I'm trying to create an "anti-cloning" system. I'd like to know if there's a way to check a unique label on the hard disk, during the boot phase, in order to avoid the machine to continue booting if the hard disk was cloned.

I've googled a lot, but nothing interesting came out...

Since I have two hard disks, the first one with Windows 10, and the other one with Ubuntu:

  1. Do I need two different solutions, or should I create a Grub script and use it for both?
  2. What kind of unique ID should I check?
  3. How and where should I store that ID in order to avoid as much as possible a change by someone else?

Thanks in advance


I'm editing my question, because I think it has been a little misinterpreted.

My main goal is prevention. For example, I have a secure system but it's still "virgin" (first time configuration for example) and some dedicated software/data is saved inside. How can I prevent that someone else clone my system and use it for it's own purposes?

That's why I was thinking about a boot script

closed as unclear what you're asking by Deer Hunter, Matthew, LvB, symcbean, Xander Mar 29 '16 at 13:59

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Just curious because that's a pretty unique concept: what is it supposed to protect? – techraf Mar 29 '16 at 8:25
  • With Windows 10, you can consider the best half of your disk already cloned by Microsoft <s> – Deer Hunter Mar 29 '16 at 8:53
  • Start a sentence with the words: "I want to protect..." and then add what you want to protect (not what you want to protect from). – techraf Mar 29 '16 at 9:47
  • @techraf I want to protect the entire system... The configuration I've made for the OS for example, or the software I've developed that is inside etc... – IlGala Mar 29 '16 at 9:50
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    Essentially, it's a DRM problem, rather than a security problem. It has all the usual issues with DRM - when you supply the system to a customer, you also have to supply the "keys" (whatever they are on your system) so that the user can use it. You can use a custom script to check that the machine is genuine. But the customer has the script, and can edit it to remove the restriction. – Simon B Mar 29 '16 at 10:46

You can't do it. At least, if you allow attackers physical access to your machine, you've lost the battle already.

  • Use full disk encryption.
  • Keep attackers away from your machine.

The only kind of adversaries who'd clone your disk instead of stealing it or installing a rootkit/ keylogger/ whatever nastiness is on the menu today are law enforcement, and they won't boot your disk but rather study it in a clean environment.

If you rely on encryption, they will try to learn the password and then proceed to decrypt the contents of the disk instead of running anything from it (i.e. bootloader code will not be executed). Even if they boot your 'modified' loader from the disk, they will see that the OS doesn't load and will bypass your 'custom routine' after the first time using a pristine copy.

P.S. There are incompetent LE officers a-plenty, but they tend to work in departments unrelated to computer forensics.

  • What message do you try to convey in your third paragraph? – techraf Mar 29 '16 at 8:34
  • Yes, I don't understand very much the answer at all... Are you saying that encryption is the only solution? Shouldn't I add both systems? – IlGala Mar 29 '16 at 8:36
  • @IlGala - 1. Use full-disk encryption. 2. Keep attackers away from your system when it is powered on or has been recently shut down. – Deer Hunter Mar 29 '16 at 8:39
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    Your third paragraph actually leaves impression that encryption is useless (syntax: if you do it, they will do something else and proceed). – techraf Mar 29 '16 at 8:49
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    @IlGala - this is a 'mission impossible' scenario. If you give the machine to your customer, say 'Good bye' to your intellectual property unless you want to hire a lawyer and enforce your rights. There is no technical solution for that. – Deer Hunter Mar 29 '16 at 9:28

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