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Your CPU Will Explode 238

Crowdpleazr1 writes "In case any of you were still opening up email from people you don't know, the Weekly World News is reporting that you could now be killed by a malicious email virus that will alter the molecular structure of your CPU, making it explode!! Of course, as a person who understands these newfangled computer things, even I can not imagine what evils those hacker people can come up with. I think I'm going to go hide in my Y2K compound now. "
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Your CPU Will Explode

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Everyone is making fun of this story, but I find it really scary. Do you realize that people will read this stuff and actually believe it? Do you realize that there are thousands or maybe tens of thousands of people out there who now think that evil computer hackers can kill them? There are now that many more people who are afraid of technology and are more determined than ever to keep the hell away from it.

    It's all fun and games until you realize that these are the same people who vote, and write letters to Congress demanding harsh legislation to throw all hackers in jail because they are imminently in danger of inflicting bodily harm.

    Because of this WWN story, I guarantee you that at this very moment, an angry letter is being drafted demanding that the government step in and monitor all email so that the deadly computer viruses can be stopped. Now how funny is it?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I submitted this as an 'Ask Slashdot' story today. Now I'm taking bets on the chances of it being published. Current odds are one million to one.

    With the recent assimilation of
    slashdot [] into the borg^H^H^H^HAndover machine [], and the subsequent rash of irrelevant and generally non-News-for-Nerds [] stories on slashdot, the recent "Your CPU Will Explode []" and the whole April 1st debacle [], being prime examples, slashdot just isn't what it used to be...

    Your average Anonymous Coward is forced to look elsewhere for his/her nerd news in these sad times. Where are the geeks going now that slashdot is dying?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Guys, I think this is a hoax. Think about it..

    Before all you linux lamers go around thinking you can
    blow up people's CPU's, let me burst your bubble. This is not possible.
    Trust me, i'm a MSCE and i know about this stuff. well, MAYBE it's
    possible, but i dont think so it would probably just make
    a spark or something.

    i'm suprised all you supposed "nerds" didn't notice this
    before posting it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    At an ISP where I worked a customer tried telling me that this was indeed happening to him. He said that the attacker (the 10 yr old next door) was also able to check his answering machine and could make his computer come on even while *unplugged*. Since 4-5 techs had alread tried telling him that this was impossible I reccomended he contact the local police, the telephone company, since the guy's story somehow involved the phone lines, and the FCC as the attacker was undoubtedly using stolen govt. equipment.

    That wasn't half as funny though as the guy who called our oem dept (we outsourced)claiming that he had our chip in his head. The tech put him on hold for 5 minutes then came back and said that since the chip was out of warranty he'd have to call Intel.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    my ass is going to self destruct if I don't hit the crapper. I'll be back in 5 minutes.
  • Long ago, there was a man named Devin.

    Devin thought he was a 3133t h4X0R, and frequented the BBS's I ran... he said he was writing a virus that would align all the lasers in your monitor to produce enough power to melt through the screen, and consequently, through your head.

    Now, I know this is bullshit, but seeing this got me thinking... Foregoing that a virus was possible to do this, I'm just curious, would a concentrated mass of monitor lasers produce enough heat to even burn THROUGH the screen in the first place? Maybe some of you EE geeks can help me out on this, I'm very curious. :)

  • remember, this is the World Weekly News...a tabloid 'zine where EVERY day is April Fools Day! :)
  • April Fools Day has to run on an extra 48 hours on the Internet? Sheesh. If you can't make the post on the day it appears, don't bother. How annoying.

    They're gonna start calling this place "TrashDot".
  • This is a major hot sheat ( for all my felow MIBs ). You had better bilive that WWN is 100% serius with this story.

    They will stand by it and are willing to lay the jurnalistic integrity of the publication on the line over this.

  • Could anything be possibly less newsworthy than this?
  • Some old Motorola chips (pre 6502, anyway) used to have an unused opcode in their instruction set. As a brilliant design decision, the logic for processing the opcodes (PLA, STX, etc.) into microinstructions of the processor (put this register on the bus, clock the ALU, etc.) failed to decode the unimplemented opcode properly, and simultaneously fired off two microcontrol lines in the CPU. This resulted in an unrecoverable current overload in the heart of the CPU, and within seconds, caused the CPU the actually melt. Once diagnosed, the opcode was assigned the mnemonic, HCF for "halt and catch fire". (source Dr. Bill Hawkins, ENEE 446, UMCP).

    Not quite as spectacular an effect as when the co-guitarist in my band failed to correctly calculate the new impedance of his rewired speaker cabinet correctly (2 ohms instead of his calculated 8 ohms). Applied a slight volume boost during a solo, and "pop!", followed by "what's that burning plastic smell?" =)
  • I definitely remember him telling us about an ancient Motorola cpu (probably a 4 bit processor) that interpreted a specific unused opcode as two incompatible opcodes and tried to execute the microcode for both opcodes simultaneously, thus resulting in melted silicon. I also remember him telling us about Motorola's HCF (halt and catch fire) opcode. Maybe I'm combining anecdotes, but give me a break, this was twelve years ago. =)

    Ric "the memory's the second to go, but i can't remember the first" Dude.

