using pinebook as an airgapped machine
#1
I read that the emmc is removable but not the wifi chip. How hard is it to disable/kill it permanently? It would be great if it becomes removable in Pinebook Pro or at least easy to kill/disable permanently. 

This design would be welcomed by crypto users who don't trust crypto hardware wallets and want to use their own machines to implement Glacier Protocol so they can generate private keys and sign transactions securely.
#2
anyone?
#3
The schematics for the current Pinebooks are available. It should be the same for the Pinebook Pro once it's released.
There hasn't been any indication that a kill switch will be available for the Pinebook Pro or that there has been any interest of one thus far.

The WiFi/Bluetooth module is part of the mainboard on the Pinebook Pro as seen on the image at the bottom of this post: https://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=7093 . That's at the top left of the main board.
I guess you could short the power to ground for the module or completely desolder the module. I would go for the first option as it would be easier to reverse if something goes wrong.

If this seems like an approach you would pursue, I would advise you to spend some time getting to know the schematics and how the circuitry actually works before attempting any of this. Louis Rossmann has multiple great videos and live streams demonstrating repairs on Macbooks and this playlist here which is intended for novices to get to know the hardware side of things: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL...tiZqUTH7GT

Of course, there is the option of not loading the drivers without doing any hardware mods though it seems you have different requirements. Or maybe just disconnecting the antenna wire will be enough to degrade the signal to an acceptable level.

It may look a bit daunting at first but given what you strive to achieve, it should be worth it to spend a couple of days researching. It won't be hard to disable the module on the hardware side. But doing it in a safe, controlled and reversible manner would require some effort.

It's a nice idea to request a hardware switch for the wireless module. Or exposed contacts to make this mod very easy. Perhaps a goal for the next iteration?

PS: Maybe someone who is active on the IRC channels or Discord already disabled the module by accident or can help you to identify how to short the module safely. It's a good idea to check them.
#4
(05-01-2019, 03:58 AM)PakoSt Wrote: The schematics for the current Pinebooks are available. It should be the same for the Pinebook Pro once it's released.
There hasn't been any indication that a kill switch will be available for the Pinebook Pro or that there has been any interest of one thus far.

The WiFi/Bluetooth module is part of the mainboard on the Pinebook Pro as seen on the image at the bottom of this post: https://forum.pine64.org/showthread.php?tid=7093 . That's at the top left of the main board.
I guess you could short the power to ground for the module or completely desolder the module. I would go for the first option as it would be easier to reverse if something goes wrong.

If this seems like an approach you would pursue, I would advise you to spend some time getting to know the schematics and how the circuitry actually works before attempting any of this. Louis Rossmann has multiple great videos and live streams demonstrating repairs on Macbooks and this playlist here which is intended for novices to get to know the hardware side of things: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL...tiZqUTH7GT

Of course, there is the option of not loading the drivers without doing any hardware mods though it seems you have different requirements. Or maybe just disconnecting the antenna wire will be enough to degrade the signal to an acceptable level.

It may look a bit daunting at first but given what you strive to achieve, it should be worth it to spend a couple of days researching. It won't be hard to disable the module on the hardware side. But doing it in a safe, controlled and reversible manner would require some effort.

It's a nice idea to request a hardware switch for the wireless module. Or exposed contacts to make this mod very easy. Perhaps a goal for the next iteration?

PS: Maybe someone who is active on the IRC channels or Discord already disabled the module by accident or can help you to identify how to short the module safely. It's a good idea to check them.

Actually there is a similar to kill switch implementation on Pinebook Pro, but it is a toggle switch. This feature still checking out and will introduce if works well.
#5
Quote:tllim Wrote:
Actually there is a similar to kill switch implementation on Pinebook Pro, but it is a toggle switch. This feature still checking out and will introduce if works well.

This sounds even better! Hopefully it will work out well.
#6
(05-01-2019, 03:58 AM)PakoSt Wrote: it should be worth it to spend a couple of days researching
Thanks for the detailed response. I watched some videos on how to desolder component. Doesn't seem complicated but requires special tools and involves some risk. So I was hoping PineBook creators would spare us the effort and the risk.

(05-01-2019, 03:58 AM)PakoSt Wrote: or that there has been any interest of one thus far.
We use regular laptops with removable modules. A cheap highly portable alternative like Pinebook or even better, PineTab, would directly compete with hardware wallets like Ledger and Trezor. Users would boot from a custom live distro like BitKey and transfer signed transactions using QR codes. No need to trust the HW wallet for key generation, not leaking the private when connected to a live machine, ..etc

(05-01-2019, 10:03 PM)tllim Wrote: Actually there is a similar to kill switch implementation on Pinebook Pro, but it is a toggle switch. This feature still checking out and will introduce if works well.
Is it hardware based? Is it possible to independently verify it will always work as designed?
#7
just saw the phone page for the first time.

https://www.pine64.org/pinephone

>Hw switches: LTE/GNSS, WiFi, Microphone, Speaker, USB
>Bootable Micro SD


that's great, but I guess the emmc isn't removable as in PineBook.
#8
(05-06-2019, 08:35 AM)ThomasFink Wrote: just saw the phone page for the first time.

https://www.pine64.org/pinephone

>Hw switches: LTE/GNSS, WiFi, Microphone, Speaker, USB
>Bootable Micro SD


that's great, but I guess the emmc isn't removable as in PineBook.

We will explore on the eMMC module option with PinePhone vendor on this month. However, due to the limitation on PinePhone height, I doubt the eMMC module option will be happening.
#9
(05-12-2019, 11:40 AM)tllim Wrote: We will explore on the eMMC module option with PinePhone vendor on this month. However, due to the limitation on PinePhone height, I doubt the eMMC module option will be happening.

Glad to hear. If that turns out to be infeasible I hope there will be an easy way to kill/disable it using basic tools with little risk.
#10
(05-13-2019, 11:26 AM)ThomasFink Wrote:
(05-12-2019, 11:40 AM)tllim Wrote: We will explore on the eMMC module option with PinePhone vendor on this month. However, due to the limitation on PinePhone height, I doubt the eMMC module option will be happening.

Glad to hear. If that turns out to be infeasible I hope there will be an easy way to kill/disable it using basic tools with little risk.

I purchased the pinebook for this EXACT reason, is it really not easy to disable the wifi?!

Have you found any more info?   Need to find a way to do this asap


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