Prepare quarantined hardware

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  1. Separate your quarantined hardware into two parallel sets. Each set should contain:
    • One laptop
    • Two USB drives from the same manufacturer

    Each component should be supplied by different manufacturers from the other set. i.e. your two laptops should be from two different manufacturers, and the USB drives in one set should be from a different manufacturer than the USB drives in the other set.

  2. In each set, label all hardware with a permanent marker. Write directly on the hardware.

    1. Label the laptops (“Quarantined Computers”) “Q1” and “Q2”.
    2. Label one USB drive from each set with “Q1 BOOT” or “Q2 BOOT”. These USBs will have the operating system you’ll boot the computer with.
    3. Label the other USB drive from each set with “Q1 APP” or “Q2 APP”. These USBs will have the software applications you’ll use.
  3. Labeled hardware should only be used with hardware that shares the same label (“Q1”, “Q2”, or “SETUP 1”, or “SETUP 2”). For example:

    1. Don’t plug a “Q1” USB drive into a “Q2” laptop.
    2. Don’t plug a “SETUP 2” USB drive into a “Q1” or “Q2” laptop.
    3. Don’t plug an unlabeled USB drive into a “Q1” or “Q2” laptop.
  4. Quarantine the network and wireless interfaces for both laptops:

    1. Unbox laptop. Do not power it on.
    2. Put a tamper-resistant seal over the Ethernet port, if it has one.
    3. Physically remove the wireless card.

      1. For the recommended Dell laptop, Dell’s official instructions for doing so are here. A YouTube video showing an abbreviated procedure is here.
      2. For the recommended Acer laptop, the process is similar to the Dell. Note there are two cover screws hidden underneath rubber feet on the bottom of the laptop.
    4. After removing the wireless card, cover the ends of the internal wi-fi antennae with electrical tape.
    5. If the computer has separate cards for WiFi and Bluetooth, be sure to remove both. (Most modern laptops, including the recommended Acer and Dell, have a single wireless card which handles both.)
  5. Fully charge both laptops.