  • or for those with just a basic interpreter:

    10 PRINT "DIE";:GOTO 10

  • I am not a chemist. I am not a physicist either.

    But I did not sleep during my college level science courses, therefore, I am wondering HOW IN THE WORLD CAN SOMEBODY ALTER THE MOLECULAR STRUCTURE (of anything) using SOFTWARE?

    I mean - altering molecular structures require A LOT, - and I mean A HELUVA - JUICE !

    Fission and fusion are the TWO processes known to men (and women) that can alter molecular structures of _some_ substances - not all, _some_ !

    Can someone please enlighten me if that story isn't an April Fools' thingy?

  • This isn't the first highly accurate warning of impending computerized doom from the Weekly World News.
    If your computer was built after 1985, then it has enough hard drive space to accommodate one of Satan's minions (and that doesn't count any stuff from MS).
    The Register has a little something [] gleaned from the Weekly World News. One Reverend Jim Peasboro, author of an upcoming book, The Devil in the Machine, says that demons can possess anything with a brain. Apparently that now includes computers. According to the Georgia clergyman, "...many members of my congregation became in touch with a dark force whenever they used their computers", (and again I emphasize that he made no mention of Microsoft). That Print job you thought was screwed up by the wrong printer driver may have actually been "...a stream of obscenities written in a 2,800-year-old Mesopotamian dialect!" This happens right after the spontaneous Turing test.
  • If you work user support it is!
  • The next time I submit this I'm going to title it "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" :-)
  • Will someoneplease post the source code for this?


  • Need: root / insmod access,
    Prequisite: 2.3.x linux kernels have P6 microcode upgrade device driver option. (module).

    Since at microcode level, subsytem interfaces may not have idiot-proofing, it may be possible to
    corrupt the P6 microcode dump leading to some kind of subsytem breakdown.

    Any thoughts ?
  • I agree. The low points have definately been getting lower. I've been reading /. every day for ages now, but this morning I actually considered not bothering again...

    However, it's a problem all over the place at the moment - we're all starving for decent stories. I think we're in the shadow of Y2k, with no medium term projects having been started in the second half of '99, so nothing's happening / being released now. In Australia we're all holding our breath for the GST (which is going to be one huge balls-up). Or perhaps it's the popularisation of the Internet. Millions of clueless "AOLers", corporations and lawyers are grinding our wonderful 'Net to a halt...?

    I haven't even been able to find anything to buy for weeks - my bank account is at an all-time high (meanwhile my moral is getting pretty low, but not as low as the rest of the company I work at).

    It's a depression without the lack of money, at least here...

  • You should work where I work. All the morons neutralise any computrons that manage to sneak past the pointy-haired black holes.
  • Who Wants To Be a Millionaire Nightmare 'I LOOK JUST LIKE REGIS PHILBIN -- & IT'S MAKING MY LIFE HELL!'
    A sad, sad story about a man called Regis Philbin.
  • When I worked at Dick Smith Electronics (think Radio Shack) we had a computer returned when the power supply blew up. The owners were from somewhere other than Australia and they'd set the power supply to 110V (like back home), plugged it into our 240V (well, 220-250V) and BAMF!
  • Nah, someone just has to send a message (e-mail, phone, fax, whatever) to every other person in your neighbourhood to get them to turn off everything in their houses at the same time. The resultant spike burns your place to the ground...
  • I got sent the "#9 mobile" hoax a couple of times recently. Before that it was sent around about 18 months ago. When I informed the company that it was a hoax (it had been mailed to all by a "helpful" receptionist) I was asked how I knew. My response was "It was a hoax 18 months ago and it's still a hoax". Sigh.
  • And electrolytic caps blow up reeeal nice, too...Been there, done that - took ages to get the smell out of my beard too. FYI: if someone's rewired a Compaq power supply to fit a standard motherboard, don't bother trying to put it back how it was...
  • Make it come out of my nose! (Yeah, I hope you choke on it)

    Seriously, we had a monitor burst into flames last Monday. The guy thinks he'll need therapy because it was so traumatic (!?). Oh, and we found out that the only fire extinquisher on the floor is in a locked plant room.

    (On display, in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet, in a disused lavatory, with a sign on the door saying "beware of the leopard".)

  • WTF? I hope you are joking man. I love computers and all but I hope my wife throws the damn box out of the windoze when I start comparing the Celsius tempature of the CPU under various Operating Systems. Are you engineer on a special project?

    Otherwise, stop taking the tempature of the computer and use the thing! :->
  • You can't be taking this seriously...

  • April Fools is *only* on the first, you brat!
  • You won't be so doubtful tommorow night at 12:39:19.23 EST. Heh heh. Sweet dreams.
    modern day geek. []
  • My god, my Soundblaster Live Daughtercard caught on fire because it made contact with the case, and the computer was on. I must have got one of those virus 'mp3s' i've been hearing about. God save us!
  • the end of the article, there's a link that says "Email this article to a friend."

    "Warning! Email attachments could make your computer explode! Please read the attached article to find out more!"


  • You must use straws, the kind you find at fast food restraunts. But you must use a straw from a different place for each straw you use. If you don't THEY will be able to get through. Then you see, take these straws and make a pyramid over your system. Then cover your pyramid in aluminum foil. But make certain to use the Alcan kind. Its made in Canada. Canada is too cold you see for the CIA to bother with so they leave the Alcan aluminum alone.

