Can a CPU Get a Virus? [Important Facts to Know 2023]

Written By Farhan Max

After investing a lot of money you have just upgraded your entire rig!  But a question keeps knocking in your mind what would happen if your shiny new CPU gets a virus attack? How much damage it could cost?

A virus is quite a wrecking factor for the system. But don’t feel victimized yet, I will help you to know all the possibilities of getting a virus and how to overcome this. As a hardware security maintenance engineer, I have dealt with this problem a lot. So, you can count on me.

Try to go through the entire article to get all the doubt out of your head.can-a-cpu-get-a-virus

Can a Virus Affect the CPU?

Yes, it is possible to get your CPU infected by a virus. A computer virus is nothing but a type of malicious code, these codes are written to manipulate the operating procedures. A virus can spread from one system to another and keep spreading to the entire system by duplicating itself. It causes havoc in the system.

But viruses are prone to attack in the softwares. But sometimes micro-coded viruses like a BIOS virus can attack the low level of your systems like the motherboard or the CPU. This type of virus can easily affect the entire system by malfunctioning the CPU or the motherboard.

CPU is a hardware device, it controls all the inputs and outputs of the entire system.

All the programs are executed by this. Binary coded data, loops, and input and output data executions are controlled by the CPU. So, a virus that can alter this machine code or macro code in the CPU can cause extreme havoc to the CPU.

Motherboards BIOS can also be attacked by a virus. If this thing happens then it is so tough to detect the BIOS virus. It can hide secretly without knowing you and later it can damage the motherboard. But these types of micro coded viruses are rare, viruses that can attack throw softwares are common nowadays.

So, if you are unfortunate enough then it is possible that your CPU may affect by a virus. 

How does a Virus Infect the CPU?how-does-a-virus-infect-the-cpu

Just like the recent ongoing pandemic virus COVID-19, a computer virus also needs a host to spread. A virus or malware can spread by replicating itself and it usually spread into the system files or other files in the storage devices. All kinds of files can contain viruses, from multi-media files to pdf files.

If you have downloaded a file or app from an untrusted source and installed it in the system, then it may contain deadly malware. Which can cause chaos to your entire system.

But there is a technical difference between malware and a virus. Malware represents all types of malicious softwares, applications, and how they work. But a virus is a coded file that attaches to a file and continues to replicate itself until it is detected or quarantined by an antivirus.

Recently there a virus called badBIOS which is a nightmare for both PC and MAC. This malware could enter into your BIOS while updating BIOS from an unauthorized source. This could delete data and change the system’s configuration without knowing you. It will not prompt any notifications while changing settings.

It can even transmit data when your IPV6 protocol is disabled. The worst thing is that it can even transmit data from one infected machine to another infected machine when your wifi or Bluetooth card is removed, and your ethernet and power cord are plugged out.

So, it is possible to infect the BIOS of the motherboard or CPU while updating the BIOS or installing OS.

How Much Damage Virus can do to the CPU?

A virus can destroy the CPU fully. It will down your system performance and you can face lagging and the CPU will get too hot.

Virus can cause high CPU usage by overloading the CPU with heavy workloads. When your CPU usage increased to 100% it will cause lagging and it can shut down the system entirely. With the heavy workload, you will see your tasks will get stuck and some applications will behave abnormally.

Sometimes, it overclocks the CPU and overrides the failsafe. This will cause the CPU to overclock without any safety measures and thus the temperature rises. Generally, the CPU shutdown automatically if its temp becomes too hot but the virus keeps the CPU on and caused a lot of damage to the CPU. It can meltdown the CPU.

A virus can manipulate the BIOS and change the cooling fan settings. It can shut down the cooling fan, and you can see the CPU cooler is bad. As a result, it increases the CPU usage which will increase the temp so much. Without cooling, the CPU will be too much hot that its electrical component can be damaged permanently.

Another bad scenario can happen if a virus alters the CPU voltage. It can fry up the CPU by passing a high amount of voltage. And sometimes, you can see the CPU voltage is low compared to normal. If the virus manipulates the failsafe while increasing the voltage too much, it will become too much hot that it will burn the transistors inside it.

Not only the CPU and motherboard it can also infect the GPU and Ram. HDD and SSD are more prone to being infected by the virus. When a virus invades the storage devices it destroys all the files. All the important files will be unavailable, media files won’t open and your applications will behave crazy. Shortcut virus is the perfect example of this.

How to Spot a Virus in the CPU

You will face major problems while you are infected with a virus in your system. You will face hardware issues along with software issues. A virus can slow down your entire system by changing the registry editor in the system.

Here are the ways to spot a virus in the CPU:

  • You will see pop-up windows automatically.
  • Your pc will shut down or keep restarting frequently.
  • You will face problems while shutting down or restarting.
  • Lots of shortcut files will be seen and files will delete automatically.
  • CPU usage is high when then are is few applications running.
  • While browsing you will be automatically redirected to other pages.
  • You will find emails are sent autonomously from your account.
  • CPU cooling fans are set to off from BIOS settings without any notification.
  • Your system will perform slowly.

So, the above-mentioned factors are symptoms you will face while your system is under attack by a virus.

How to Overcome from Virus

Day by day more advanced viruses is being created by hackers. To protect your system from viruses it is a must to ensure all the safety measures.

Here are some steps that you can follow to get rid of the virus:

  • Try to use premium-level antivirus programs which will give you enough protection from viruses and malware. Keep the virus definition up to date. Try to run scans for viruses regularly.
  • Keep your OS up to date and don’t download files from untrusted sources.
  • Do not open emails that contain suspicious files or links and never open a mail from untrusted senders. Try not to open emails that are in the spam folder.
  • If you think your BIOS is under attack then flashing the BIOS could remove the virus. Use rootkit to detect a BIOS virus. Try to update BIOS from a trusted source.
  • Don’t open removable storage devices file without scanning.
  • Don’t use cracked softwares, it can contain malware.
  • If any storage becomes fully infected then try not to use it.

So, try to follow these steps to keep your system virus-free. But keep in mind that precautions are always better than preventions.


Can a virus help hackers break into your system?

Malware or a virus can create a backdoor in your system. Which is enough for a hacker to gain access to your system and steal your user password, files, and other important docs.

Can Ram be infected by a virus?

Yes, a Ram can be infected by a virus. There is a virus called memory-resistant virus which can keep running in the background even after its host application stopped running. 

Can malware cause permanent damage to your pc?

Malware can cause permanent damage to your pc by manipulating hardware settings. It can turn the cooling fan off and fry the CPU. After turning off the cooling fan CPU will overheat and damage its electrical components.

Wrapping up

So, your CPU can be infected by a hazardous virus and cause havoc to your entire system. It has the ability to destroy the CPU and motherboard. It can fry up the CPU by altering the voltage and turning off the cooling fan.

In order to secure your pc from the virus and malware try to use premium anti-virus programs. Keep your OS up to date and try to download files from trusted sites. Try to educate yourself about the malware and virus threats and warn others.

If you go through the entire article, you know what to do if your pc is under a virus attack. Just let me know by commenting if you have further queries.

About The Author
Farhan Max is a tech geek with a particular interest in computer hardware. He's been fascinated by gaming since childhood and is now completing his undergraduate studies while researching and testing the latest tech innovations. Alongside his love for all things geeky, Farhan is also a skilled photographer.

Leave a Comment