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Possible to hack without internet connectivity? Watch

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    Hi all,

    With hacking and unauthorised access to computers a real issue facing our society today, I was wondering whether it is possible to hack a computer that is not connected to the internet, or any networks of any kind?

    For example, if I purchase a computer (laptop or desktop) and disable Wi-Fi and do not use the ethernet port, is it immune from hacking? Or would I have to remove the network card? Remove the modem? Would these be effective?
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    Yes, it's immune to hacking unless there's some virus or something on a USB drive (be very careful about putting your USB sticks into a public PC and then putting it into your own computer) or if there's some embedded malware for the keyboard or mouse (which, yes, does exist). The chances of this are extremely remote (excuse then pun ) This malware might have something built into it that would enable WiFi access and set it so that your operating system would never actually inform you that you were now online (the SSID and password for the WiFi would of course already have to have been entered).

    If you removed the network card then, yes, it would never be able to go online at all and no one could do anything (other than the USB stick thing which could copy a virus to anything it's put into and could simply wipe your data at some point if that's what the virus is designed to do).

    As for hacking (or cracking) software, you can reverse engineer all you want without an Internet connection.
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    (Original post by catinsomehat)
    Yes, it's immune to hacking unless there's some virus or something on a USB drive (be very careful about putting your USB sticks into a public PC and then putting it into your own computer) or if there's some embedded malware for the keyboard or mouse (which, yes, does exist). The chances of this are extremely remote (excuse then pun ) This malware might have something built into it that would enable WiFi access and set it so that your operating system would never actually inform you that you were now online (the SSID and password for the WiFi would of course already have to have been entered).

    If you removed the network card then, yes, it would never be able to go online at all and no one could do anything (other than the USB stick thing which could copy a virus to anything it's put into and could simply wipe your data at some point if that's what the virus is designed to do).

    As for hacking (or cracking) software, you can reverse engineer all you want without an Internet connection.
    Oh of course! I forgot about pesky removable media, such as USB. I presume that if you were to install Microsoft Office from a OEM disk, this would be almost risk free?

    About your comment on viruses, yes I think that's important too. Malware is rare and also if someone wanted to use this computer only to store highly sensitive personal information such as bank details, etc. this would be fine, as there would not be an interaction with USB drives.

    (I am not intending on doing this, I was just wondering if it were to be possible.)
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    (Original post by londoncricket)
    Oh of course! I forgot about pesky removable media, such as USB. I presume that if you were to install Microsoft Office from a OEM disk, this would be almost risk free?

    About your comment on viruses, yes I think that's important too. Malware is rare and also if someone wanted to use this computer only to store highly sensitive personal information such as bank details, etc. this would be fine, as there would not be an interaction with USB drives.

    (I am not intending on doing this, I was just wondering if it were to be possible.)
    Yeah, if you install things from a legitimate source you should be fine.

    If you do store confidential data make sure that it's encrypted too, it's very easy for someone to just sit down on your PC and boot up another operating system like a Linux distro on a live CD and have access to all the data on your Windows PC without even logging in to anything. You wouldn't even know because nothing is installed or written to.
    Backup your data in an encrypted way to another drive if you can too, that way if the hard drive in your computer dies (it will, eventually, even SSDs have a limited number of reads and writes) that you have a copy of your encrypted data somewhere else too. Just make sure you're able to decrypt the encrypted data on the backups too, check every once in a while to see if it's copying it okay.

    Some other good advice might be to always use different passwords if you can for online sites, that way if someone does a dump on a forum or site that you have an account on that they won't end up getting access to your details on other sites and your email. I think there's other things you can use for this sort of thing like LastPass but I've never used that.
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    Depends on what you mean by hacking if I just wanted to destroy the data on the laptop (presuming it's not backed up) and it was in an office building. I could hack the fire suppression systems and water damage the laptop
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    No, you are certainly not immune to hacking. It's a lot more difficult of course without a dedicated network interface but you can still be hacked.

    Social Engineering is still a thing. If you can get physical access and engineer someone into giving you login credentials you can do some damage. There are other methods such as simply watching someone input their password.

    Physical media exist. USB, Hard Drives, Floppy Disks, etc. can all be used to perform hacks, insert malware and so on.

    There are usually other wireless components besides an Ethernet or WiFi connection. Bluetooth for example. You'd need to disable every wireless component, not just the WiFi.

    My personal favourite though is power cable data transfer. You've probably heard of Powerline devices, that let you create a wired internet connection using existing power cables. If you can carry data over a power cable then you can use it as a way to hack a computer.

    So no, simply not connecting to the Internet will not keep you safe. It's unlikely you come across many of the other methods but you aren't outright safe
 
 
 
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