    So to recap, use different straws (for god sakes dont use storebought! The CIA owns all the stores!) And use Alcan aluminum foil. Make certain your pyramid is secure and you should be safe.

    Now if I could only find out how to get the alien tracking devices out of my teeth.....

  • There is no way you can do this. I know my way around hardware and you can't make silicon explode. Even if you could make a program to overheat the CPU it would just lock up and the program would stop, all the overclockers know that. The chemistry and physics just don't add up to a bomb. This is a late April fools, and a stupid one!
  • don't certain PC motherboards allow software to set the clockrate?
    meaning a virus really _could_ overclock/overheat/kill the processor?

    of course there used to be certain motorola processors with a Halt Catch Fire (HCF) instruction [], but that wasn't quite what it did.
  • As you've probably heard, Linux 2.4 has the /proc/microcode [] device. Well, 2.6 will have the /proc/explosives device that lets you access (or write to) the self-destruct charges [] in your computer. MicroApps (the applications division of Microsoft after judge Jackson splits the company) will write apps for Linux, and you know how much Microsoft loves "active content" (whereby programs treat data as executable code). It's only a matter of time before someone sends you an email that writes all 0xFF all over the explosives device.

  • Well.. programs do exist [http] that can make CPUs get pretty hot - wrap one in a standard e-mail virus package. Your virus probably won't kill every system, but it will make the odds of a system failure higher.

    And remember, an overheated CPU's molecular sturcutere does change - atomic diffusion makes the metal atoms that the silicon is doped with mover around, eventually destroying the p-n junctions that make the CPU work.
  • Er... s/sturcutere/structure/g s/mover/move/g ...
  • Errr.. if A+B=C, then A+B-C=0... So your next to last statement says 2(0)=1(0) which is true. However, to get from there to 2=1, you must divide by zero, which is a no-no.

  • Well, of course it's an april fools thing, but just to add a little more stoke to the fire, it doesn't actually take that much energy to change something on a molecular level. Our bodies do it all the time.

    Fusion and fission are examples of changing things at the nuclear (atomic) level, which is significantly harder.

    Kevin Fox
  • Add this and it will work, provided you have a perl in /local/bin/perl...

    sub pick { $_[rand $#_] }

  • Yes! The word needs to be spread about this dangerous hardware! I will take it upon myself to dispose of this equipment. If your processor is fast enough to be a hazard, you can send it to me for proper disposal. Carefully take it out of your computer (careful, because it might already be infected and blow up if handled roughly, don't drop it!) put it in a special anti-static bag and pack it well in a box (in case it blows up in transport) and send it to me. Similar processes can be used for memory (only PC100 and PC133 memory is dangerous) and hard drives (again, only ultra scsi drives are hazards). I hope the community respects the time I have volunteered to take this dangerous equipment out of the potential victims' homes.
  • Q: how was he able to type "boom" if his head exploded?
    A: maybe he was dictating.
  • Hey, who amonst us has not had a computer blow up on us. Those beings are dangerous. They have minds of their own. And sometimes MickyShit was even responsible for writing that mind. Or the subsequent blow up. Heck, my old AMD 386-40 was sitting in my closet for years. Then one day it got real pissed off about having my stinky hockey gear stored on top of it. That AMD just done blowed itself up, fragging everything with an Intel Inside logo it could find. The AMD was very undiscrimiate though. It destroyed 2 3DFX cards and a Seagate 20MB drive that had DR-DOS backed up on it. It was fargging horrible. BTW, WTF did /. [] start taking WWN seriously, and ignoring the Page 6 girls?
  • Good Times had technobabble that sounded believeable to the uninitiated. I don't think anyone with a whit of technical knowledge was ever fooled by it.


  • Lighten up, Jeremy.

    While the April Fool's stuff is always excessive and tedious, this is obviously humor and is even more amusing since it was published (even if it was in the WWN).

    This story isn't really much different from the Good Times hoax from a few years back, and we all know how many people believed that. Just sit back and have a chuckle. I'm sure the editors of WWN do.

    As always, if the story doesn't interest you, skip over it.


  • imagine if you will: all the people out there using Outlook and IE grabbing this file, running it, and having their boxes pop. somewhere around 75% of AOL would go down, and lord knows how many people on cable modems and other ISPs. can you IMAGINE what that would do to the speed on your average connection? 90% of the bandwidth hogging lusers out there all gone...i think of this not as a nightmare than a goal. btw: an 87 digit encryption key for nuclear systems? why 87? is that 64 in base 6? they'd be more secure using PGP. i wonder how long would that take a project to crack.

  • This isn't funny. People are reading this.

    Laypeople, for lack of a better word, aren't able to read Slashdot, ZDNet, or any other intelligent or discerning medium for tech news. Many can't even be bothered to watch the CNet show, for what that's worth.

    Where are they getting their tech news? MSNBC, Reuters, AP -- most of which are more inclined to rebroadcast Bill Gates' speech than any random geek's criticism of Microsoft.

    Who are the tech pundits? People like ESR or Rob Malda or even Spencer F. Katt? No, the tech pundits are people like Ira Magaziner, Steve Case, and the CEO of (insert other large tech company here).

