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Author Topic: A virus can cause monitors to explode?
Joseph Z
Xboxing Day


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I had a reoccuring dream about the scene in Final Destination and made me wonder. I did some internet searching and found keywords "Virus"+"Monitor"+"Explode".

But it made me wonder, can a computer virus fry your computer monitor and blow out the glass killing the user in the process ?

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Joseph Z

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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No.

It can't even damage the monitor, even though people claim it. It could possible damage the monitor by using a refresh rate that is way to high, but it would take a long time and the screen would be unwatchable. Who sits looking at an undecipherable, epilepsy-inducing screen for days without turning it off?

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/Troberg

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Joseph Z
Xboxing Day


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What about pouring water into the monitor and seeing if it blows the glass out like the classic scene ?

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Joseph Z

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Zachary Fizz
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Joseph, pouring water into an electrical device is very, very dangerous. Don't do it.
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Gushi
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Why don't you try it and let us know? [Smile]
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Jack Dylan
Deck the Malls


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I thought it was some kind of alcohol that she got in the monitor, vodka or something. It's been a while since I've seen the movie so I could be wrong though.

Is the idea feasible though? I wouldn't think so, I thought it would just fry the monitor.

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Eppis: Do you know why being a revolutionary doesn't work in this country? Being a revolutionary in America is like being a spoil sport at an orgy. All these goodies being passed around and you feel like a shit when you say no.

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Joseph Z
Xboxing Day


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quote:
Originally posted by Troberg:
Who sits looking at an undecipherable, epilepsy-inducing screen for days without turning it off?

I do. My company is saying can't afford a safe flat panel monitor. $500 is too much then again so are printer cartridges today that are making bad ideas to sell to home offices. $30 cartridges and six cartridges for a printer and putting it in an office that prints 200 sheets a day to have it colored, I'll just stick with our broken one that prints with black and tri-color.

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Joseph Z

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Gushi
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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You could send some sort of huge electrical impulse around the world like in Electric Dreams [Eek!] That ought to do it.
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NocturnalGoddess- naughty or nice?
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It's as possible and likely as two girls being killed in tanning beds [Smile]

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Joseph Z
Xboxing Day


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Nah, that myth was debunked by Mythbusters in their "Microwave Madness" episode. You'd get a bad burn, but your gizzards aren't cooked to death.

Although I've never seen an episode of them testing the monitor myth straight out of the hollywood famous recap using "Final Destination" as the culprit.

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Joseph Z

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gnome
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Maybe a virus can't but according to this guy, bad software can!

http://www.oldmanmurray.com/longreviews/60.html

quote:
Another thing I noticed is that Freedom is one of those games that likes to drag your monitor through fifteen different video modes every time you play it. It's like a stress test for your monitor. Some games do it, some games don't. I don't know why. Now don't infer anything about our final opinion from this next observation, but the seventh time I loaded it, Red Storm's Anne McCaffery's Freedom: First Resistance BLEW UP MY MONITOR. Honest to God, I'm not kidding about this. Freedom began its normal routine of forcing my monitor to sprint through a video mode obstacle course, only this time my beautiful 19" Hansol 900p made a noise like a bomb going off and died. The glass front panel didn't shatter, meaning it was a fully-contained internal explosion - which is the worst kind!

At this point, you might be wondering whether my monitor was about to die anyway. All I can say is that why don't you try using that same logic on the surviving family members of people killed in a plane crash and see how it holds up there. Freedom: First Resistance BLEW UP MY MONITOR. I'll repeat that for Red Storm's lawyers: Freedom + monitor = blowed up monitor. And if you Red Storm people are thinking of suing me, be prepared for the Story of Ricky of courtroom dramas. Your lawyer will be like "Your Honor, blah blah blah habeus corpus blah blah restraint of trade blah bla-ACK!" because at that point I'll be strangling him with his own intestines.


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Pseudo_Croat
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I once had my monitor's CRT blow up on me. Don't know why, it just did - must have been old or something.

There was a loud pop, a puff of black smoke, an awful smell, and the screen went blank. No exploding screens or the like though. This may be what happened to the fellow in gnome's link.

