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Air-gapped PC (No Connection With Internet For Security)

Discussion in 'General Security' started by Neil8, Feb 25, 2019.

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  1. Neil8

    Neil8 Thread Starter

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    I am interested in your opinions on and experiences with air-gapped PCs.

    One could protect a PC from malware and hacking, by isolating it completely from other PCs and the internet. This is called an air-gapped PC.

    One could use that PC for example for writing, and for storing texts that one doesn't want to publish. I am starting this discussion about this subject.

    A disadvantage of such air-gapped PC-use can be, among other things, that you cannot safely update the word-processing software and the operating-system used. Or you might do that now and then, with very good malware-protection programs.

    Thanks in advance for sharing your opinions.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
  2. Johnny b

    Johnny b

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    I air gap several computers.
    Other than actual improvements and additional options, many updates for software applications are for Internet security.
    You can filter any data you input with anti-virus/anti-malware apps.
    If it's truly a stand alone, you won't be inputting anything from a network after you've established a working system with all the apps you need.
    Get your apps from their initial source/creator.
    Check reviews for potential issues.

    I use voice recognition on one of mine and have had no reason to update Word or Office since Word 2000.
    I don't use free office suites with Dragon Naturally Speaking 12 because it interfaces better with MS products and I see no advantage with updating to a newer Office for my purposes.

    I've 'air gaped' several computers over time ( about 19 years) concerning family/business concerns and not had any issues.
    I don't add games (free or otherwise) nor pirated movies or software.

    But I still make multiple backups and keep a drive image handy in case something does go wrong like a hardware failure.

    edit: I do not update my OS on a stand alone computer. No need. I don't intend to use it in a network environment. I do download, on a different computer, updates and new definitions for MSE and MBAM periodically, as a precaution, and install them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
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  3. Neil8

    Neil8 Thread Starter

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    Thanks Johnny for your elaborate response.

    Don't you feel any need to upgrade to Windows 10?

    How are your experiences with Dragon Naturally Speaking 12?
     
  4. Johnny b

    Johnny b

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    Absolutely no interest nor need to upgrade to Win 10.
    Win 7 does all I need for my intended purposes. And does it well.

    For internet usage, though, I've abandoned MS for Linux and much prefer what I'm currently using, a Live distro of Xenialpup, sometimes on a DVD, more often now on a USB flash drive. I feel it's more secure online and I won't get trapped in having to upgrade hardware to meet future distros.

    DNS 12 was a definite improvement over 10. Considerably fewer errors. But 10 wasn't bad.
    Years ago I started out with Learnout and Houspie, but their corporate leaders got caught up in criminal activity and it stopped at v 5. A shame, I thought it had a future.
    IBM had their own VR, but the results were poor for me.
    I started DNS at V 9, did a free upgrade to 9.5. Just OK. Frequent mistakes.
    10 was an improvement and 12 even better.
    13 is out and 14 soon if not yet, but.....Nuance owns them now and common opinion is they don't do quality upgrading of the software apps they've bought.
    Users have complained about authenticity and validation issues, especially when transferring to a new computer.
    None of the reviews of 13 that I've read suggest it's an improvement, just some new options I wouldn't use.

    I like 12. 14 would have to be almost perfect to consider a paid upgrade, but maybe that's just me.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019
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  5. valis

    valis Moderator

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    Tell you what, you are sloooowly converting me to a real build as opposed to Puppy Linux....
     
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  6. Johnny b

    Johnny b

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    It just depends what is wanted from the OS.

    The way I look at it, it's about using the right tool for the job.
    Linux isn't for everyone and if your work load runs better under Windows, Windows is the right tool for that job.

    That's why I still use Win 7.

    I'm not interested in converting users, just pointing out options.

    For Internet usage, I doubt I'll be going back to a MS OS, though.
    I really like the Puppy Live distros :)
     
  7. lunarlander

    lunarlander

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    I air gap my development machines, just to keep them stable and clean, they are Windows. My online machine is using Ubuntu LiveCD. Not the smallest and speediest, but it works OK.
     
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  8. Neil8

    Neil8 Thread Starter

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    I regularly read that PCs are hacked, or become infected with a virus. And a separate PC with air-gap seems a pretty simple way to prevent that. I already have an air-gapped laptop, which I like, because it stays clean from malware, delays and getting stuck.

    I also have a separate laptop with internet access. On that laptop I have to reinstall Windows about every year, because of delays and getting stuck.

    I think that a write-blocker on my laptop is not my preference. Because I do not want to complicate my system unnecessarily. But I do make external backups of my data.

    I could even store my texts only on usb-sticks, because my air gapped laptop could get stolen in a burglary.
     
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