LinuxQuestions.org
Visit the LQ Articles and Editorials section
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Security
User Name
Password
Linux - Security This forum is for all security related questions.
Questions, tips, system compromises, firewalls, etc. are all included here.

Notices

Reply
 
Search this Thread
Old 12-19-2007, 05:26 PM   #1
Txabuzer
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Aug 2005
Location: Lake Forest, Ca.
Distribution: PCLinuxOS
Posts: 24

Rep: Reputation: 15
Virus destroys hard drive ?


I hope I'm putting this thread in the right place, I just have three general questions.
1) Is a hard drive unusable after a virus attack or can it be wiped , say with knoppix, and reused?
2) Basically the same question with the BIOS can they be flashed
3) Now that Linux seems to be more popular, how much does a linux user have to worry about. Right now I'm not using a virus scan, Ive had problems with clamav in the past
 
Old 12-19-2007, 05:48 PM   #2
pljvaldez
Guru
 
Registered: Dec 2005
Location: Somewhere on the String
Distribution: Debian Squeeze (x86)
Posts: 6,092

Rep: Reputation: 269Reputation: 269Reputation: 269
1) You should be able to totally wipe a drive and use it again. I typically just use shred from a live CD to securely wipe the drive. I'm not a virus expert, but I suppose it's possible for a virus to do something in the OS software to cause physical damage to the drive (but I've never seen this).

2) You can flash a BIOS any time. Some manufacturers only offer the flash programs to be run from Windows. I've run some of them from a FreeDOS live CD, though. Other times I've just installed an old copy of windows just to flash the BIOS. If the flash fails, it's possible to brick the machine (i.e. render it as useful as a brick) so generally you shouldn't flash the bios unless there's some problem or a new feature you need.

3) Typically I run a linux antivirus program just to keep me from passing on viruses other people might email me to poor unsuspecting Windows users. But Windows viruses don't work on linux, so it's generally considered unnecessary.
 
Old 12-19-2007, 05:52 PM   #3
win32sux
Guru
 
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Los Angeles
Distribution: Ubuntu
Posts: 9,870

Rep: Reputation: 371Reputation: 371Reputation: 371Reputation: 371
Quote:
Originally Posted by Txabuzer View Post
1) Is a hard drive unusable after a virus attack or can it be wiped , say with knoppix, and reused?
As with everything, there are always exceptions. But generally speaking, wiping the drive will completely eliminate the virus threat. BTW, by "wipe" I don't mean a format - I mean using something like dban to be thorough.

Quote:
2) Basically the same question with the BIOS can they be flashed
I think this is extremely manufacturer-specific.

Quote:
3) Now that Linux seems to be more popular, how much does a linux user have to worry about. Right now I'm not using a virus scan, Ive had problems with clamav in the past
Please see the GNU/Linux Antivirus Megathread which is stickied at the top of this forum. Feel free to ask the same question there if you want, but please do try to read as much of it as possible. This question has been asked many, many, many times before. There is no consensual answer. IMHO your best bet is to do some research and then make up your own mind.

Last edited by win32sux; 12-19-2007 at 06:10 PM.
 
Old 12-19-2007, 06:04 PM   #4
unSpawn
Moderator
 
Registered: May 2001
Posts: 26,988
Blog Entries: 54

Rep: Reputation: 2743Reputation: 2743Reputation: 2743Reputation: 2743Reputation: 2743Reputation: 2743Reputation: 2743Reputation: 2743Reputation: 2743Reputation: 2743Reputation: 2743
Quote:
Originally Posted by Txabuzer View Post
Now that Linux seems to be more popular, how much does a linux user have to worry about.
I count ten GNU/Linux virus items. Nine of them are "proof of concept" code and it's unlikely you'll ever encounter them In The Wild. Viruses are not our problem. Our problems are lack of (admin) knowledge because it leads to for example misconfiguration of services or configuring weak access restrictions which could allow for loopholes to be exploited. Next tot that there's people who don't update or don't audit, and then there's bots, kernel vulnerabilities, userland SW exploits, trojans and root kits. Kinda sums it up I think.
 
Old 12-19-2007, 06:08 PM   #5
dracolich
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jul 2005
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 1,173

Rep: Reputation: 47
I've always been under the impression that a virus cannot cause physical damage to a disk. There was an email going around recently warning about one, but a quick search proved it to be a hoax.

I've never heard of a virus that can erase or replace a mobo's BIOS. Deep in my brain I seem to recall mention (a long time ago) of one or more that could change some values making the system unbootable. If that happened you could use the mobo's jumper to clear the CMOS and reload the defaults.

As long as you login and work as your regular user and not as root you should be ok and only have to worry about files that your user has access to. You could use an antivirus program for peace of mind and to protect Windows users that you share files with. By design, Linux and the way it handles permissions makes it more resistant to viruses and malware. Also, open source makes it hard for malicious code to hide in a program because it will be found soon, made public and patched. There's no private team of 10 programmers behind a closed door, deciding which holes to fix and waiting until the second Tuesday of the month to release the patches.
 
Old 12-19-2007, 06:21 PM   #6
Txabuzer
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Aug 2005
Location: Lake Forest, Ca.
Distribution: PCLinuxOS
Posts: 24

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Thanks for all the great info and man four replies in three minutes awesome.
And thanks for that link win32sux, I didnt know there was a difference between wiping and refomating.
Happy Holidays all
John
 
Old 12-20-2007, 03:59 PM   #7
Dox Systems - Brian
Member
 
Registered: Nov 2006
Posts: 344

Rep: Reputation: 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by dracolich View Post
I've always been under the impression that a virus cannot cause physical damage to a disk. There was an email going around recently warning about one, but a quick search proved it to be a hoax.
There was a virus that supposedly would do that, way back in the DOS days, right after the switchover from stepper motor to voice coil drives. The original voice coil drives did NOT know what the upper cylinder number was and you could cause them to scan across the surface, not finding the proper cylinder, until they'd hit the hard stop. There was a virus that exploited that fact by repeatedly seeking outside the hardware cylinder limits. Whether or not it actually caused any drives to fail, I don't know.
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Ubuntu: Installed to external hard drive; boot to primary hard drive gives error 22 dcorb62 Linux - General 7 09-04-2007 11:28 PM
Windows and linux on the same hard drive/computer destroys the HD? Sean Paul Linux - General 14 07-16-2006 12:26 PM
Mandrake Linux 9.2 Destroys CDROM Drive TheKnifeThrower Mandriva 116 11-06-2004 03:14 PM
Computer destroys hard drive after two weeks andreseso Linux - Hardware 10 12-11-2003 02:09 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:34 PM.

Main Menu
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
identi.ca: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration