July 14, 2021

Precautions to take so you don’t get owned when buying a second hand computer?

If you buy a laptop or desktop computer second hand, what can you do to make sure you don’t get owned by a black hat?

I guess first thing is to not buy from someone who has opened the computer (removed the sealing which also removes warranty).

Second thing are power adapters which are specially bought from companies like hak5 as an example. I guess you’ll never know, so maybe it’s best to just throw it away and buy a new power adapter?

Any other ideas?

I guess you could also attempt to restore data on the HDD if the computer had any, but I guess this is gray hat area and questionable ethics, what do you think? Is that going too far to take a look if this person might have been up to black hat stuff (amateur or script kiddie) or maybe if it’s completely clean it could suggest he really knows what he’s doing. I mean what if they were a pedophile and now you’re compromised by having deleted child porn on the computer, so I guess it’s important to attempt restore any deleted data on the HDD to check and call the police if you find anything bad on it.

Or maybe its a security/privacy problem to keep using the HDD they gave you? Maybe it’s better to throw it away and buy a new one?

An SSD should be fine to keep using though because they can be properly erased through the bios.

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