    Perhaps WWN doesn't have the direct pull that MSNBC has, but don't pretend that the titillation and FUD that this story makes won't spread by word of mouth.

    Let me ask you: How many copies of the Good Times warning do you have in your old mail?

    Don't think older media is that much better at coverage of this field. Did anyone see the Boston Herald story on the GPF last weekend? It began with the sentence:

    About ten years after most of them took their sisters to the prom,

    Need I say more? Neither us nor our field get covered well at all. It's not so funny; in cases like these its downright damaging.

    When no one will let you use their computer for fear you will add the "cpu bomb bug" to their computer, give me a call.

    (A little Geek Pride now and then doesn't seem so bad to me.)
  • I've blown away a good number of ICs, though that's usually because I misread the pinout.

    I had an IDE HD give up its magic smoke once. Someone made an extension power cable which mismatched the +5 and +12. The result was a couple of blown chips.

    Not that this is in any way interesting, or even on-topic. :)
  • They ran out of free AOL hours.
  • In the novel Fight Club, a character is assassinated with an exploding monitor. The assassin drilled a hole in the picture tube and poured petrol into it; when it was next switched on, it went kaboom.

    No idea how accurate that is, though it'd be a bit hard to do remotely.
  • I think it's called a "Nth complexity binary loop".
  • <i>...says that demons can possess anything with a brain. Apparently that now includes computers. According to the Georgia clergyman...</i>

    Ahh. That would explain why I've never seen a Georgia clergyman possed by demons.

  • because they are (snicker) only 2 bits away from encapsulating these email attachments in a special armor piercing packet.
  • I think it is possible. Years ago, I plugged a ribbon cable in backwards and was rewarded with a loud bang. Disassembly of the equipment revealed a plastic DIP IC package with a small crater where the silicon die used to be. The reversed cable had resulted in +15V and GND being swapped on the chip power pins.
  • It was the Motorola 6800. The HCF instruction did not destroy the CPU, it caused it to go into a state where it continually incremented the contents of the memory address register. This was actually useful for debugging external address decoding logic. A hardware reset would restore normal operation.
  • I found the article and his post to both be funny.

    You will notice that the frontpage post has a foot next to it. That means that the link/story therin are to be considered funny. I thought it was so hilarious I emailed it to all my friends, some of whom will actually BELIEVE it. That makes me laugh even harder.

    Everyone has different taste in humor. (I know some people that don't find Monty Pyton funny... They SCARE me.)

    You may complain that slashdot is getting worse. Maybe it is. Every thread nowdays has a few posts in it lamenting about how slashdot has gone downhill. Really? Slashdot is just a linking system generated buy the COMMUNITY'S submissions. If that is the case, then we, the internet (or perhaps to some degree the free software) community are the ones going downhill.

    Slashdot is just an indicator. Something to think about at any rate.

    I guess the best point to make though is that if you don't like something on slashdot, just stop reading those parts.
  • Such an exploit could be done... however it would rely on the Men In Black (tm) sneaking into your house some time beforehand and installing a "special" expansion board inside your machine. I'm thinking a simple PCI board with several pounds of plastique attached would do the trick... then later, when they know you're in front of the machine (i.e. they detect your computer retrieving HTML pages or something) they send your computer the detonate command... Still want to buy that Riva/TNT board? ;^)
  • "Instead of blowing up a single plane, these groups will be able to patch into the central computer of a large airline and blow up hundreds of planes at once. "

    "central computer"? somebody remind these people the FAA's air traffic controller system is still using 1970s equipment based on vacuum tubes..?

    ::laughs until he cries::

    the quality of these tabloids has really gone down.. Back in the Day there was an article in WWW about a dog that had been specially genetically engineered to be used as a mop. It was really, really shaggy, and its hair was exactly like mop fibers (they had a "picture"). The idea was that you'd pour soapy water on the dog, and it would walk around the house and clean the floor behind it.

    But that was a long time ago. Now things are a lot harder for the tabloids in the Post-Lewinsky Era. What with the mainstream media these days posting regular front-page stories about Oral Sex and tech articles so blatantly clueless and inaccurate it boggles the mind, the tabloids have really had to stretch to keep up with a respectable level of relative trashiness. Which is how we get this-- in order to appear even more clueless and inaccurate about technology than an average newspaper, they've had to stoop to writing that would be unsurprising to see in the Onion.
  • This is not a virus, it is actually Microsoft's new Active Demolition technology. (Formerly called Schrapnel Linking and Embedding - SLE) It is another example of Microsoft's commitment to inovation.
    --Shoeboy the microserf
  • Hey now! Stop clowning around! The Weekly World News happens to be a very respectable paper. It has the highest circulation in the world!

    If they say a virus can blow up my CPU, hey, I'm unplugging my LAN from the Internet pronto.... ;)

  • The Bat Boy is on the loose []! According to the article, people in Wheeling, WV. are in deep doo doo.

  • by KFury ( 19522 )
    Everyone unplug your replicators!

    Kevin Fox
  • This must be a mutant form of the old UPS virus, which slowly stole and accumulated small packets of your line charge - too little at a time for you to notice, and when sufficient had been accumulated, exploded with devastating effect.

