I'm using a Lenovo machine which runs ubuntu 16.04 which is installed in an external Seagate Hard Disk (of size 1 TB). Sometimes (happens from the beginning of installation) the hard-disk gets disconnected and all the applications partially works or breaks. Reinserting the hard disk does not solve this problem and the only option for me will be to switch the system off and then switch it on.

If I have my browse opened, I would still be able to browse the net, as long as the browser does not close. Or if I resize the browser by dragging it using a mouse pointer, it breaks and I would be forced to close it.

I don't know if this doubt of mine is purely delusional or reasonable but for some reason I believe if the machine goes to that state, there is a chance it could send my passwords/other information to the servers it is currently connected to (that is raw ram memory). Is it true? If not, is there any other potential vulnerability in such a state?

Moreover, if someone wants to access my system badly and knows that my system gets disconnected often from its hard disk and assuming I have a fixed IP address, will he be able to gain access to the raw ram memory? (this question is purely hypothetical, because I don't have a fixed IP in my home)


I suspect you're asking the wrong the question, but I'll answer what you asked first: You shouldn't have to worry about any security vulnerability caused by the issue you're having. Imagine you're using your favorite text editor (vim) to write a note. You attempt to save it and the program goes through the following "thought process":

"Oh no, I can't save this document because the hard drive vanished. I'll just send the user's password to a remote destination instead."

It just doesn't make sense for a program to do that. Even if the program is a virus/malware, it still wouldn't make sense to do that. Malware would just send the password regardless of whether the hard drive is connected or not.

Perhaps a better question would be:

My computer's hard drive is frequently getting disconnected. Is it possible that this is caused by some unknown virus/malware on my machine?

Anything's possible, but in this case I think Occam's Razor applies (the simplest solution is usually the correct solution): most likely you have a hardware issue. Sounds like a loose cable or connector.

Futhermore, disconnecting a hard drive does not suddenly make your memory more vulnerable. It's either vulnerable to begin with, or it's not. A crashing program won't open up security holes that didn't already exist. That being said, here's some further reading on how program crashes could pose a risk, but realize the attacker would already have to gain access to your machine first.

  • Yes, I believe I do have a hardware issues. Because, the Hard disk gets disconnected more frequently if I use another USB port. And "Oh no, I can't save this document because the hard drive vanished. I'll just send the user's password to a remote destination instead." Sounds funny! Thanks.
    – Sreram
    Feb 1 '17 at 22:15

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