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Questions About Air Gapping
Old 08-14-2019, 04:33 PM   #1
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Questions About Air Gapping

I know just enough about technology to be dangerous.

On another forum I visit a poster mentioned that he air gaps his Macbook from the internet once a day, then runs a virus scan. Once that's done, he backs up his Macbook via Apple's Time Machine app before reconnecting to the internet.

I am always on the lookout to improve my security and found this practice intriguing. I sent the poster these questions; however, he gave me a non-responsive answer and so I thought I would ask here.

-- I've read that air gapping is a pretty extraordinary security practice. Is there a particular reason for using it - especially on a Mac (which is supposedly less vulnerable than other platforms)?

-- To air gap your laptop, do you simply disconnect from the internet or is there something more involved?

-- I was under the impression that air gapping is something you do 100% of the time (i.e., you never connect to the internet or network). Is it effective if you are only doing it for a few minutes a day? For example, if the laptop was infected by a virus, isn't likely or possible the virus will "bury" itself on the laptop and be undetected by the virus scan regardless of whether it's connected to the internet or not?

A question I didn't ask, but thought of later:
-- If your network (modem and/or router) were compromised, wouldn't that make air gapping the laptop a moot point?
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:51 PM   #2
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-- I've read that air gapping is a pretty extraordinary security practice. Is there a particular reason for using it
Superstition.

Quote:
-- If your network (modem and/or router) were compromised, wouldn't that make air gapping the laptop a moot point?
Yes, assuming you eventually decide to connect your laptop back to your network.
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Old 08-14-2019, 05:00 PM   #3
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I thought this thread had something to do with actual air gap faucet drains.
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Old 08-14-2019, 05:10 PM   #4
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Superstition.
You mean that his whole premise is erroneous?

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I thought this thread had something to do with actual air gap faucet drains.
That's why I posted in the Technology and not the Plumbing subforum.
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:15 PM   #5
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Air gapping is really only effective if the computer or network is NEVER connected to the internet. Sensitive intelligence is often kept on air gapped networks, so that external threats are minimized. (Internal threats can't be eliminated, since if you don't have analysts there's no point in having intelligence, but that's a whole 'nother discussion.) The poster on the other forum is basically throwing salt over their shoulder.
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Old 08-14-2019, 09:05 PM   #6
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I thought this thread had something to do with actual air gap faucet drains.
And I thought it had something to do with actual air gap that an electrical spark can jump.

But coincidentally, I just watched a video that talked about this air gap in snap-action switches, the quick snap opens the air gap quickly, minimizing the amount of damaging arcing.


But somewhat related, I have an ASUS netbook I bought in 2009, and installed linux on it. A few years back, the OS was no longer supported for security updates. I only use it as a music player now, I have a hard drive attached with my lossless ripped CDs and some converted vinyl, and a good quality DAC.

Since the machine has such limited memory, I really did not want to risk updating it. It works just fine as a music player with the software as is, so I just shut off the wifi and keep it off.

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Old 08-15-2019, 07:44 AM   #7
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Even air gaps aren't foolproof.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg airgap.JPG (18.4 KB, 13 views)
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Old 08-15-2019, 08:08 AM   #8
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Even air gaps aren't foolproof.
It is when you wrap your laptop in a dead snakeskin and sprinkle a circle of salt around it!
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