Question Is there any way to buy a used or refurbished laptop safe from malicious ware?

Jan 3, 2019
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My concerns are this:

A determined evildoer might be able to take a bunch of old laptops, load the BIOS with malware/keyloggers/etc and rewrite hardware firmware with the same, as described in various security forums, and resell those laptops with nearly-impossible-to-defeat hackware. Even a full nuke of the HDD would be useless in that case. This could be done by a well-equipped technician even at standard big-name computer sellers, meaning going to a well-known chain for a refurb machine would not help.

Is there any way to really be safe with a refurbished laptop, and be able to "nuke" (reflash?) the BIOS and firmware back to factory, or is the only solution for true security (especially if the laptop will be used for sensitive job stuff like healthcare) to buy a brand new laptop?

Thanks all.
 

Lutfij

Titan
Moderator
You might just want to look at some slightly beaten up laptops on Ebay in hopes that they are from one owner(in ti's entire product life cycle). The other matter is you might want to look at refurbished laptops from BestBuy or even Microcenter near you. I'm sure they'll have good deals and not be laced with malware.

Also, I think it's best not chasing behind an imaginary issue(that might be true) and run behind what you already know, i.e to buy a brand new laptop and be done with it.
 
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USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
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Buy from a known good refurbisher.
Dell Outlet is unlikely to do this.

Another thing you need to take into account is the validity of the OS that it may come with.
Joe Refurbisher may include a not quite valid OS license.
My refurb Asus Transformer just suffered through that hassle.
 
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