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Thread: are there any alternatives to the bios ?

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    are there any alternatives to the bios ?

    are there any alternatives to the bios ?

    hi, i know about efi, however, i was wondering, if we have an older machine pre 2010, are there any alternatives to using the bios ?

    i was thinking this as i was thinking of getting a 2nd hand pc, and was wondering about bios viruses

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    Re: are there any alternatives to the bios ?

    No. Why are you worrying about BIOS viruses anyway - they're extremely uncommon?

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    Re: are there any alternatives to the bios ?

    well.... we can say they are uncommonly detected at least. we don't know how common they are....

    i'm also wondering whether bios viruses can access data that's on the main hard disk

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    Re: are there any alternatives to the bios ?

    Yes, a BIOS virus could access your hard disk. Yes, wiping the hard disk and starting again would not get rid of the BIOS virus.

    No, there's nothing you can do about the BIOS. However, the only vector to get at the BIOS to infect it in the first place, is the OS - so keep that secure, and remember that there are much easier ways of rooting a machine, so BIOS viruses are considered pretty rare.
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    Re: are there any alternatives to the bios ?

    I've never even heard of a BIOS virus.

    I really wouldn't worry about it, why are you worried?

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    Re: are there any alternatives to the bios ?

    Most motherboard firmwares have a setting for locking the boot sector of the system drive for writes.
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    Re: are there any alternatives to the bios ?

    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeStorm View Post
    I've never even heard of a BIOS virus.

    I really wouldn't worry about it, why are you worried?
    They do exist at least in concept form:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BIOS#Virus_attacks

    And Mebromi was spotted in the wild:
    http://www.net-security.org/malware_news.php?id=2143

    Thing is, since a BIOS is specific and since flashing a BIOS is complex, I doubt these kind of viruses are common (for now). I think Award has a hook which the virus uses but in the future there might be a virus which first reads the current BIOS, modifies it and writes it back out. AFAIK the current ones just overwrite the BIOS with their malware version so unless the motherboard is the same they'll most likely brick the system.

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    Re: are there any alternatives to the bios ?

    Quote Originally Posted by kompukare View Post
    They do exist at least in concept form:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BIOS#Virus_attacks

    And Mebromi was spotted in the wild:
    http://www.net-security.org/malware_news.php?id=2143

    Thing is, since a BIOS is specific and since flashing a BIOS is complex, I doubt these kind of viruses are common (for now). I think Award has a hook which the virus uses but in the future there might be a virus which first reads the current BIOS, modifies it and writes it back out. AFAIK the current ones just overwrite the BIOS with their malware version so unless the motherboard is the same they'll most likely brick the system.
    I got the impression that the BIOS is modular, so the virus would have to know how to add its own module to the existing image and re-flash itself.

    My main thought though is why the hell would anyone actually bother? With so many Java & windows vulnerabilities out there, I can't see why any criminals would bother trying to do something hard when what they really want is an infected Windows install so they can grab key presses and control web pages, and that seems to much easier if you just stick to Windows.

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    Re: are there any alternatives to the bios ?

    Obligatory XKCD, loosely related to the subject: http://xkcd.com/1200/

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    Re: are there any alternatives to the bios ?

    i was actually thinking of purchasing a 2nd hand computer, and it occured to me that i can change the hard disk, but not the bios chip (or at least not as easily). a bios virus would be quite suited for 2nd hand purchases..

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    Re: are there any alternatives to the bios ?

    As DancesWithUnix pointed out though, not exactly a logical approach to spreading viruses.

    Considering the ease with which you can tempt average Joe to click on a dodgy link, why would you bother infecting motherboards with BIOS viruses, selling them on eBay, and then hoping to snag someone who presumably knows more about PCs and is more likely to spot what you've done?

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    Re: are there any alternatives to the bios ?

    Just reflash the BIOS - checksum it against the known checksum of the legit BIOS once complete if you're that paranoid.
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    Re: are there any alternatives to the bios ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Agent View Post
    Just reflash the BIOS - checksum it against the known checksum of the legit BIOS once complete if you're that paranoid.
    This. Bios files are available from manufacturers websites for a long time and could be re-flashed without a hard drive attached so no worries about data being skimmed.

    Probably worth flashing to the latest bios anyway as the one provided may well be out of date.

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    Re: are there any alternatives to the bios ?

    many thanks

    say with an old bios though, it appears there is no way to reflash it without the operating system (as the bios files are exe) - i actually have this dilemma at the moment as i wiped the operating system

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    Re: are there any alternatives to the bios ?

    Quote Originally Posted by arayan View Post
    many thanks

    say with an old bios though, it appears there is no way to reflash it without the operating system (as the bios files are exe) - i actually have this dilemma at the moment as i wiped the operating system
    Flash it from a DOS based environment. This is how you should do it anyway if the BIOS doesn't offer a utility to flash from within it.

    http://www.bootdisk.com/

    I'm at a loss why you're so worried about a BIOS level virus. These are the things of espionage for rogue states, not a 2nd hand home PC.
    Last edited by Agent; 11-06-2013 at 11:31 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    And by trying to force me to like small pants, they've alienated me.

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    Re: are there any alternatives to the bios ?

    i think bios viruses would be quite effective at doing what they did

    rogue state ? sir, have you seen the news lately .. ?

    many thanks for your answers . it's refreshing to be able to get some input on such matters

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