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My laptop has a plastic chassis whose panels click into place (no screws on the outside). When I bought it (new), there was a gap on one side along the seam joining the top and bottom halves of the chassis (1 inch by 3-4mm gap). That is to say that one of the "hooks" was not clicked into place. Also, the panels didn't quite line up by the USB port whose bottom edge merges with the seam on the same side (so it might have been used for prying it open?).

Is this an indication that it might have been tampered with somewhere along the line? The box was sealed and looked fine.

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    Why do you think that tampering would be more likely than a problem in the original assembly? Or in other words: why do you think somebody tampering with the device would do such a bad job of covering the tracks? – Steffen Ullrich Feb 28 at 4:58
  • @SteffenUllrich I agree with your logic; but I'm still on the fence about the pc. I'm trying to get a sense of this: Say laptop A is clean and laptop B has been tampered with. Are they then equally likely to have such a defect, or is B more likely to? – Parra N. Oyya Feb 28 at 16:01
  • I very much doubt that you'll get a reliable answer on this question here. This is a question only the QA of the specific vendor might answer and it might even depend on the specific model and maybe even the weekday the system was produced. – Steffen Ullrich Feb 28 at 17:21
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There's simply no way to know. What you are describing could be evidence of a botched tampering job or a simple flaw that occurred during assembly. There's no way that anyone would be able to determine whether or not it was tampered with given the information you've provided. Most likely it's fine.

Is there any particular reason you would suspect tampering? Did you buy the laptop from a reputable company? Was it purchased online and delivered (which makes interdiction possible) or did you pick it out in the store (in which case targeted modifications are infeasible or impossible). If you do not have a solid reason to suspect that you are being targeted, then the likelihood is that this is benign.

  • Thanks for the answer. Would someone tampering be more likely to do this than the regular assembly process would? (Does Bayes' rule suggest to trust this one less than a superficially flawless one?) Edit: I bought it from a reputable physical store. – Parra N. Oyya Feb 28 at 4:25
  • @ParraN.Oyya There's no way to know. – forest Feb 28 at 4:25

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