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As we know, instructions are stored in RAM. So, can I embed a controller chip (or something like this) that can change the content of RAM? (e.g. change the Windows 10 boot instructions into malicious instructions.)

Is it possible? How difficult is this work?

I'm sorry if it sounds stupid, because I'm not familiar with hardware.

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  • A RAM module is a daughterboard, which is important to know to think about this imho Jul 6, 2022 at 19:33
  • @SirMuffington Could you tell me how to think about daughterboard in this issue?
    – Hanbi
    Jul 7, 2022 at 4:54

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RAM memory is volatile, meaning that once it has been unplugged for a few seconds, any data on it is lost.

In general though, the attack you're describing of soldering extra malicious chips into computer hardware is a very real threat -- though usually done on motherboards, not RAM sticks [1], [2]. The US government has been caught doing this as early as 2014 [3].

For the attacker, getting your hands on the equipment and covertly soldering on new chips is obviously quite difficult and expensive, basically limiting this to nation-state actors. I've heard of it being done for core internet or telephony routing equipment, and you could imagine it being done for personal computers or phones of very high-interest political targets, but I can't imagine it's done for your average person. Still, if you're worried about this sort of thing, you should buy your computing equipment from a vendor your trust, and you should pick it up in-person rather than have it go through the mail in a box that conveniently has your name on the outside.

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  • Thank you for rapid response and detailed explanation. It's what I want to know. Have a nice day!
    – Hanbi
    Jul 6, 2022 at 18:27
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    Basically. If you got physical acces to the machine…. All bets are off. (As a side note, there are memory stealing techniques involving liquid nitrogen to steal data from a memory cell by “freezing” it in place for a few seconds / minutes without active power…. )
    – LvB
    Jul 6, 2022 at 20:58
  • @LvB Thanks! It's an interesting information.
    – Hanbi
    Jul 7, 2022 at 4:55

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