    That's why I cycle the power on my UPS every night and let any unauthorized excess charge drain off.

  • From NT4 SP4:

    Q170817 Windows NT Causes APC Smart UPS Battery to Discharge

    Isn't this just crazy?
  • My sysadmin sent me just such a mail bomb (not sure why) but I opened the attachment with pine, telneted in so *my* computer wasn't effected...
  • With this exciting new technology, we can remotely rewrite the traces in the silicon substrate of you CPU chip while it is running!. The 'Hardware Upgrade Wizard' is capable of engraving components in-situ right upon the silicon chip of your own old, obsolete CPU, with a feature size of less that 0.07 microns.

    The above statement is a little misleading. It is not saying that there is a feature in Windows that does not require a reboot to take effect. After it alters the CPU, you still need a reboot. Obviously it can't ask you to reboot or you will be suspicious, so it just runs the BSOD code (which, contrary to public belief, is not always caused by a bug, but is also a way to trick you into doing a reboot after one of Microsoft's surprise upgrades.)

  • Let's see how many people post replies without actually reading the article and realizing that the newspaper is a tabloid.
  • I have seen a co-worker plug in an EEPROM backwards.. We figured out what was wrong when the machine wouldn't boot, and we saw it emitting light from the little UV window.
  • Yeah, when I was younger (sort of the geeky version of a "punk kid"), I used to have fun hooking chips on old circuit boards up to the wrong voltage and making them blow up. It smells terrible though. (probably causes cancer, too).

    Anyway, the smoke you refer to is called "magic smoke". It's trapped in side each chip and is what makes chips do what they do. When you see the magic smoke escape from the chip, it magically no longer works. :)

  • It wasn't even that spectacular. Upon executing an HCF instruction, a Motorola 6800 began ignoring other input and toggling the address lines in a binary sequence which amounted to a free-running binary up counter.

    Motorola didn't talk about it much, but the speculation at the time was that the feature allowed testing portions of the CPU chip before committing them to the expensive process of putting them into actual IC packages, by merely applying the proper combination of voltages to the data lines and starting the processor.

    The "Halt and Catch Fire" mnemonic was a minor joke based on humorous compilations of bogus IBM assembler opcodes (JAA = Jump Almost Always, et cetra).

    On the other hand, in that era it was rather easy to commit Stupid Computer Tricks like telling a floppy drive to seek track $FF and run the heads hard off the end of the ballscrew, or destroy monitors by writing the wrong sync timing to a video controller. The latter can still be done with a fast video card and low frequency monitor, of course.

    It was neat watching early EPROM chips actually glow when the processor or program timing the programming pulses failed.
  • Most people are not that stupid. The ones that are.. well.. they ARE funny

  • Ok look i have a friend who's friend actually had his computer blow up on him. Man it was toasted, video card, hard drive, DVD player, sound card and all!! The monitor is not even working any more! Who knows that these people can do next, I mean this guy was lucky he was not in his dorm room..

    So I am telling you all to take care not to let this happen to you. Now here are a few more things about the virus you must know....

    1) If you have a AMD K-7 or Intel P3 ( 600 Mhz and above ) you are at the highest risk! I mean you have the fastest chips that take the most power and are they huge!!! So if you have these chips and would like to protect yourself please contact me and I will be able to help get these things off your hands!

    2) All other hardware is also at danger and i can help get rid of that stuff too!! Specially U2W SCSI drives.

  • one of the best parodies of the newbie chicken little phenomenon embodied by this was the satirical "bad times" forward. for those who missed it, it one ups "good times" by proclaiming that bad times will screw up the tracking on your vcr, screw up your freezer so your ice cream melts, etc. amusingly enough, the new album by the group "laika" contains a song called "bad times" in which the singer recites the forward in a smooth and sultry voice over lounge jazz. worth checking out both for the humor value and the musical value...
  • I just opened an e-mail message with the subject of "Good Times" and the contents of my hard drive got erased. I'd better go find that new virus that melts my CPU so I will have another thing to upgrade.
  • The deadly computron radiation that will be released when this happens. My brother-in-law survived the explosion caused by this email, only to die a few days later from computron radiation poisoning.
  • > you can't make silicon explode.

    Speaking as someone who has blown up 10 555 timer IC's in the last couple of weeks, YES YOU CAN. Only the low power kind, though. And electrolytic caps blow up reeeal nice, too...
  • Not only that, but it was written in C on a Powerbook! :)
  • Actually, this happened to a PC board in a lab at school. The board was placed on a piece of stainless steel so that several of the pins on the back of the board were connected via a common ground. The computer was turned on an pretty soon "POP!!" The chip didn't blast off of the board, but it did rip itself into a few pieces. I've blown away a good number of ICs, though that's usually because I misread the pinout. Sometimes it smokes, sometimes it sparks, and sometimes BANG! Yep, life's a mystery.

  • by alhaz ( 11039 ) on Monday April 03, 2000 @02:53PM (#1153665) Homepage
    Many aeons ago (mid 80's), when my older brother was learning how to program on our kickin 8mhz PC-XT clone with EGA graphics and a truly caverous 20 meg harddrive, people would ask me "So, what is he writing?"

