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I am preparing a notebook to use a home server with numerous but light weight apps. The notebook will have the screen closed but will be on 24/7. I am ...
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  1. #1
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    hardware "key" to open the computer


    I am preparing a notebook to use a home server with numerous but light weight apps. The notebook will have the screen closed but will be on 24/7. I am going to use a kvm switch to access this computer from a full size keyboard and monitor.

    In addition to putting a password on this computer I would like to be able to create some kind of a hardware key before it can be accessed - for example, I have to install a flash drive or sd card in the computers port that has a certain file on it before I can access the computer.

    Can this be done? I want the computer to run on its own without this piece of hardware but in order for me to use the computer, I want this piece of hardware - with the file on it - to be required.
    Last edited by pengyou; 11-16-2013 at 07:21 AM.

  2. #2
    Linux User sgosnell's Avatar
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    Think about the drawbacks. If the computer crashes, or loses power, it can't be rebooted until you get to it. That might be acceptable, but you need to consider it and the other consequences. I suppose you could install grub on a USB drive, not on the internal hdd, and have it boot from the USB. I haven't tried that, but it might work. Just be aware that no matter how you do this, it will not prevent anyone who has physical access to the notebook from booting it or doing whatever they like. It will only prevent casual visitors from booting it, and I don't really see the benefit of that, but then I'm certainly not in your situation.

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    Thanks. Is there some way to put the keyboard and mouse drivers on the sd drive - would be e: and put a path in the kernel to e: If the drivers are not there, i.e. the sd card is missing, would the computer still work properly - but no one would be able to use the keyboard or the mouse?

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  5. #4
    Linux Engineer docbop's Avatar
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    What you want to do is called a "key dongle" so google around for that.

    Some vendors used key dongle for awhile, but people hated them they were a PIA. Usually they were used to authenicate application use so guess you could do something similar to authenicate KB use. but sounds like could backfire locking you out. Remember first rule of security if someone has physical access they got you. I would focus more on locking down accounts, then put computer in a secure place and ssh into it when you need to work on it.

  6. #5
    Linux User sgosnell's Avatar
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    Nothing you can do will prevent someone who has physical access to the computer from doing whatever they like with it. Removing drivers has no effect on that, because it's easy to boot from a USB drive which has everything necessary to boot and run, then access the computer's drive in its entirety. Only physically preventing others from touching the computer will have any effect, other than stopping casual visitors. If that's all you need to prevent, then a password will do the job. If a password isn't enough, then nothing else is, other than preventing physical access.

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    Thanks! I have vented a cabinet and will put the computer into that cabinet.

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