Morphex's blogologue (Life, technology, music, politics, business, mental health and more)

This is the blog of Morten W. Petersen, aka. morphex in various places. I blog about my life, and what I find interesting and/or important. This is a personal blog without any editor or a lot of oversight so treat it as such. :)

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Creating a relatively safe and portable Linux setup

So, over the last years I've become more aware and focused on security and doing things securely and "hygienic" so that different activities don't transfer security issues between different platforms.

One trick I've been using is to have DVDs/CDs with some live Linux distro running, so that between activities the system is shut down and any contagion from one activity doesn't transfer over to another.

This approach works well, but it is a bit slow starting up and doing different things.. waiting for the disc reader to spin up or do its thing is so slow at times that it can become annoying. And if you're really paranoid, the risk of malware hiding in the firmware or some other part of the computer is always there.

So yesterday I bought myself a USB stick, so I can install Linux onto that.. I'm going to use the Ubuntu Linux Live disc and do an install to the USB stick with that. I installed a Live/Install disc to the USB stick first using UNetBootin, but when booting from the stick and trying to install to the stick from the stick, it didn't work.

Interestingly it didn't work because for some reason the installer had to modify the partition table on the stick and couldn't do that when the stick itself was mounted. [Edit: The stick already had a partition configured, so why should it modify?]

Then, when I boot up from the USB stick for the first time, I'll install VirtualBox onto the USB stick Linux, and could run different activities within virtualized machines. I think I'll setup a script that can cleanly initialize a virtual box image, and then startup that image, so that each "work session" within a specific area is contained to that virtual box, and it is never re-used again.

Some other things that will need to go onto the USB stick Linux is a setup for WiFi as well as removing certain standard services such as CUPS that is configured to startup automatically and listen to a port which can be accessed by users on the same network and effectively becomes a potential security hole.

With an installation of Ubuntu as the USB stick Linux, I feel fairly confident it'll be able to work on most computers' hardware it is plugged in to. WiFi can be an issue, but I guess the trick there is to keep the Ubuntu up-to-date.

Well, that's the plan for now. I'll keep you posted. [:)

[Permalink] [By morphex] [Technology (Atom feed)] [22 Mar 20:21 Europe/Oslo]