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Tamperproof Seals are they Effective!!!

#Objective

The old adage, any physical access and you don't own the system, the person at the keyboard does even if they're not authorised......


Do physical protections, in this case tamperproof or security stickers provide any tangible defence? The objective is to remove the tamperproof sticker, fiddle, reapplying the sticker without leaving any evidence of my shenanigans.


#Tamperproof Stickers

For the stickers, the obvious choice, Amazon and 3 differing types of sticker were chosen:

Rectangular, dog bone and circle\spot.


The stickers work using 2 different types of glue, one being more adhesive than the other. When the sticker is removed, the word 'VOID ' adheres to the surface leaving evidence of tampering. More annoyingly the stickers tend to be brittle and cant be removed intact.


#Tools of the trade

Physical implements include syringes, tweezers, scalpel, razor blade and a hairdryer.


Solvents to loosen the glues include Isopropyl, WD40 and Alcohol Hand Gel.



#Items of Value

3 different surfaces have been selected. A Micorserver representing a standard plastic computer case. A Netgear 8 Port switch, with a painted metal case and lastly an Asus Zenbook with brushed Aluminium.


#The Control

A functional test of each sticker was carried out to ensure expected behaviour.


#Standard PC - Isopropyl

Using a sharp needle inject Isopropyl around the edge of the sticker.

With the scalpel very carefully lift up a corner whilst injecting Isopropyl.

Using sharp instruments during testing caused damage. Swap to blunt needle and tweezers.


Very slowly peel back the sticker whilst injecting Isopropyl.

That was easier than expected and completed within a few minutes. The sticker was removed with no visible damage.

Once the Isopropyl evaporated the sticker was reusable.


#Standard PC - Hair Dryer

Heat the sticker and using the scalpel to lift the corner and then switch to the tweezers.


Apply heat continuously or the lifting edge cools, damaging the sticker.

The sticker was reusable instantly.


#Painted Metal - Isopropyl

The glue adhered to the paint far more effectively and despite a couple of attempts I was unable to remove the sticker without damage.

Evidence of my failure......


#Painted Metal - Hair Dryer

Apply constant heat to the sticker allows its removal without damage.


Redemption and back in business....

The sticker was reusable instantly.


#Brushed Aluminium - Isopropyl

Chalk this down to another failure, using Isopropyl was a non-starter.


The smooth surface prevented the Isopropyl from getting under the sticker, damage was inevitable.


#Brushed Aluminium - Hair Dryer

Constantly applied heat appears to work better on smoother surfaces.


The sticker lifted reasonable easily and quickly without damage.

The sticker was reusable instantly.


#WD40 and Hand Sanitizer......

In theory the hand sanitizer should've worked, its thickness prevented it from penetrating the glue. A non-starter.


WD40 worked almost effectively as the Isopropyl, however the sticker was not reusable due to the oil content.


#Findings

Size or more importantly circumference to surface area matters, regardless of what your told......


The spot and dog bone stickers with relatively small surface areas to circumference lifted far easier than the rectangle.


The surface of the device being protected influences the performance of the glue. Isopropyl is unable to penetrate smoother or painted surfaces as easily.


When in doubt use a hair dryer, heat reduces adhesion of the glue allowing the sticker to lift and be reapplied.


#The Old Adage

The old adage still applies, if you have physical access you are the owner of the device.


#Limitations of tests

Source of stickers, they're nothing special being from Amazon.


At the time of writing the 2 companies approached for their heat and Isopropyl resistant security stickers have yet to reply.......Hoping they come through, I'd like to know if they do offer any extra resistance.


Any company feeling brave contact me via the Home contacts form. If the stickers supplied resist my attempts I'll mention the company name as a supplier of supieror stickers.


As always, thanks for your time, if you enjoy the content please share this site.








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