Anyone who sends security-related hardware or buys it online always runs the risk of third parties tampering with the devices during shipping. Various approaches are intended to prevent strangers from opening the hardware, or at least to show when access has taken place.
On request, the two US manufacturers Nitrokey and Purism use an approach when shipping notebooks and complete PCs: screws are sealed with glitter nail polish. The manufacturers send photos of the screws to the buyer for comparison. If not all glitter pieces in the clear coat are identical, someone has probably tampered with the seal. This works more reliably than sealing stickers, for example on the packaging.
The manufacturer Nitrokey sent us this picture before sending a Nitropad test sample. Upon receipt, we were able to match the screw to the picture to confirm that no one opened the notebook.
Food as a mosaic
Another, even more secure method is presented by the website Dsy2p, which specializes in privacy, with the Random Mosaic. You not only seal individual screws or the packaging, but pack the entire device in a vacuum bag, which, in combination with a multicolored content, serves as a huge seal.
The content can be several different types of lentils, dried beans or differently colored rice. These foods are virtually odorless, will not mold, and will not damage hardware. For example, you can mix red lenses and beluga lenses and pack them in a vacuum bag together with a notebook, for example, so that the device disappears completely in the lenses. Matching bags are available for vacuum cleaners without a vacuum sealer and ensure that the contents do not slip.
This is how a secure seal can work: As soon as someone opens the vacuum bag, the lenses slip.
The principle then works in the same way as with the glitter nail polish on the screws: After arrival, the color sample in the vacuum bag is compared with a photo taken beforehand. If someone has opened the package on the way, the arrangement will no longer match. Programs or apps help with before-and-after comparisons, such as Blink Comparison.
Anyone using this method should only check the hardware for debris, such as lenses in the USB ports.
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