I'm just about to switch to a new SSD drive, so I figured it's a good occasion for a really, really fresh start. I reconsidered every installed piece of software, uninstalled lots of crap (surprisingly, my system started to be more responsive ;]), and checked for viruses and stuff (since I didn't want to transfer any malware to my brand new shiny system).
During the virus scan, one file popped as suspected, and then I started to wonder... Though I haven't any direct proof that I ever encountered a serious infection, like really weird acts of rebooting/bsods/problems with apps, and I took lots of precautions (always kept my software updated, used firefox's "noscript" extension, kept java turned off, used sandboxes, AV, and so on), maybe something slipped.
And if something slipped - all is compromised. All hope is gone... ;]
I started to wonder about the current state of malware. Is it capable of
- spreading on connected USB drives (in that case, all my backups are compromised);
- spreading through the local network (in which case all my other PCs are compromised too);
- infecting my restore partition (yay! this is getting scary);
- infecting my BIOS/UEFI (just enough so it could redownload it's full package and start spreading again)...
Are malware authors capable of making viruses such as these? That is, viruses that can spread through all possible devices in such a way to always remain hidden from users and spread unchallenged. Eventually, every machine would be infected; even fresh new ones, machines currently in the factory would be infected, and so on, and so on...
Maybe it's already happened. Are our computers living in their own "virus matrix?" The Vitrix? ;]
Ok, jokes aside. It's probably impossible to create such software, so let's go back to my original, simpler question, involving only one infected machine:
Could any machine, once infected, ever be trusted again?