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Can someone just remove my hard disk and copy the contents?

 
 
myahact@yahoo.ca
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      01-21-2006
Hello,

Suppose I leave my laptop at work for the weekend, couldn't someone
unscrew the hard-disk panel, remove the hard-disk, plug into it some
gizmo and copy all my data? If so, would that leave a physical trace
like a broken seal or something, or perhaps a system log entry where
the date and time would be written?

 
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nemo_outis
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      01-21-2006
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/(E-Mail Removed) wrote in news:1137869689.171283.136540
@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com:

> Hello,
>
> Suppose I leave my laptop at work for the weekend, couldn't someone
> unscrew the hard-disk panel, remove the hard-disk, plug into it some
> gizmo and copy all my data?


Yes (for most brands - a few have encryption interlocks tied to the BIOS)

> If so, would that leave a physical trace
> like a broken seal or something, or perhaps a system log entry where
> the date and time would be written?


Probably not.

Regards,

PS Although it's far better practice to take the damned thing with you
(physical security through continuous control and custody is the bedrock)
you could use numbered tamper-indicating seals yourself to make it more
difficult to open the case undetected.

Be aware thouigh that this will not stop the truly skilled or determined.
The group at LANL has done extensive studies on such matters and almost all
seals can be defeated fairly easily - even expensive sophisticated ones.

PPS Any laptop **should** use full OTFE HD encryption if it contains
anything beyond the most unimportant and trivial.

 
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Notan
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      01-21-2006
nemo_outis wrote:
>
> (E-Mail Removed) wrote in news:1137869689.171283.136540
> @o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com:
>
> > Hello,
> >
> > Suppose I leave my laptop at work for the weekend, couldn't someone
> > unscrew the hard-disk panel, remove the hard-disk, plug into it some
> > gizmo and copy all my data?

>
> Yes (for most brands - a few have encryption interlocks tied to the BIOS)
>
> > If so, would that leave a physical trace
> > like a broken seal or something, or perhaps a system log entry where
> > the date and time would be written?

>
> Probably not.
>
> Regards,
>
> PS Although it's far better practice to take the damned thing with you
> (physical security through continuous control and custody is the bedrock)
> you could use numbered tamper-indicating seals yourself to make it more
> difficult to open the case undetected.
>
> Be aware thouigh that this will not stop the truly skilled or determined.
> The group at LANL has done extensive studies on such matters and almost all
> seals can be defeated fairly easily - even expensive sophisticated ones.
>
> PPS Any laptop **should** use full OTFE HD encryption if it contains
> anything beyond the most unimportant and trivial.


When you say , "... almost all seals can be defeated fairly easily,"
are you referring to hard drive passwords?

If so, care to share some references?

Thanks!

Notan
 
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nemo_outis
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      01-21-2006
>> PS Although it's far better practice to take the damned thing with
>> you (physical security through continuous control and custody is the
>> bedrock) you could use numbered tamper-indicating seals yourself to
>> make it more difficult to open the case undetected.
>>
>> Be aware thouigh that this will not stop the truly skilled or
>> determined. The group at LANL has done extensive studies on such
>> matters and almost all seals can be defeated fairly easily - even
>> expensive sophisticated ones.
>>
>> PPS Any laptop **should** use full OTFE HD encryption if it
>> contains anything beyond the most unimportant and trivial.

>
> When you say , "... almost all seals can be defeated fairly easily,"
> are you referring to hard drive passwords?
>
> If so, care to share some references?
>
> Thanks!
>
> Notan
>



Nope, I'm talking about physical seals and such (e.g., stick-on numbered
seals that self-destruct, reveal the word "tamper," etc. when someone
attempts to remove and replace them.)

LANL does research and publishes a journal on such matters (they got their
start doing high-end assessment on secure shipping of nuclear materials).
Ross Anderson references ther work in Security Engineering. Unfortunately,
many online articles are no longer available for download but they will
send you them on CD.

http://pearl1.lanl.gov/seals/downloadable_papers.htm

Regards,







 
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Borked Pseudo Mailed
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      01-21-2006
myahact wrote:

> Hello,
>
> Suppose I leave my laptop at work for the weekend, couldn't someone
> unscrew the hard-disk panel, remove the hard-disk, plug into it some gizmo
> and copy all my data? If so, would that leave a physical trace like a
> broken seal or something, or perhaps a system log entry where the date and
> time would be written?


