall of computers spells out "Y O U R 'E S C R E W E D." or some such.

ETA: And even the most diligent network guy get's nailed now and again. (I'm on day two of virus combat. I have a couple machines from the network that have swine flu -- that is, some pig gave a couple of my machines a virus.) :)