Can damaged hard drive weaken Mac's security?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Rodercik, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. Rodercik macrumors newbie

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    Feb 16, 2017
    #1
    Hello!

    I heard that sometimes hard drive can get damaged (holding down the power button to force shut down, for example when system is completely frozen - it has happened once or twice for me, no idea why).

    If hard drive is damaged, would it weaken security in some way? Like OS doesn't function properly and something develops security hole or won't notice something malicious - like Gatekeeper letting something through or security patches not working ?

    How would I know if hard drive is damaged?

    Sorry for likely dumb question, but I'm trying to figure it out with absolutely no idea about tech.
     
  2. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68020

    Mr_Brightside_@

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  3. Rodercik thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Thank you! :D
     
  4. cruisin macrumors 6502a

    cruisin

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    #4
    As long as you don't drop the laptop, especially when it is on, it will be fine.

    The software doesn't automatically change on power loss. You can have file corruption, but its much more likely that the corruption simply breaks something vs. something as subtle as everything working but the security. Otherwise hackers would just unplug a computer to hack it.
     
  5. Rodercik thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    I have desk Mac so it is very safely on desk and I'm giving it stern look to stay on it. :D

    So very likely that if something goes bad, it will be obvious missing data that makes something obviously malfunction, not subtle (I like this word!) errors.
    The hackers unplugging part is really well worded... makes me think how dumb my question really was. :D
     
  6. cruisin macrumors 6502a

    cruisin

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    #6
    Corruption will be random, like the monkeys at the typewriter example. You could get something resembling words, but how much will be an actual sentence or paragraph? So a whole or part of a file will be changed, but what are the chances that the change will do something?

    You need a hacker or a virus that specifically overwrites something with code that will work (and a preexisting security hole). So as long as you keep up to date with security updates and avoid dodgy websites you will be ok. Backups (where you can point to the same file on at least two separate drives) should also be done for anything you deem important.

    I'm glad that you found this helpful.
     
  7. Rodercik thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 16, 2017
    #7
    I'd like to ask one more thing if possible.

    Before I wanted to know if damaged hard drive can cause security risks and you may have answered this one too, but I need to be precise due to being so green with tech. :D

    Few times I've had to forcibly shut Mac down by holding power button. I heard it causes file system damage (even if hard drive itself is not damaged)

    Could any of such corruption to file system weaken Mac's overall security, damage files OS uses for security purposes?

    For example Gatekeeper not functioning properly (allowing something to slip through), Mac's own anti-malware checker letting something slip, some Apple's security updates not working - overall something in system weakening so that malicious party could gain access to Mac through Internet.

    To sum it up: if OS filesystem is damaged due to forced shut down, will it be same situation as you described before:

    If forced shut down caused file system corruption, it won't be going secretly weakening my security without me noticing?
     
  8. cruisin macrumors 6502a

    cruisin

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    #8
    It can cause file system damage, similar to how removing a flash drive without ejecting can cause corruption. The cause is the same, basically the computer didn't finish writing before there was an interruption.

    However, modern computers have a journal based file system for internal storage. Basically it first writes to the journal, then it does the actual writing. So if something is interrupted, very little is lost (sometimes nothing). Sometimes it can take longer to boot up the computer as it will copy everything from the journal to fix any issues.

    Security is always recreated when you boot up. So again, it is hard to accidentally break the security. Deliberately is another matter. This is why you should encrypt your computer, so that people cannot break your security when your computer is not running.
     
  9. Rodercik thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 16, 2017
    #9
    1) Always recreated? OS always makes sure security is fully functional and patches any errors?

    2) Accidentally would be me forcing shutdown, yes? So chances of couple forced shutdowns damaging Mac's security are as close to zero as they can get with technology being unpredictable?

    3) Deliberately mean someone else has physical access (not from Internet)? Sitting behind my Mac?
     
  10. cruisin macrumors 6502a

    cruisin

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    #10
    I don't think it patches, but the point of a operating system is that it creates a environment that allows other applications to run, while handling the details like security, networking, power saving, etc. Every time you start up the computer it reads the instructions of how to do this from internal files, thereby recreating everything from scratch.

    Forcing shutdown, hardware errors, and power failure; everything is accounted for. There are occasional issues that cannot be handled automatically, but there are easy to follow guides for those situations.

    Someone can remove your storage and then access it directly like any external drive if it is unencrypted. Or use Target Disk Mode (https://support.apple.com/en-ca/HT201462) to skip removing the drive and just use a cable. Usually this is not a problem if you keep your computer at home where you control access. If the computer is off there is no special watchdog that stays awake to control access, so some people prefer to keep everything encrypted.
     
  11. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    #11
    You could run fsck to see if that can help. Also consider using the free software EtreCheck and see if you have any old plugins or hackies that you could delete, then reboot after deleting.
     

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