can a READ-ONLY dvd/cd player have firmware in it get infected with a RAT? I read 2 different opinions here, a yes and a no. It is in relation to if a RAT gets onto computer via ip address or opening email infected, and then whether it can infect the firmware of the player even if it can NOT infect ANYTHING else?
mini-mouse: the usb piece of the wireless mouse - can they get infected with a RAT or would the usb port get infected with the RAT, if one were to get infected? What if I used a WIRED mouse?
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If plugged in directly to motherboard(IDE/SATA/eSATA/etc) - yes. Via USB2SATA cable it's highly model-dependent, but in most cases NO: the cable accepts and translates only a storage interface commands, flashing ones are non-standard, so they are ignored. I had this exact situation when I was about to flash a DVD-RW firmware, but was unable to do so via USB cable, direct connect did the flashing trick.
I've answered it before: if the JTAG in that MCU inside that mouthpiece is just a pins on a board, not connected physically anywhere - no, they can be elaborated by attaching an external JTAG programmer/debugger by hand manually and on-site. But it also can be an implementation that allows a through-usb flashing. So the answer is - check the PCB and the chip docs for your very specific device(s)
Banana Pi M3, Orange Pi Plus 2E, Odroid C2 - you will be fine with the basic tasks you've mentioned. Pick any of them for your choice, but if you are not skilled in Linux OS - M3 can be a bit hard for you, it's a very new CPU and it's not yet supported so wide