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Worm Freezes Laptop Fan, Overheats CPU

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 21 comments

Typically, when we think of a computer worm, we immediately think of a normal, code-based virus. If only that were the case. One gentleman's computer had a real, live worm, crawl into his laptop and do some serious damage.

The folks at Telegraph.co.uk tell the story of Mike Taylor, who recently began having computer troubles related to his laptop's cooling fan.  When Mike attempted to investigate the problem through an IT repairman, the two came across perhaps one of the most effective worms we've seen to date.  An actual worm had made its way through the cooling vents of the laptop, and up to the fan where it caused a complete cooling failure.

The worm itself was found wrapped around the fan, and was then cooked by the heat.  The fan never recovered though, which led to Taylor's computer issues.  Taylor believes that it was his cats that may have brought the worm in, and subsequently caused it to seek shelter.  No matter how the worm actually gained entry, the story is certainly one that Taylor can look forward to telling for years to come.

Of course, now we're expecting virus coders to come out with a virus that does exactly this.

Display 21 Comments.
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  • -2 Hide
    falchard , February 28, 2009 5:57 PM
    Where is the Van in a laptop? I cannot find one.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 28, 2009 6:12 PM
    its there...see the grey die-cast model?
  • 3 Hide
    joex444 , February 28, 2009 6:29 PM
    I'll blame you for virus writers who can program such things. They apparently have not thought of this yet, and there you go giving them ideas on how they should override the fans.

    Doesn't really matter, though, CPUs that get too hot simply clock down or halt. So you'd be left with a PC that starts up with a fan on, the OS loads with the virus and then fans shut off. Sounds suspicious already. After that, the PC simply slows down and shuts off, just like every other worm. Nothing new or inventive here. Plus easily detected.
  • -5 Hide
    curnel_D , February 28, 2009 6:57 PM
    This is impossible for alot of virus code, specially in desktop computers, as most hardware fans arent software controled. But in newer computers, it's possible to control the fans, but not usually under 600rpm, and even then if you do there are temp and fan alarms that will let you know something is going on.
  • -2 Hide
    m3kt3k , February 28, 2009 9:01 PM
    What if we infected real worms with a virus then dropped millions of them in parks and such to infect laptops? FRELL thats better the Sharks with lasers.
  • 2 Hide
    nukemaster , February 28, 2009 9:22 PM
    Nothing new. My aunt had to keep taking little geckos out of the computers in New Guinea since they kept trying to get into the power supplies and then die in the fan stopping it causing overheating in an already overheated part of the world. Screens later fixed this :p 

    That is to easy for the virus writers now. Thank god ALL current CPU's throttle or just shut off.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , February 28, 2009 10:55 PM
    Again nothing new...The term "computer bug" comes from the old days when bugs blocked the electromagnetic relays of electronic computers
  • 0 Hide
    apache_lives , March 1, 2009 6:18 AM
    heh iv had 2 repairs in 2 years where the native gecko's get into the power supplies of desktop pcs and literally "grill" them selves to death with heat and electricity - a dell PSU survived and an antec started to smoke then died because of it!
  • -1 Hide
    SneakySnake , March 1, 2009 1:35 PM
    true it is easily detectable but viruses are aimed towards the average computer that doesn't know haow to do much past doing reports in Word. For them this could be incredibly annoying and frustrating as they won't have any idea what is going on in there.
  • 0 Hide
    ag3nt smith , March 1, 2009 4:03 PM
    I feel sorry for that guy, and even worse for that worm. An experienced coder may be able to stop the fans; if they're controlled by some utility the chances of a coder being able to stop them are very likely. If you could get into BIOS you may be able to cause some damage there. But who really cares about stopping a fan? Buy a new one and maybe a new processor. Coders will go after your hard drive(s) since it contains your information, write a bunch of gibberish very quickly to the drive and you can effectively burn it out.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 1, 2009 6:12 PM
    If you dont want your computer to get worms, dont buy an Apple!
  • 0 Hide
    abbadon_34 , March 1, 2009 6:23 PM
    berk98If you dont want your computer to get worms, dont buy an Apple!


    +1 LOL
  • 0 Hide
    neonvii , March 1, 2009 10:05 PM
    berk98If you dont want your computer to get worms, dont buy an Apple!


    +2 LOL!!!!
  • 2 Hide
    peacock , March 2, 2009 12:32 AM
    berk98If you dont want your computer to get worms, dont buy an Apple!


    Your comment would have been so funny and smart, had the laptop been an Apple one. Too bad you didn't read the original article to see it was a normal Windows-based laptop. Technically speaking, since there are far fewer "worms" for OS X than there are for Windows, you should buy an Apple.

    Here's the point where you say "touche!"
  • 4 Hide
    ohim , March 2, 2009 7:49 AM
    peacockYour comment would have been so funny and smart, had the laptop been an Apple one. Too bad you didn't read the original article to see it was a normal Windows-based laptop. Technically speaking, since there are far fewer "worms" for OS X than there are for Windows, you should buy an Apple.Here's the point where you say "touche!"
    you guys still don`t get it, when a guy wants to make dmg he goes for the platform with the highest percent on market to make max damage... that would be Windows , so pray that your precious little Apple will never get a market share bigger than windows. Why should a coder bother to make a virus for macs if they are few and usualy used in environments like in media(video/photo/audio editing that don`t download too much stuff from the net) so the impact would be minimal. But i love the fanaticism in Linux and Apple users ;) 
  • 4 Hide
    matt2k , March 2, 2009 11:21 AM
    hmm, i think you guys should take that quote a little more literally. As in, apples, as a fruit, can sometimes have a worm or two.
    The reference to Apple would of course be intended. but nevertheless...

    Just a bit of light humour :) 
  • 0 Hide
    ecook , March 2, 2009 2:13 PM
    What I would like to know is the name of the Worm. Would be nice to know what its called.
  • 0 Hide
    ecook , March 2, 2009 2:14 PM
    ecookWhat I would like to know is the name of the Worm. Would be nice to know what its called.

  • 0 Hide
    miltoxbeyond , March 2, 2009 3:06 PM
    lol @ peacock and ohim... you guys dove into that comment way too seriously
  • 0 Hide
    hemelskonijn , March 2, 2009 3:47 PM
    One of my cats Inoue was so sick she could not keep her temperature up, she hid in one of my computers and survived another 2 weeks or so ... sadly both my graphics card and my cat died.

    http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j290/hemelskonijn/CIMG0768.jpg?t=1236015914
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