    I regularly told people that he was writing a virus that would alter the internal wiring of their cpu, causing it to melt or possibly explode after a significant period of exposure - thus, explaining the occasional crashes of our system :)

    Man, seeing an email virus that does the same thing really takes me back . . .

  • by Graymalkin ( 13732 ) on Monday April 03, 2000 @05:42PM (#1153666)
    Monitors don't use lasers! They use "cathode rays" which is not a laser. Cathode rays happens when you run electricity through a vacuum. Aligning them into a single point on the back of the screen would make a bright dot, then the phosphors would completely ionize and turn a healthy black. This is what happens in monitors when the same image is on them for a long time. This effect can be seen in old video games and ATM machines. In order for it to burn through your head and screen you'd need to run several megawatts through the circuitry and put a metal plate behind your head. Then MAYBE it would burn through your head, though if you attempt it you probably deserve it.
  • A woman came in to the help desk where I work today and explained that she was having problems with her computer, and asked us if we could "reprogram the virus." We were baffled for a minute, and then I asked her, "Do you mean the antivirus software?" and she said, "Yes. Reprogram the antivirus software." We then explained that she had to go buy the program and install it.

    Right after she left, a man came in and wanted to speak to the "browser administrator." The girl at the front desk asked him, "you mean the website administrator?" and he said "okay."

    I used to think the stories about people like this were fake. Like the people who, when asked who their ISP is, reply "Netscape!" But now I know that they are real.

    I mention this only because these are the types of people who would believe a story like this. Like the guy I used to work with, who was bragging about how smart he was, because on December 31 before he left work, he unplugged the computer and the monitor from the wall. He was bragging, you see, because he had "saved" the computer from Y2K.

    Ya really gotta be careful around these people and technology...

    __________________________________________________ ___

  • by Nodatadj ( 28279 ) on Monday April 03, 2000 @02:56PM (#1153668) Journal
    Maybe they attached the virus when you click that link, and BOOM!
  • by thomasj ( 36355 ) on Monday April 03, 2000 @03:20PM (#1153669) Homepage
    If the virus can set a system semaphore it can gain exclusive access to common resources AND MAY PERFORM ATOMIC OPERATIONS!!!
  • by GnrcMan ( 53534 ) on Monday April 03, 2000 @04:23PM (#1153670) Homepage
    My gosh, you're right! Well, I'm simply not going to stand for this. I'm cancelling my subscription to the Weekly World News immediately. Furthermore, I'll be writing a letter to the editor to let them know exactly how I feel. It's sad really, they used to be a quality newspaper. I mean, they're the ones that broke the scoop on Satan excaping from hell and killing 26 people (26 people!!!). Now that was investigative reporting. But with this, they've lost my trust and they've lost a customer.

    U. R. Rube

  • I'm not so sure. I've heard reports of MS coders's heads exploding after prolonged contact with the Outlook source...

    Want to work at Transmeta? AT&T?

  • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Monday April 03, 2000 @05:50PM (#1153672) Homepage Journal

    sub tabloid
    my $c1 = pick(qw(World National Super Hollywood));
    my $c2 = pick(qw(Weekly Daily Informative True));
    my $c3 = pick(qw(News Scoop Info Secrets Insider));

    "$c1 $c2 $c3";

    print "The " . tabloid() . " is running a story today, about ";

  • by Denor ( 89982 ) <> on Monday April 03, 2000 @02:59PM (#1153673) Homepage
    This story's obviously fake! I mean, it's supposedly an e-mail virus, but no virus could infect a system as robust and secure as Microsoft Outlook, right?



  • by John Murdoch ( 102085 ) on Tuesday April 04, 2000 @02:46AM (#1153674) Homepage Journal
    We have a problem, and it is serious. The following item appeared in a major newspaper recently, quoting Arnold Yabenson of the National CyberCrime Prevention Foundation as saying:

    "Instead of blowing up a single plane, these groups will be able to patch into the central computer of a large airline and blow up hundreds of planes at once."

    It seems clear to me that Yabensen is referring to the Realtime Online Flight Logistics (ROFL) system we developed for Vultee Aerospace. As several of us who were involved in the PLC coding for the FADECs recall, there is extensive logic embedded in the onboard systems governing how fuel is supplied to the engines. If this Yabensen has guessed that the Denial of Realtime Kerosene (DORK) features that permit fuel starvation (on ground, I might add) he may be aware of the firmware issue raised by Ross Scott during final rollout.

    Public Relations:
    Ted, I want your people to find out who this Yabensen is. I've never heard of him, although the paper seems to think he is a credible source. It is crucial that we head this story off at the pass--divert the press with another story. I like the "air ambulance for sick kids" story you mentioned a couple of weeks ago, but if this story looks like it is going someplace--particularly someplace like network TV newsmagazines--I am willing to authorize another remote fuel starvation incident of a TV news helicopter.

    Software/Host Systems:
    Ed, I want you to contact Dave Stearns at Vultee and mention, gently, that somebody has been talking about ROFL and DORK. This is a good opportunity to pitch the Phase III enhancements to ROFL that Marty Eisenreich and his team have been working on. We don't want to scare him (Stearns is *such* a ninny) but this is something we can use to move that project along. The simplest solution to this whole exercise is starting Phase III of ROFL--it will give us control of the entire code base, as well as the source code repository system. Any legacy code that might conceivably trigger the Dump Overboard Hydrogen (DORK-DOH) logic can simply be excised, and the problem gets excised with it. If Stearns starts whimpering feel free to contact George Demetrios directly. We need to move on this!

