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What can I do About a CPU Virus?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 16, 2024
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There is generally not much to be done about preventing a CPU virus, and in some cases, there isn’t much which can be done afterward. As of 2010, there are no circulating viruses which infect the CPU directly, and most anti-virus software is not designed to prevent or get rid of such viruses. Hackers and virus creators are still working on releasing these viruses into public circulation via the Internet, so anti-virus companies are working on new software programs to help detect viruses of the CPU.

The difference between a conventional computer virus and a CPU virus is that when a virus invades the CPU, it is invading the actual hardware of the computer rather than the software. This means that it could potentially lie undetected until a serious problem in the system occurs. Since there are none circulating yet, there is really no way to knowing what kinds of issues they could cause and whether or not regular anti-virus programs would be able to do anything about them.

If a CPU virus were to infect your computer, there may or may not be anything you can do to stop it. Should you catch it in time, you may be able to salvage part of your hard drive by replacing infected areas with new ones and finding a top quality anti-virus program. If enough of your computer’s hardware is damaged, though, it would likely be more economical to buy a new computer or hard drive.

Viruses that infect the CPU cause issues with hardware rather than the software you use, so actual components of the computer may become damaged. This means that rather than individual files or programs malfunctioning, you may have damaged parts of areas of the machine itself. This can be pricey to replace if not impossible.

The best way for you to prevent a CPU virus, if one should begin circulating, is to buy the best anti-virus software you can afford, and avoid opening files from senders you do not recognize. Do not download music, videos, or other items from peer to peer sites, as this are often teeming with viruses. You should also avoid purchasing “bootleg” copies of such items from anyone, since they are illegal and may also contain unwanted viruses.

If you were to come across a CPU virus, although rare, you should take your computer to someone who specializes in hardware repair, viruses, or both. He or she may be able to detect the infected areas and remove or replace them. For software viruses, you should use a reliable anti-virus software program to detect and quarantine any viruses your computer encounters.

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Discussion Comments
By anon980151 — On Dec 02, 2014

The CPU itself does not have a virus - it is being affected by an external means. It is not stored non-volitionally within the hardware.

Think of it as being attacked by someone with a knife. You do not have knife-u-titus, you have been stabbed.

This article is sensationalist mumbo-jumbo.

By anon968105 — On Aug 31, 2014

"I can understand the concept of exploiting CPU flaws to infect software, but damaging hardware? In what way?"

The software causes the CPU load to spike to 100 percent on all cores, and this drives up the heat in the hardware. In time, this will destroy the CPU, and even a small amount of such treatment will degrade the chip and reduce its lifespan.

By anon349595 — On Sep 27, 2013

It may overclock the cpu, stop cpu fans or write and format hdd or ssd continuously. It may destroy bios, but nowadays versions also have copies of bios that are hidden.

By anon147522 — On Jan 29, 2011

I can understand the concept of exploiting CPU flaws to infect software, but damaging hardware? In what way?

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