I suspect that in order for a computer monitor to really blow up and spray shrapnel everywhere, you'd have to have an actual explosive device hidden in the monitor itself. I'm not sure how you'd do that without affecting the monitor's performance, and I don't want to know.

- Pseudo "monitor blizzard" Croat

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NocturnalGoddess- naughty or nice?
Carol of the Dells


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quote:
Originally posted by Joseph Z:
Nah, that myth was debunked by Mythbusters in their "Microwave Madness" episode. You'd get a bad burn, but your gizzards aren't cooked to death.

Although I've never seen an episode of them testing the monitor myth straight out of the hollywood famous recap using "Final Destination" as the culprit.

Actually, I was referring to the third (or whatever is the newest) FD.

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"I saw weird stuff in that place last night. Weird, strange, sick, twisted, eerie, godless, EVIL stuff... and I want in."- Homer Simpson

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Jason Threadslayer
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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My uncle had a TV explode (as in glass shards coming out) when a picture fell behind the box and hit the back of the tube.

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All posts foretold by Nostradamus.

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Joseph Z
Xboxing Day


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What about lightning striking through the house electricity and blowing it up?

Back in the old days old homes didn't have ground protectors, and it was rumored that lightning strikes can make the tv blow out the glass.

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Joseph Z

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James G.
Xboxing Day


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I had my monitor explode on me as well, smelt slightly of bacon. But again the screen didn't shatter, indeed after the smoke had dispersed it would have been impossible to tell anything was wrong without plugging it in.

I would have thought a virus could cause physical damage to the processor/graphics card by tampering with fan speeds. A decent BIOS configuration should avoid this but the emergency shutoffs aren't always valid.

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Sasquatch
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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The version I heard, quite a few years ago, was that the very first commercially available plasma screen laptops, Toshiba if I recall, used off the shelf voltage controllers to drive the plasma screen, and it was supposedly possible through software to over-voltage the screen and actually blow it up. Not room-shattering, but maybe screen-shattering.
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Aptenodytes_Forsteriis
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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I don't know about a virus, but I can testify that cat vomit will make flames come out of a monitor. And what is possibly the vilest odor on earth. It also scares the hell out of the cat!

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
"Who sits looking at an undecipherable, epilepsy-inducing screen for days without turning it off?"

I do.

Not this bad. When a monitor goes out of sync, it's unviewable. The image is just flickers, often rolling flickers.

quote:
Joseph, pouring water into an electrical device is very, very dangerous. Don't do it.
It can be done safely by rigging a bucket with some (dry, nonconductive) string. Not much happened, but after a while my ground fault breaker (correct English term?) cut the power. I used clean water, which is a bad conductor, should probably put some salt into it.

quote:
Maybe a virus can't but according to this guy, bad software can! (snip)
My guess: monitor was already about to fail, it would have happened soon anyway.

A couple of years ago, I got into a debate about this. One person just would not accept that overclocking the sync rate of a monitor was different from overclocking a CPU. It ended up with me proving the point by taking an old monitor I didn't need (max resolution 640x480...) and fed it a refresh rate of 999 Hz (the maximum I could get a graphics card to feed). I think the maximum the monitor could handle was 60 Hz, and it actually started to buzz with a high pitched whine when fed that high frequency. To make it a bit tougher, I threw a blanket over it so that it wouldn't run cool. It ran perfectly for over a year, until I needed that computer for something else. I still have that monitor and it still works.

quote:
I once had my monitor's CRT blow up on me. Don't know why, it just did - must have been old or something.

There was a loud pop, a puff of black smoke, an awful smell, and the screen went blank. No exploding screens or the like though.

