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If I boot from Ubuntu DVD I notice that there are two options:

  1. Run from DVD without installing it.
  2. Install Ubuntu.

My question is, If the PC has a BIOS virus and the first option is chosen — will the Ubuntu (loaded into the RAM, I guess) be affected or would it be totally “safe and clean”?

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This is a theoretical "what if" game, that doesn't accept the simple truth of "don't use a system you can't trust". Therefore close voting on this. –  LiveWireBT Sep 24 '13 at 8:36
    
This is a general question on computer security not really related to Ubuntu. You should ask on security.stackexchange.com. –  psusi Sep 24 '13 at 17:27
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I don't see how this is off-topic. It is a valid question and is in no way not about Ubuntu. –  Seth Sep 24 '13 at 23:18
    
In the freegeek.org classes I teach, the security of the LiveCD model has been found to be very attractive. Therefore, I concur with Seth this is an important issue we should address. –  K7AAY Dec 3 '13 at 19:28

5 Answers 5

... If the PC has a BIOS virus ...

Which virus is in the BIOS of that PC?

The answer depends on that data. Some viruses do affect the content of the OS in RAM, some don't.

However, if it's a Live CD, it's permanently closed to further writing, and the virus could not alter what's on the LiveCD.

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So the answer is "it could effect a live CD" -- if it were the type of virus that would do that. –  Stephen Ostermiller Nov 25 '13 at 23:40
    
No, for if it's a Live CD, it's permanently closed to further writing - writing would take place on a USB device. –  K7AAY Dec 3 '13 at 17:34
    
So the virus wouldn't be able to write to the CD and corrupt it, but it could still corrupt the running operating system that is run off of the CD. –  Stephen Ostermiller Dec 3 '13 at 17:44
    
Absolutely correct. –  K7AAY Dec 3 '13 at 19:26

I don't see any real use case in modern systems with UEFI getting infected with virus (or so I hope). BIOS viruses are vestiges of an obsolete era. Modern hackers use Social Engineering (aka for fool people) and target a wide audience. Nobody will take the time to make a virus for a BIOS as it takes painstakingly amounts of time to make that it affects the most amount of systems.

Also, this viruses should need to work with the OS to do any real damage, which for now, again, isn't the main objective of the developers of malware. I wouldn't be afraid of phantoms of the past while clicking into spam/advisement.

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If you have a virus in your BIOS (doubtful) you need to flash your BIOS with a clean copy of the proper latest BIOS before you do anything with your computer.

If your BIOS is corrupted (much more likely) You still need to flash the BIOS again to fix it or you will have problems.

BIOS is the Basic Input/Output System which is in a small chip on the motherboard. It is what makes your system boot up initially.

If you cannot boot to your hard drive then that is not BIOS: it is a Boot or MBR trouble which is very different.

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Well if the BIOS is what has the "virus" then it should not affect other operating software. Although I may be wrong I don’t believe that it should affect the BIOS. If you could give us more information, as if it is affecting anything on your hard drive, or if you can easily tell that the BIOS had a virus that would be helpful. Oh, and one more thing, if you can boot from the disk how did you do it, you would have to pass it through the BIOS, and I would find it hard to believe that it would even be able to boot if the BIOS had a virus.

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BIOSes don't generally become infected with a virus because they are flashed using an image from the BIOS manufacturer. They cannot be edited unless you used a flash.Search for the flashing sofware for your motherboard BIOS update in it's manufacturer's website using it's model name.

If what you are trying to imply is if the master boot record of your ubuntu was infected with a virus, will the loaded ubuntu from the live cd be infected when in RAM? My answer for that is no.

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