Question Laptop with pre-installed malicious software, firmware or hardware?

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emilfrederiksen

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Dear all

I have turned off Network adapters in Device Manager
The laptop is not connected to a network

1.
Can a laptop manufacturer install hardware, software or firmware, that could connect to the wifi, cellular without showing that the laptop has internet? And then use this “hidden” connection with malicious intent?

2.
How could the laptop get internet connection, without the user knowing?

3.
What laptop brands has the lowest risk of having “hidden malicios” hardware, software, firmware?

4.
Has there been any instances, stories etc., where a laptop manufacturer had installed malicious hardware, software, firmware, which was used to “secretly” connect to the internet with malicious intent?

5.
Is there some kind of external scanner, that can scan and see if the laptop has internet?

Thank you for replying

Best regards
 

kanewolf

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Dear all

I have turned off Network adapters in Device Manager
The laptop is not connected to a network

1.
Can a laptop manufacturer install hardware, software or firmware, that could connect to the wifi, cellular without showing that the laptop has internet? And then use this “hidden” connection with malicious intent?

2.
How could the laptop get internet connection, without the user knowing?

3.
What laptop brands has the lowest risk of having “hidden malicios” hardware, software, firmware?

4.
Has there been any instances, stories etc., where a laptop manufacturer had installed malicious hardware, software, firmware, which was used to “secretly” connect to the internet with malicious intent?

5.
Is there some kind of external scanner, that can scan and see if the laptop has internet?

Thank you for replying

Best regards
This is the same as your previous thread -- https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/find-out-if-computer-contains-secret-hidden-hardware.3732888/
I doubt you will get any different answers.
 
no laptop "manufacturer" is going to include any sort of actual malware.
malware, as in the software that is intended to damage the system or exploit the user's identity.

whether a 3rd party hardware vendor or distributor would do this could not be determined except by a case-by-case basis.
any jerk out there could purchase bundles of systems and install whatever they wanted on them before selling them to customers.

almost 100% of pre-built desktops, laptops, and all-in-one systems have bloatware that many times will connect on it's own for updates or even advertising.
but no, manufacturers themselves will not include malicious software or hardware.

what exactly are you so paranoid about?
 
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emilfrederiksen

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no laptop "manufacturer" is going to include any sort of actual malware.
malware, as in the software that is intended to damage the system or exploit the user's identity.

whether a 3rd party hardware vendor or distributor would do this could not be determined except by a case-by-case basis.
any jerk out there could purchase bundles of systems and install whatever they wanted on them before selling them to customers.

almost 100% of pre-built desktops, laptops, and all-in-one systems have bloatware that many times will connect on it's own for updates or even advertising.
but no, manufacturers themselves will not include malicious software or hardware.

what exactly are you so paranoid about?
When in the proces are the bloatware installed? The vendor after the manufacturer?
 

emilfrederiksen

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Could anyone please help answering:

3.
What laptop brands has the lowest risk of having “hidden malicios” hardware, software, firmware?
For example, Chinese vs. US or european manufacturers?

4.
Has there been any instances, stories etc., where a laptop manufacturer had installed malicious hardware, software, firmware, which was used to “secretly” connect to the internet with malicious intent?

5.
Is there some kind of external scanner, that can scan and see if the laptop has internet?
 
how many times do you need to ask the same questions and get the same answers?

and again, what are you so paranoid about?
what exactly do you believe has happened to you that has caused such extreme paranoia regarding laptops or any prebuilt/pre-configured systems?

just disable ethernet and wi-fi adapters if you really think your system has some rogue AI that is stalking you or trying to take over your system.
 
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Eximo

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There is no way anyone here has a listing of all hardware that is manufactured, access to the circuit designs, or any embedded software that might be in there. Computers tend to be assembled from off the shelf components, so you would need every single integrated circuit examined and tested that could possibly go into a finished product.

Rather than worry about premeditated malicious intent, I would be more worried about unknown exploits in existing hardware (See all the side channel attacks discovered in pretty much every CPU.

If you are worried about wireless connectivity get a desktop.

For a laptop remove the wifi adapter, get a system without bluetooth, strip the antennae out of the bezel. Use a USB wireless stick when you want the internet.
 

emilfrederiksen

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how many times do you need to ask the same questions and get the same answers?

and again, what are you so paranoid about?
what exactly do you believe has happened to you that has caused such extreme paranoia regarding laptops or any prebuilt/pre-configured systems?

just disable ethernet and wi-fi adapters if you really think your system has some rogue AI that is stalking you or trying to take over your system.
I have just read too many articles online regarding chinese spyware etc. pre-installed on laptops, I guess.

I have already disabled all Network adapters and Bluetooth adapters in Device manager. I have also disabled all of these I could find in bios.
But as stated in my other thread, hardware etc., can still run as hidden / secretly (bad or good), without the OS or the user knowing:

I just dislike the idea, that there might be some small risk of me not 100% controlling my own data.

Thats why I ask for suggestions, to which brands are the least lilely to have som malicious stuff pre-installed.

But thank you for your answers and contribution to the topic
 

emilfrederiksen

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Jul 6, 2018
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There is no way anyone here has a listing of all hardware that is manufactured, access to the circuit designs, or any embedded software that might be in there. Computers tend to be assembled from off the shelf components, so you would need every single integrated circuit examined and tested that could possibly go into a finished product.

Rather than worry about premeditated malicious intent, I would be more worried about unknown exploits in existing hardware (See all the side channel attacks discovered in pretty much every CPU.

If you are worried about wireless connectivity get a desktop.

For a laptop remove the wifi adapter, get a system without bluetooth, strip the antennae out of the bezel. Use a USB wireless stick when you want the internet.
I have already disabled all Network adapters and Bluetooth adapters in Device manager. I have also disabled all of these I could find in bios.
But as stated in my other thread, hardware etc., can still run as hidden / secretly (bad or good), without the OS or the user knowing:

I would just like to know, which brands could be the least likely to have malicious stuff pre-installed.
 

egda23

Estimable
I would say that if YOU are the target of a malicious attack (and not some random dud caught in a large net), it is almost impossible to be fully protected.
Look what happened to the Iranian nuclear facilities that were of course completely off-line from anything. That did not stop a successful Stuxnet worm attack; the worm was likely introduced by USB sticks.
So, how are you going to prevent physical access to your PC ? Time to start a surveillance program of your partner.
 
Make sure to wear a foil hat while sucking your thumb within a faraday cage.

Actually in your case you should throw away your PC in all your electronics and go live off the grid somewhere. And I’m not joking if you’re this weirded out by it that’s what you should do

Nobody can answer the silly question in case you haven’t figured it out by now but I think you’re just trolling at this point
 

USAFRet

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Mar 16, 2013
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I think this thread has run its course.
No one can answer your question in the detail you desire.

Closing this.

And please don't open another identical one for a slightly different category of hardware.
 
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