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Sorry, I am noob to security. Is it possible to blow up a computer by hacking it or at least provoke a hardware dysfunction?

marked as duplicate by Anders, S.L. Barth, Marcus Müller, André Borie, Community Dec 20 '16 at 10:14

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The BIOS will probably have settings to change at what temperature your CPU or GPU shuts down or forces a machine reboot, and a sufficiently motivated attacker could flash new dangerous values from a running machine, then run some intensive programs to force them to overheat and permanently damage the hardware. On most consumer hardware, I doubt it'd "blow up", but you'd be out some potentially expensive hardware.

Stuxnet is a well-known government-level malware that executed a more sophisticated form of this attack on nuclear centrifuges: it would override the safety controls display so that they appeared to be operating at safe levels, while simultaneously ramping up the centrifuge to a level at which it would break.

  • I can confirm that some firmwares allow changing the CPU cutoff temperature. Whether this is the only safeguard or if the CPU has a hardcoded one as well is something I don't know and I'd avoid testing. – André Borie Dec 20 '16 at 10:10

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