If you get smoke, it's usually some dust that caught fire. Don't you ever clean inside your monitor?!?!?! [Smile]

The good news are that often it's enough to open it up and vacuum it thuroughly and it will work nicely again. Do NOT do this if you are the slightest bit unsure about what you can touch inside a monitor, and use a plastic attachment on the vacuum.

quote:
Back in the old days old homes didn't have ground protectors, and it was rumored that lightning strikes can make the tv blow out the glass.
That can still happen. A lightning strike is powerful enough to take some detours on it's way to the ground.

quote:
I would have thought a virus could cause physical damage to the processor/graphics card by tampering with fan speeds. A decent BIOS configuration should avoid this but the emergency shutoffs aren't always valid.
One of the reasons I always put the fans directly on the power supply and always run them at full speed.

quote:
I don't know about a virus, but I can testify that cat vomit will make flames come out of a monitor.
Most likely, only the vomit got damaged. Clean it out and chances are that it will work again, although I'd probably pay up for a new monitor rather than cleaning vomit out of an old one.

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/Troberg

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Rokatesh
I Saw Three Shipments


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quote:
I don't know about a virus, but I can testify that cat vomit will make flames come out of a monitor. And what is possibly the vilest odor on earth. It also scares the hell out of the cat!
Now that's quite disgusting!

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Shannon (aka Rokatesh)

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Grand Illusion
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Modern monitors have a certain amount of intelligence built into them, and they are software controllable, and, technically, a virus can hit anything that's software controllable. Theoretically, a virus could modulate a monitor's refresh rates, white temperature, or hibernation so quickly that it might, I say -might-, be able to blow a component in the monitor that will break it or knock the picture out. To cause an explosion serious enough to injure someone, the monitor itself would have to have a defect in the first place.

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BluesScale
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I used to work in hardware repair many years ago. Exploding monitors were rare but there was one model that often fired electolytic capacitors out of the side of the case. If you replaced the capacitor (and hopefully patched the case) then the monitor would run again.

With regard to the smell of blown up monitor, that was one of the quick diagnostics that we would use. You soon learn the difference between carbon film resistor smoke and semiconductor smoke when you smell them every day.

Blues "Mmmm, Tantalum bead capacitor" Scale

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Quttaus
I Saw Three Shipments


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quote:
Originally posted by Grand Illusion:
Modern monitors have a certain amount of intelligence built into them, and they are software controllable, and, technically, a virus can hit anything that's software controllable.

For what its worth, one of my old college profs told us about a particularly nasty virus that he had seen.

The virus posed as a legit program and claimed to be able to change a standard CD-Rom drive to a CD-RW. If you downloaded and ran the "program", it would tell you to leave your PC on for 24 hours while it made the necessary changes. Then it would shut down most of the fans and cooling systems, causing your PC to fry itself.

Never heard of the virus myself, but my prof was a virus collector and had a lot of experience removing them from PC's, so I guess Ill take his word for it.

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GreenJeanz
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Viruses only affect software and there is no magical button in monitor software that's labeled; "Make monitor explode in face of user". [Razz]
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Koshka
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Joseph Z:
What about lightning striking through the house electricity and blowing it up?

Back in the old days old homes didn't have ground protectors, and it was rumored that lightning strikes can make the tv blow out the glass.

MythBusters couldn't run a full test of this one when they did "Phone in a Thunderstorm", the fake lightning facility they were at wouldn't let them have the monitor and TV set running during the test. However, they were plugged in during the tests, and they worked fine after the tests.

A friend of mine managed to fry a monitor by hooking it up to a noncompatible video card, but it didn't blow up, it just died.

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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There is one kind that prints "I love Satan" on the screen over and over again and when it reaches the 666th time, the angels hit the screen with a bolt of lightning *ZOT*.

But seriously, this is not really true:
quote:
Viruses only affect software
Applications can control hardware resources and viruses can control applications (or, with a looser definition of one or both, viruses may be applications). I doubt there's any real danger of harm but if an application can do it then a virus can too. (This is an uneducated opinion. I have zero expertise in viruses.)
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Troberg
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quote:
With regard to the smell of blown up monitor, that was one of the quick diagnostics that we would use. You soon learn the difference between carbon film resistor smoke and semiconductor smoke when you smell them every day.
Not only that, you can find a burned integrated circuit by tasting it with the tip of your tongue. If it tastes almost nothing, it's OK, if it tasted burned, it's burned.

