Whether you’re using a laptop, desktop, or tablet computer, chances are your keyboard is one of the most used pieces of hardware in your life. That might lead you to wonder, “Can my keyboard get a virus?”
Generally, no, keyboards will not get viruses. There are a few cases where keyboards have been known to be infected with a virus. If your keyboard has upgradeable firmware, it is possible for a virus to get onto your keyboard and potentially infect your devices. However, this is rare and most keyboards are not at risk of getting viruses.
Why It’s Unlikely for Your Keyboard to Get a Virus
It’s unlikely for your keyboard to get a virus because it’s a hardware device. Your keyboard would need to have upgradable firmware to have a chance of getting a virus because that would mean data could be transferred and stored on it via the USB connection.
Most general consumer keyboards like you’d find in your standard office setting don’t have upgradeable firmware, so you don’t have to worry about those. Many custom keyboards however do have upgradeable firmware, which technically means a hacker could get a virus onto them.
Again, I would like to emphasize how small the chance is of this happening because the hacker has very little to gain from it. They would have already had the ability to execute code on your computer to install the virus onto your keyboard. The data on your computer itself is what they’d likely be targeting in the first place, so it would be a waste of time to start trying to flash the firmware on your keyboard when they already have what they want.
How to Remove a Virus From Your Keyboard
In the extremely unlikely event that your keyboard does have a virus, you’ll want to flash a clean version of the firmware onto it. You can usually go to your keyboard or PCB manufacturer’s site to find the right firmware for your keyboard, along with instructions on flashing it to your keyboard.
Afterward, you’ll want to run a virus scan on your computer to make sure it wasn’t infected.
Will installing X Software for My Keyboard Infect My Computer?
You should be careful about installing any software for your keyboard to your computer if you haven’t bought it from a reputable brand. Software from larger, well-known brands and trusted boutique keyboard dealers will usually be safe to install.
As a good rule of thumb, you should run virus scans regularly on your computer to ensure that your computer is safe and free of viruses.
Will QMK give my keyboard or computer a virus?
When many people first get into building their own keyboards, they might be afraid of downloading QMK and flashing it onto their keyboard’s PCB because they think they might get a virus.
QMK is the most trusted free and open-source firmware for custom keyboards and does not contain viruses.
While it’s highly unlikely for your keyboard to get a virus, it is possible. You have a better likelihood of being struck by lightning!