Particulars: Optiplex 790, Intel i5, bought cheap, no hard drive, from a reseller, Tags indicating it was from the DC School System. I installed a hard drive working on a 780, wouldn't boot. Using a thumb I installed Ubuntu. again wouldn't boot. Tried other drives, same. Discovered Computrace was activated. Next mistake: Purchased a replacement motherboard. Made the swap and found Computrace activated. (!) Now I wonder whether a NEW motherboard might resolve the issue.
Or , Whether this firmware perfidy spreads to the firmware of attached hard drives. Do CPUs themselves become complicit? Is it possible or likely that attempted reuse of the affected hard drive might activate anti-theft modules on a NEW mother board?
My question is , Is this problem containable, or self containing? I understand the theory behind planned obsolescence, why Intel and Dell don't want these used computers inhibiting new sales, but wonder whether this isn't a vulnerability that could spread. Lots of news about this from Stuxnet on.
Am I safe buying a New Mother board?
As an epidmiologist I worry about weaponized anthrax as well. Come back.