Don't ever do this on anything that's plugged in or has high voltage circiutry!

quote:
Modern monitors have a certain amount of intelligence built into them, and they are software controllable, and, technically, a virus can hit anything that's software controllable. Theoretically, a virus could modulate a monitor's refresh rates, white temperature, or hibernation so quickly that it might, I say -might-, be able to blow a component in the monitor that will break it or knock the picture out.
It doesn't matter that they are software controllable, monitors have always been possible to fool with bad input signals. However, such signals can cause them to not display the image correctly, but it will not break them. Remember, the frequencies used in a monitor is way below the frequencies electrical components can handle, even if massively overclocked. It's like driving a formula 1 car at 50 km/h instead of 30. It's still well within what it can handle, but the photographer at the side of the road may not get a clear picture (which in this analogy would mean that the monitor would not be able to sync and show a legible image).

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/Troberg

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GreenJeanz
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by Ganzfeld:
But seriously, this is not really true:
quote:
Viruses only affect software
Applications can control hardware resources and viruses can control applications (or, with a looser definition of one or both, viruses may be applications). I doubt there's any real danger of harm but if an application can do it then a virus can too. (This is an uneducated opinion. I have zero expertise in viruses.)
It is true. The virus can only affect the software controlling the hardware; it cannot physically make it do anything that is not codeable ie the comical idea of a "blow up monitor" button.
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SuperGoten
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quote:
But it made me wonder, can a computer virus fry your computer monitor and blow out the glass killing the user in the process ?
This reminds me of what a friend of mine kept trying to tell me a couple years ago. That she knew a virus that could blow up a computer. I wasn't that gullible, even then..
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Mycroft
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I have always been told that if the cathode ray tube of a television (or by extension monitor) breaks there are weak areas designed that the fragments will go backwards rather than towards the user (watch out in open plan offices!!!). Theoretically a cold liquid could cause a hot tube to crack due to thermal stress, but I've never heard of it happening. Lightning strikes not only could give your monitor a very bad day but can also cause serious damage to house wiring.
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mgbdriver
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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The glass on the front (screen side) of a CRT is extremely thick. it is designed so that if it implodes, any shards of glass will go toward the rear of the monitor.
Pouring water down the back will probably just blow the fuse.

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
The glass on the front (screen side) of a CRT is extremely thick. it is designed so that if it implodes, any shards of glass will go toward the rear of the monitor.
Not only that, if it falls, it's more likely to land on the front, so it's to protect the CRT.

Don't overestimate the damage potential of an imploding CRT. Even if you break them by hitting the weak rear end with a blunt object, they just go poof and the shards fall down (I've butchered a bunch of old TV's to get to some fun components). Nothing is sent flying. It's not a frag mine. It's about as spectacular as breaking a drinking glass.

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/Troberg

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abigsmurf
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the most dangerous thing in a CRT monitor/TV are the capacitors, nothing like getting an ultra high volt shock from an unplugged TV....
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snoozn
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I remember hearing about this back when I was the "virus specialist" in the computer security dept where I worked. It is listed on Vmyths as the Flaming Monitor virus:
quote:
The Associated Press once reported the existence of a computer virus running amok in Silicon Valley. This virus supposedly made video monitors burst into flames. However, AP filed this newswire just eight days after an April Fool's Day.

This hoax virus alert gained new life some years later when the Weekly World News tabloid claimed the computer virus made monitors explode, thrusting shards of glass into the eyes of children who received infected PCs as Christmas gifts.

A few other sites list the name I remember for the virus: death ray virus.

It also showed up in one of the worst books I have ever read in my life, a book called "Backslash" which was pretty badly written and technically even worse (the hero was supposed to be some kind of computer genius and the auther apparently got all his computer knowledge from random emails or something.) I had to agree with a reviewer on Amazon who said "If only there were a MST3K for books!"

snoozn

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mgbdriver
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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quote:
Originally posted by abigsmurf:
the most dangerous thing in a CRT monitor/TV are the capacitors, nothing like getting an ultra high volt shock from an unplugged TV....

In that case, the CRT is the worst capacitor in the bunch, if you happen to put your hand across the anode while holding it. 30kV is enough to spoil your morning.
I know from experience; damn near broke my foot when I dropped it.

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