laptop protection
Personal Privacy

Has Your Laptop Been Tampered With? It’s Impossible To Know For Sure

The Infinite Brief
While it’s possible to detect certain types of tampering, spotting everything is nearly impossible. Even in controlled environments, it’s impossible to give a laptop a clean bill of health with full confidence – it’s always possible that it was tampered with in a way you did not think to check.

How safe is it to leave your laptop in your hotel room while you’re attending sessions at a conference? If you come back to find your laptop in a different position than where you thought you left it, can you still trust it?

These questions typically can’t be answered with total confidence because clever tampering can be so hard to detect.

If you don’t use full disk encryption on your laptop, anyone who gains physical access to it, even for just a few minutes, can access all of your data and even implant malware on your computer to spy on you in the future.

An attacker could install a hardware keylogger with the intention of stealing your laptop later, but with a record of your disk passphrase and your other keystrokes.

An attacker could completely replace your laptop with a different laptop of the same model – they could even put your real laptop case with all your stickers and scratches on the fake laptop, so that it looks exactly the same.

Originally via The Intercept

Digital Security Specialists like me get some version of this question all the time: “I think my laptop may have been infected with malware. Can you check?”

We dread this sort of query because modern computer exploits are as complex, clever, and hard to reason about as modern computers

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