Even that is vulnerable to remote administration tools. These run on a separate processor working UNDER the OS and have access to the keyboard, mouse, and guts of the machine. They can even turn it on or off and replace software on the devices or the OS itself, as well as spy on its operation or upload its files to a remote site. They can even be configured to "phone home" if you plug in behind a firewall, and the newer ones work over WiFi as well. The OS has no defense against them.
Look into things like Intel Active Management Technology, to name just one, somewhat venerable, tool.
Ditto the Intel Remote Management Module. (Not sure if this is a hardware component for AMT or a later equivalent.)
Try this with your laptop:
- Power it down.
- Plug it into a router or switch.
Does the status light on the Ethernet jack light up? If so, it's guaranteed you have such a device built in. (If it doesn't it's no guarantee you don't.)
I note that (at least with AMT on the venerable Toshiba M5) you can't disable it. In fact if you DO manage to deconfigure it back to factory settings, you've just set it up to listen for the first set of commands to come in over the net to configure it for remote control (just like a new machine installed in a corporation, waiting for the guys in the Network Operation Center to remotely configure it for its job.)
They sold this to the corporations as a money saver for their IT department. But if the NSA hasn't already cracked it they aren't doing their jobs.
= = = =
"Obama’s Economists: ‘Stimulus’ Has Cost $278,000 per Job."
That means: For each job "created or saved" about five were destroyed.
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