If they're infecting your firmware, they really want you. That's an awful lot of work and awfully specific work. I can easily imagine that it's possible, but outside of true cyberwarfare, I don't think it'll be common in the wild. Your average attacker isn't going to want to mess with something that in-depth and expensive. I'd keep it in the back of your mind, but a reformat would almost certainly deal with any malware you're going to actually see and deal with. Technically, a reformat's the only robust way to deal with any
infection, as once a computer's been compromised, you can never actually trust that computer again. But unless you're working Systems (I'm Systems in my real life), you can probably get away with just trying to do a good solid virus scan or two and then determining if the system is still behaving outside of expectations before you burn it all down.
SperoWolf wrote:I did, but it brought up a ton of (seemingly) random numbers and such, and it won't let me copy and paste from there
Those "seemingly random" numbers are the thing I'm interested in.
Once you know what they mean, they won't seem so random. The IPv4 DNS entry was the one I really wanted to see. That's the location of the computer that tells your computer what domain names mean. Essentially, the DNS server turns "www.google.com
" into the address of the Google server; it works a little bit like a phone book, turning a person's name into the phone number you need to call that person. If a malicious server has taken over, it'll give you the wrong answer as for where to find Google (for instance) and insert itself in the middle (hence a man-in-the-middle attack) and spy on everything you tell Google (or whoever).
If you think that you can get by with the situation as it stands, so be it. If you're still interested in getting it solved, we're still here to offer advice.
-- Reformatting --
Your hard drive is a much more complicated topic than it appears at first glance. There are several ways to destroy your data, of varying "effectiveness", but if you just wanted to kill a virus, pretty much any would work. You might even be able to get away with just reinstalling the operating system and not reformatting anything at all. A reformat can be anything from a "quick reformat" to a multiple pass "full reformat." A quick format just destroys the internal record-keeping system (the inode table) in your computer's file system. Technically, the files are still there (until they're overwritten), but the computer doesn't know where to find them anymore and will treat everything like it's free space. A full reformat overwrites the entire drive with values (usually just all '0's or all '1's, but sometimes you'll see randomized value passes if you're doing a multiple-pass format). For a consumer, a single 0-pass is probably fine. Governments commonly format with multiple passes of different values (generally five to seven passes), to make it more difficult for a data forensics team to recover the data.