    Hardware/CMOS Systems:
    Joanie--what was the name of that little nerdy guy who wrote the EEPROM code for DORK? Could he be Yabensen's source? Find him. Ensure his compliance--or his silence.

    Arnie, we are innocent as lambs. There is no problem, there is certainly no legal problem. We have contractual protections, we have statutory protections, we have constitutional protections. Or we'd better. Review our position on this, list our options in the event that this becomes public, and be prepared for five minutes in the Thursday meeting (and *only* five!).

    No matter what, we have to stonewall this. Nobody talks to anybody, except to scoff at the source. It didn't happen, it can't happen, it's not possible. No reputable company would do such a thing. We're a reputable company, ergo it could not have happened. If word of this leaks onto the Internet, we are doomed.

    I want status reports and memos from all dept. heads at the Thursday 3 o'clock.


    P.S.: Sue tells me that Arnie, Mike E., Ted, and Sylvia have not yet sent in their travel requests for the "Ethics in Corporate Business" seminar. This is required in Q2, people. It's important that we set the ethical example for our employees.
  • by alexhmit01 ( 104757 ) on Monday April 03, 2000 @03:06PM (#1153675)
    Nah, it is War Games style... as you guess the digit, you keep it... i.e., if a 5 digit code was 98255

    You would check 0-9, get 9, then 0-9 (stopping when you got 8, etc)...

    So the hackers had at most 20 more codes to check, and E[X]=10... :)


  • by hypergeek ( 125182 ) on Monday April 03, 2000 @04:12PM (#1153676)
    You thought you were safe
    But then your box exploded
    Pity the poor fool

    Erm... 5-7-5... that looks about right to me :-)

    Does it bother anyone else that this story is right to an account of a kidnapping perpetrated by a "real-life Zombie"? []

  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Monday April 03, 2000 @02:57PM (#1153677) Journal

    Ok, so this is just something some guy at work told me, but supposedly, his 486 overheated and exploded. The chip was mounted in a platic socket with some space between the plastic and the chip which sealed air-tight. The heating caused the plastic to burn enough so that the smoke had nothing better to do then build up pressure and pop! off went the CPU a few feet. I assume that the soccket design was later revised so that it didn't seal. Can anybody corroborate? Does anybody really know how to spell corroborate? I think I'm going to have a corroborated beverage now.

  • by Skevin ( 16048 ) on Monday April 03, 2000 @05:42PM (#1153678) Journal
    I think I have a fair amount of experience in the field, and I've seen some viruses that have damaged my hardware beyond all hope of repair:

    5/21/94 - While engaging in the "Make Money Fast!" program back in college, an angry mob of Academic Computing staff stormed my dorm room and took out my computer with baseball bats. I'm afraid to do the chain letter thing anymore.

    4/7/96 - I was caught by my coworkers while sending out copious amounts of spam endorsing the Barney the Purple Dinosaur fan club. My managers took out my machine with liberal applications of their baseball bats. I'm afraid to touch anything plush and furry anymore.

    2/15/98 - While viewing pr0n on my notebook in the Deep South, a preacher ripped it out of my hands and beat on it mercilessly with a baseball bat. I'm afraid to jerk off anymore.

    12/21/98 - I had gotten my AV up and running on my home PC, and was showing a special episode of Pokemon which had recently been withdrawn in Japan. I was showing this to some neighborhood kids, all of whom entered epileptic fits when watching a random sequence of flashing lights. That afternoon, several irate parents came over and smashed my computer with baseball bats. I'm afraid to watch cartoons anymore.

    1/1/00 - While watching DVDs on my notebook, a bunch of DeCSS fanatics got upset because I was supporting "The Man". After losing my portable to a swarm of swinging baseball bats, I quickly developed an adverse reaction to the Movie Industry.

    4/1/00 - I secretly set my roomie's X Server's scan refresh rate to 200 KHz. The monitor caught fire after he came back, and he spent the rest of the night hitting the machine with a basball bat. I guess this virus also affects Linux.

    Now, I know that no one likes an alarmist, so I'm going to talk about it like calm rational creature...

    This VIRUS seems to culminate in the *imminent* DESTRUCTION of one's computer via baseball bat!!! Don't let it happen to you! *SEVERAL* people have had their computers PHYSICALLY DESTROYED. You can protect yourself by giving out 100 copies of this letter, and fortune may smile on you; just add your name to the list below and send $500 to each person on the list.

    1. Bill Gates
    1 Microsoft Way

    2. Paul Allen
    1 Microsoft Wy.

    3. Warren Buffet
    3864 Skaru Yew Ave.

    4. Solomon Kevin Chang
    2107 W. Commonwealth Ave. #414
    Alhambra, CA. 91803

    When I receive payment, I will send you your very own Anti-Virus kit: a genuine 9mm Smith and Wesson Sigma Enhanced with two Hi-Cap Magazines filled with hollow point bullets. Instructions for use are an extra $60. Don't wait! Act now!