Yes, not if there were no seals to break (their usually aren't), and no.

Your best bet for detecting a compromise like the would be physical
evidence though... fingerprints, small scratches where tools leave their
marks, etc. Unless something very strange happens, there will be no
"electrical" evidence. No changes in any of your data.


 
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Jim Watt
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      01-21-2006
On 21 Jan 2006 20:24:31 GMT, "nemo_outis" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>> When you say , "... almost all seals can be defeated fairly easily,"


When I was in the freight business we had a shipment of watches
that changed into sand in transit, the security seals were intact.
--
Jim Watt
http://www.gibnet.com
 
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V.B.
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Posts: n/a
 
      01-22-2006
The shipment was probably sand to start off with....

V

"Jim Watt" <(E-Mail Removed)_way> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> On 21 Jan 2006 20:24:31 GMT, "nemo_outis" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
> >> When you say , "... almost all seals can be defeated fairly easily,"

>
> When I was in the freight business we had a shipment of watches
> that changed into sand in transit, the security seals were intact.
> --
> Jim Watt
> http://www.gibnet.com



 
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Jim Watt
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      01-22-2006
On Sun, 22 Jan 2006 08:36:50 -0500, "V.B." <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>The shipment was probably sand to start off with....


No, someone removed the contents and replaced them with sand
and the seals seemed intact. As the goods were checked by weighing
the sand was necessary to hide the substitution.

The police caught the people involved when they started selling
the watches.
--
Jim Watt
http://www.gibnet.com
 
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~David~
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      01-22-2006
Yes, someone could get into your laptop that way and steal your
data. Like the other replies said, a few brands have locks or ways
to try and prevent that but most of them can be broken. The best
way to prevent this is to put your laptop in a physically secure
location.

Aside from that, if you are really paranoid or need ultra-security,
there are programs and products that will encrypt the whole drive
contents for you, such as TrueCrypt, PGP whole-disk, and loop-aes
(linux only). To be honest, these programs are usually more trouble
than they are worth ($$$, time, risk of data loss) but if you need
the data ultra-secure, they will do that.

~David~

(E-Mail Removed) wrote:
> Hello,
>
> Suppose I leave my laptop at work for the weekend, couldn't someone
> unscrew the hard-disk panel, remove the hard-disk, plug into it some
> gizmo and copy all my data? If so, would that leave a physical trace
> like a broken seal or something, or perhaps a system log entry where
> the date and time would be written?
>

 
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cypher
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Posts: n/a
 
      01-23-2006
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

~David~ <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in
news:FzOAf.1754$(E-Mail Removed) :

> Aside from that, if you are really paranoid or need
> ultra-security, there are programs and products that will
> encrypt the whole drive contents for you, such as
> TrueCrypt, PGP whole-disk, and loop-aes (linux only).


TrueCrypt can't encrypt whole drive. It can encrypt
partitions but not the system partition. There is also
DriveCrypt Plus Pack, a really good program for whole drive
encryption. Many Linux/UNIX distributions have their own
crypto drivers for whole disk encryption.


>To be honest, these programs are usually more trouble
> than they are worth ($$$, time, risk of data loss) but if
> you need the data ultra-secure, they will do that.


Trouble? DriveCrypt Plus Pack is really easy to use. You need
just enter the password/USB key when computer boots and
that's all. Installation is also easy. TrueCrypt can't
encrypt your system partition, but it can encrypt other
partitions and/or make encrypted files that can be mounted
like partitions. They are very stable, user-friendly and
don't cause any problems. TrueCrypt is free. Risk of data
loss always exists, you should *always* have backups.

> (E-Mail Removed) wrote:
>> Hello,
>>
>> Suppose I leave my laptop at work for the weekend,
>> couldn't someone unscrew the hard-disk panel, remove the
>> hard-disk, plug into it some gizmo and copy all my data?
>> If so, would that leave a physical trace like a broken
>> seal or something, or perhaps a system log entry where
>> the date and time would be written?


Why do you want to leave your laptop at work? There are some
simpler ways to get to your data other than unscrewing the
HDD. Besides somebody could install a bug/keylogger/malicious
software on your laptop. If you don't have to-don't leave it.
If you must-leave it in a safe place if you have some
important data on it.

cypher

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f9sN0YHfjAwbIusg3yMkQTNv
=vZM4
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