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I am looking for a small mobile device to display a list of sensitive information.

The storage of the device must be encryptable and the user must first enter a PIN to decrypt the storage at boot time and second enter a PIN to authenticate himself in order to use the device.

The size of the device can be up to common tablet size (~10,5''), but the smaller the better.

Moreover, the device must own no wireless interfaces to reduce the possible attack surface. As a consequence it is only possible to I/O with the device via a wired interface (which should be a common type, e.g. USB).

For the usage, the device should provide a touch screen, but this is not mandatory. Another kind of user interface interaction would also be ok.

Budget does not play a role.


Background to this is as follows: I already tried to realize this via a Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 (gts28vewifi aka SM-T713) for which I have modified the LineageOS sources and build a custom variant that does not have WIFI and BT. But I failed as the device restarts after some time during the boot. Most likely this is because the WIFI system is not found or some related consequences caused by removing WIFI and BT from the build.

Thank you for your tips and suggestions. If more information is necessary or I forgot something important, I will edit my question, of course. Maybe there is another possibility to satisfy those requirements I am not aware of at the moment :)

  • Have you consider using notebook with removed WiFi/Bluetooth module? – Romeo Ninov Jul 20 '18 at 19:22
  • @RomeoNinov yes, I've considered that. An Asus netbook has been used before. But there, as far as I know, the modules for wireless interfaces were not removed (because the requirements as I listed them above were not yet defined). Do you have experience in this? Any suggestion for a device where removing the WiFi/BT module would be easily possible? – David Artmann Jul 21 '18 at 9:59
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    the term is sensitive information, not sensible information .... sensible means thoughtful or using good judgement – jsotola Jul 23 '18 at 4:39
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You can use a notebook where WiFi/BT module can be easily removed. Examples include: Toshiba U925t Ultrabook, most (if not all) HP contemporary notebooks (just to mention few). IMO most of the contemporary notebooks use the same interface for WiFi/BT module which mean you can remove it on most of them. Just for the record for most of notebooks removing this module means you need to disassemble it in some degree.

Combining this hardware with MS Windows BitLocker (for an encrypted filesystem) and encrypted container based on Veracrypt or PGP disk as second level can do what you want. If you are not a fan of MS (almost) any Linux distribution has disk encryption for entire disk and can be combined also with Veracrypt/PGP Here is a image how this module looks like: enter image description here

Edit: Some notebooks (Dell, not sure about the model) have hardware switch to go in "Airplane mode" which cut off all the wireless communications. This switch can be used to permanently disable WiFi/BT

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  • So for this Laptop disassembling the WiFi/BT Module from the Mainboard is possible as it is plugged in? I do not want to solder ;) – David Artmann Jul 21 '18 at 11:38
  • @DavidArtmann, correct. It is attached on interface. See edited answer – Romeo Ninov Jul 21 '18 at 13:03
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    Imho this answer provided the most valuable content. Nevertheless, I succeeded in building a custom variant of LineageOS for my Samsung Galaxy Tabs S2 where BT & WiFi are not built into the kernel and therefore can not be used. This fully satisfies my requirements. – David Artmann Jul 23 '18 at 12:49
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Sounds like an old Palm PDA e.g. m130. Tools for exception see e.g.: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/protect-your-pdas-with-these-encryption-options/

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  • Thank you for your answer. Unfortunately, this seems way too old and outdated. – David Artmann Jul 23 '18 at 7:38
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The Replicant project aims at creating a completely free, non-proprietary build of Android for certain devices. They still do have wireless radios, but using them requires non-free firmware, which Replicant doesn't provide. Effectively, the device cannot communicate wirelessly. For example Samsung Galaxy Nexus is supported, but without working WiFi and Bluetooth. Just remove SIM card and cellular radio will also be useless.

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  • The Replicant project is a nice hint. But the project seems a little bit left behind, isn't it? Of couse, I understand that building open source drivers for devices is a long term process and thus the project is publishing new releases not that often, but I desire the latest android system version installed, if I'd choose this OS. – David Artmann Jul 23 '18 at 5:54

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