Are there any known ways to gain access to firmware (bios/EFI) and permanently change the audio in a way that would effect the quality (Clarity, Volume, Frequency Range, Dynamic Range). For instance could an attacker gain access to my I/O and alter it without necessarily needing to flash my computer?

The reason I ask is I believe my friends and I have the pleasure of being infected with a weird malware that does just that. Our systems have became slightly slower, and the most noticeable symptom is the audio quality changes through out the day. I completely cleared a hard drive with Windows on it and installed Linux. The audio stopped changing, however the audio quality is now permanently horrific. The malware has spread among the people I work with. One way I know it spreads is by USB because shortly after transferring files, the computer started to show symptoms. I also believe it spreads wirelessly somehow (but not a 100%) because a fresh computer that was not infected and only was used for emails got infected in the same fecanity as the other computers. On the infected computers I hear clicks throughout the day, even when no audio is playing.

1 Answer 1


No offense but I believe you are being a little paranoid. If someone had the knowledge to take control of your computer, what would he gain by changing the audio quality? It doesn't make sense, at least in my experience (20 years of vulnerability analysis).

A Windows malware spreading by USB flash drive, that is common, but hey, with my hand upon my chest, just format your disks, install Windows again, don't ever stick in another USB flash drive, and be happy.

  • I agree if it just changed the audio quality it doesn't make sense. But I think that is a symptom and not the underlying problem as there is also network connections when ever audio is played. But perhaps you didn't read the entire prompt. I did reformat and install another operating system, but the audio is stuck in a distorted sound. Also it is spreading to not just me, but other people. So it isn't me "being a little paranoid." Jun 9, 2017 at 23:57
  • What I was asking is what are the known ways to get access to the firmware to alter audio quality? Sometimes when it changes the audio is actually bizarrely of better quality as well, so I want to research it. What reason for a person would invent this is irrelevant until they start stealing things. Also there are also ways a user can change the audio quality, that on a noninfected computer would not happen. We have compared healthy computers and infected and noticed such differences. Jun 10, 2017 at 0:10
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    Okay. There is a chance, even if small, that it is not paranoia and you have a real problem. But with the information you have provided I cannot help you any further. If the audio has issues after switching from Windows to Linux, it's most likely a hardware issue. I wish I could help you from here, but I'm afraid you're going to have to hire an in-person technician to identify what is going on. Sorry, buddy. I wish I could do more.
    – sidewinder
    Jun 10, 2017 at 0:21
  • Assuming we aren't just imagining it (There's 6 people who noticed they have it) , what type of expert would we hire if it is a malware affecting the firmware? Most security experts don't ever go that far as rootkits and bootkits and other things like that. But we did detect ssh is enabled when we never turned it on the computers using a rootkit hunter. Jun 10, 2017 at 0:44
  • SSH is usually enabled by default.
    – sidewinder
    Jun 10, 2017 at 8:09

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