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SubjectRe: disk-destroyer.c
On Thu, 20 Jul 2000, Andre Hedrick wrote:

>The object is to protect this from happening even if you are ROOT or have
>stolen ROOT priviledges.
>Does this help explain the issue or should I provide a "disk2brick.c"
>program to make the point clearer? This will vaporize a drive to the
>replacement level. Yes you can to that today!

Great... And next thing we'll know that there are trojan's out
there, that fry hard disks. Could be in the next upload to
redhat contrib, and in source form. How many people actually
audit contrib sources (or any for that matter) before building an
app? I know nobody. A trojan wiping data, and one FRYING the
hard disk permanently are two different matters entirely.

Physical damage of the computer IMHO is in the kernel's best
respects to prevent. Especially if there is never any use of
having the capability to begin with. What I'm getting from this
is that 5 to 12 bytes of data sent to the HD can permanently fry
it. If this is correct, then we need better standards indeed. I
would think any destructive action like this would require a
jumper being flipped first.

So, please fix the problem as you planned for sure. Toss
grenades to clear a path if you have to. ;o)

This brings up an interesting idea... Is it not also easily
possible to fry the motherboard BIOS, and other PCI/ISA card
BIOS's by mapping their IO regions from rootland and then tossing
the right magic at them? What about the firmware in my CD
writer? I upgraded it once and it never required flipping any

If any of this info can be reverse engineered or obtained by evil
minds, our computers are TOAST. I remember back 5 years or more
ago, anti-viral FAQ's saying "It is IMPOSSIBLE for a virus to
permanently damage the hardware in your computer." Now I'm not
so sure. The way I see it, not only is it possible, but it is
possible with the hard disks, motherboard BIOS, modem BIOS, Video
BIOS, CDwriter firmware, and likely various other peripherals.

Since we are in "open source" land, it is likely that someone
will reverse engineer the means to do all of the above and
release open source code to do so. Should that code ever exist,
our computers are highly at risk of being damaged and a lot of
money going down the tubes.

I can see hardware vendors getting sued for making hardware that
is software damageable. I know I'd be seeing a lawyer if some
virus fried my HD or writer...

So I think what you're stating here Andre is a good thing, one
that needs to be fixed indeed.

Keep up the good work, and don't let the pessimists fry your
ideas as well as your hard disks.

Take care,

Mike A. Harris Linux advocate
Computer Consultant GNU advocate
Capslock Consulting Open Source advocate

... Our continuing mission: To seek out knowledge of C, to explore
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