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Can You Get a Virus on Your Motherboard?

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Protection from malware is one of the most critical issues when it comes to your computer. Viruses can make your PC virtually useless if you’re not careful, and there are so many ways in which they can do that. However, you might be asking, is your motherboard off-limits? 

You can get viruses on your motherboard, but rarely. There’s malware that attacks the firmware built into the motherboard that loads the operating system during startup. Usually, someone must have physical access to your computer to install it. It’s recommended you call a specialist to remove it.

In the rest of this article, I will explain when your motherboard is at risk for viruses, what these viruses can do, and how you can ensure your PC’s motherboard doesn’t get infected.

What Do Motherboard Viruses Do?

Although rare, motherboard viruses exist, and they can do a lot of damage to your computer. These viruses are designed to infiltrate the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), which is built into the motherboard of your computer. These viruses can also attack the Basic Input-Output System (BIOS), which is basically the predecessor of UEFI.

Both UEFI and BIOS are interfaces that the computer uses as bridges of communication between the operating system and its firmware. The primary purpose of these two interfaces is to launch the operating system when the computer starts up. 

The malware pieces that attack the UEFI are usually rootkits. Rootkits are not exactly viruses; they are malware that hides their existence and tries to access data illegally. UEFI rootkits hide in the firmware and are very dangerous because they can survive rebooting the computer or the operating system. Usually, the ultimate purpose of firmware viruses is to spy on the user and retrieve documents illegally. 

Once they infiltrate these firmware interfaces, the rootkits are able to do damage right when the PC starts booting up before even loading the operating system. They can modify the operating system loader and change the course of action from the beginning. As a result, they can make the computer install malware from suspicious servers into its operating system.

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How Can Motherboards Get Infected

It’s pretty rare for a computer to get malware on its motherboard, and it’s easy to understand why: motherboard malware most commonly requires physical access. Unlike viruses or typical malware you find in your system, motherboard rootkits are more complex, and your computer can’t “catch” them easily.

Because these pieces of malware attack the firmware built into the motherboard, potential hackers need to have access to your computer before attacking. There are usually two ways in which they can access it: another malware that’s been previously installed or physical access to your computer.

How Do I Know if My Motherboard Has Been Infected?

It’s not easy to tell if your motherboard has a rootkit. Because these types of malware are particularly stealthy, you may not notice anything out of the ordinary until it’s too late. If they’re affecting the performance of your computer and causing errors, or you see unknown files or programs, you may try to find malware by running scans of your computer.

You can try performing a full scan of the whole computer and see if the results show malware in your firmware. Additionally, you can try third-party scanners, ensuring they are adept at detecting rootkits. However, you need to be careful to trust verified scanners in order not to compromise your computer even more.

What To Do When You Get a Virus in Your Motherboard

Viruses and other malware in your motherboard are relatively rare, but they can also be quite hard to remove. As I explained above, firmware rootkits hide well and can survive reboots or formatting. However, you can try several ways to see if it works.

  • Use software to remove it. There are several types of anti-malware software that can detect and remove viruses. However, motherboard malware may evade them.
  • Format your hard drive. Try formatting your computer’s hard drive or solid-state drive and reinstalling the operating system. Again, some malware can survive this.
  • Remove and Flash the UEFI/BIOS. You can reboot and update the BIOS or UEFI in your motherboard following some relatively straightforward steps. However, you should be careful because a misstep could make your computer unusable.
  • Replace the UEFI/BIOS. If you can’t replace the specific chip, you might have to replace the motherboard. Be careful while handling it to make sure you don’t damage it.
  • Contact a specialist. If you’re not sure where the malware is or how to remove it, leave it to a specialist so that you can make sure that the malware is gone and that the computer still works as usual.

How To Prevent Motherboard Malware

No matter how hard you try, you can never be one hundred percent sure your computer’s motherboard will remain malware-free. As you saw above, hackers can even find a way to physically access your computer if they are set on infecting the firmware built into the motherboard. However, you can do everything you can to ensure that remote attacks will be thwarted.

Use Anti-Malware Software

First and foremost, you should use anti-malware software that is able to detect and remove rootkits from your computer. Good software may be able to find rootkits even if they are well hidden in the firmware of the motherboard.

Monitor the Performance

Make sure to stay alert for any changes or suspicious files that you may notice. If the performance of your computer is suddenly lacking, or if you continuously see errors that have no explanation, run malware detection software.

Download From Trusted Sources

You may think it goes without saying, but sometimes you don’t even notice where you’re downloading files or programs. You should be careful to check all the websites that require you to download something and ensure that they are a trusted source before going forward with the download.

Update Programs

Software updates include up-to-date protection from malware, so they are crucial for the well-being of your computer. Make sure your operating system is up to date, and ensure the programs on your computer are regularly updated.


It’s rare but possible: your motherboard can catch malware that can read your documents, spy on you, or wreak havoc on your computer. Most malware that attacks the motherboard infects a built-in interface inside it, designed to help load the operating system when the computer starts.

This malware can be removed by special software, formatting, or flashing the interface. However, most times, it’s recommended to consult with a specialist. For prevention, keep your software up to date, monitor the performance of your computer, and install anti-malware programs.

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