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Diagnosing if a Thinkpad had its hardware tampered with in transit?

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Thundara
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Diagnosing if a Thinkpad had its hardware tampered with in transit?

#1 Post by Thundara » Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:41 pm

Hi, first time posting here. I've been wanting to get into using Thinkpads with libreboot installed. I was recommended to come here to learn about getting the most out of Thinkpads. You guys definitely appear to have a lot of documentation neatly organized and threads with good advice, which is something I appreciate.

One subject that crossed my mind that I didn't see discussed was how to go about inspecting a secondhand ThinkPad you would plan to install libreboot on for possible bugging or other forms of hardware tampering. If your goal was to be as secure and private with your computer usage as possible, the last thing you would want is some spook intercepting a delivery and messing with the machine you purchased. I imagane it would mostly involve looking at photos of the components and schematics and comparing them to your purchase, but I expect that there's a lot more detail to this kind of thing.

Also bear in mind that I am a beginner when it comes to this stuff, so if you have any additional advice on subject matters I'm overlooking, I would appreciate that.

Thinkpad4by3
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Re: Diagnosing if a Thinkpad had its hardware tampered with in transit?

#2 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:51 pm

What do you exactly mean by hardware tampering?
Thinkpad4by3's Law of the Universe.

The efficiency of two screens equally sized with equal numbers if pixels are equal. The time spent by a 4:3 user complaining about 16:9 is proportional to the inefficiency working with a 16:9 display, therefore the amount of useful work extracted is equal.

Thundara
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Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2018 2:36 am
Location: Gettysburg, PA

Re: Diagnosing if a Thinkpad had its hardware tampered with in transit?

#3 Post by Thundara » Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:53 pm

I'm talking about things like switching out components on a circuitboard for similar looking parts that can be used for spying, discreetly adding some small logging device to the system. Then reassembling it and trying to make it seem like nothing has been altered. I read stories before of folks who suspected it was happening to them because of unusual shipping routes and delays, as well as things like that controversy with the Cisco routers some time ago.

Or am I simply not asking the right questions? Or I'm overthinking things and there's a fairly obvious way to go about checking something like this that I overlooked/don't know about?

Not necessarily in transit either but it having been sold in such a fashion from the getgo, even if it wasn't necessarily the seller that did the tampering.

Thinkpad4by3
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Re: Diagnosing if a Thinkpad had its hardware tampered with in transit?

#4 Post by Thinkpad4by3 » Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:58 pm

Laptops are so jam packed with components trying to put a transmitter or spy device in there is practically impossible. Just give it a quick look inside the HDD and CD slots and maybe open the keyboard. Past that...wipe the drive and you'll be fine. There is no point of putting a spy device in a laptop when everyrhign you need for spying on already inside it.

I think your being paranoid...and a cisco router is not a Thinkpad. Also make sure Computrace is permanently disabled since you are paranoid about spying.
Thinkpad4by3's Law of the Universe.

The efficiency of two screens equally sized with equal numbers if pixels are equal. The time spent by a 4:3 user complaining about 16:9 is proportional to the inefficiency working with a 16:9 display, therefore the amount of useful work extracted is equal.

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