  • by Chairboy ( 88841 ) on Monday April 03, 2000 @02:58PM (#1153679) Homepage
    Damn those hackers! I know all about them, I've seen Hackers and The Net (Sandra B. is one hot computer expert! Rrrowr!), so I don't doubt anything I read about the abilities of these super mastermind criminal geniuses.

    I hear new cars have computers in them. I oughta visit my local dealer and have him remove the computer from my car. I'm sure the hackers can use my cell phone to 'download' a program to my car that could cause it to blow up. If the dealer won't remove it, I'll get a paint scraper and shave all those funny little black rectangles off the circuit boards myself!

    I sure am glad the Weekly World News is on top of this threat. They report all the stories that the other newspapers won't touch, but that's because they aren't afraid of exposing the truth! I'd better get back to the supermarket, there might be some stunning new development in the Jon-Benet Ramsey case (last I heard, it was the mom!) or biblical prophesies my pastor hasn't told me about. Glory!
  • by frantzdb ( 22281 ) on Monday April 03, 2000 @03:06PM (#1153680) Homepage
    Fortunately I was runing Windows in VMware so it only virtually blew up, but had it been runing natively... scary.
  • by jonathanclark ( 29656 ) on Monday April 03, 2000 @04:48PM (#1153681) Homepage
    On the atari jaguar, there was a certain series of instructions that when executed repeatedly would cause the chip to overheat. While it wouldn't explode per say, it could pop out of it's socket.
  • by anonymous cowerd ( 73221 ) on Monday April 03, 2000 @04:50PM (#1153682) Homepage

    Microsoft confessed responsibility today for the epidemic of exploding CPUs, which they attribute to a bug in their new "Hardware Upgrade Wizard." CEO Steve Ballmer explained in an interview today on MSNBC:

    "Microsoft has recently been severely criticized for 'bloatware,' or large, resource-intensive programs which require modern, high-performance systems to achieve adequate performance. But we at Microsoft are devoted to bringing our customers new, innovative technologies, to take users 'where they want to go today.' And since the hardware exists today, giving us the opportunity to work out our new visions for twenty-first century computing, we feel it is our obligation to use it to the maximum degree possible."

    "However, we're fully aware that this trend toward greater functionality, and hence toward greater complexity and size of the code, might leave our customers with 'legacy systems' in the lurch, so to speak. So we have spent over three hundred million dollars in a secret project to develop our unique and patented 'Hardware Upgrade Wizard'. With this exciting new technology, we can remotely rewrite the traces in the silicon substrate of you CPU chip while it is running!. The 'Hardware Upgrade Wizard' is capable of engraving components in-situ right upon the silicon chip of your own old, obsolete CPU, with a feature size of less that 0.07 microns. Thus, even on the relatively small chip in a 386 CPU, we can fit the entire circuitry of an up-to-date Pentium III chip; and since the trace size is so small, that new re-engraved chip, with over eight million components, actually runs cooler and with a smaller current consumption than it did, pre-re-engraving, when it was a 386 with a mere 360,000 components. Thus any putative problem arising from the yeast-like growth of our code base becomes, simply, 'no problem.'"

    "And we decided, rather than releasing this new application for download from our website [], instead, in the playful spirit of April Fools, we would surprise all our faithful customers by remotely upgrading their old, slow PCs without their knowledge, so that the next time they turned them on, the lucky users would discover that they now enjoyed, absolutely for free, the sizzling performance of a new, state-of-the-art system!

    The method we used to remotely install the 'Hardware Upgrade Wizard' was a variation on the standard "Melissa" email trojan-horse, using the exclusive 'Virus Propagation Wizard' built in to every copy of our popular, best-of-breed Outlook email client software. Our engineers started sending out our little surprise gift on Sunday, March 26, 2000."

    "To our dismay, reports started filtering in over the next few days about a small, unforeseen bug in the 'Hardware Upgrade Wizard,' somehow un-caught in our extensive beta testing program, where the energy released in the course of the in-situ re-engraving, rather than being released slowly and being drawn off and dissipated by the heat sink, instead is released all at once over a period approximately equal to time it takes photons to cross the width of the chip, in a fashion similar to a Q-switched laser, resulting in a violently exothermic burst of hard radiation."

    "All of us here at Microsoft are deeply sorry about the property damage and loss of life caused by this unforseeable software 'glitch.' However, I would like to make one thing perfectly clear. We at Microsoft explicity deny any legal liability for any unfortunate side-effects of the 'Hardware Upgrade Wizard.' Anyone who was affected by this software malfunction clearly must have clicked through the license agreement for Microsoft Outlook. You will see, in section 114A, paragraph 32, line 178, of the license agreement for Microsoft Outlook, a clear disavowal of any responsibility 'for damages or injuries arising from the use of the Software.' Thus we are clearly exculpated from liability for any resultant damages."

    "In other words: You bought it, now you eat it! Suckers."

    Recklessly courting a libel suit, I remain,

    Yours WDK -

  • by eap ( 91469 ) on Monday April 03, 2000 @02:52PM (#1153683) Journal
    I heard some guy's beowolf system was attacked by this virus...leveled an entire city block.

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. -- Neil Armstrong