Running a Win7/LM-Dual boot past 2020 - how bad an idea is that?

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ParaDice
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Running a Win7/LM-Dual boot past 2020 - how bad an idea is that?

Post by ParaDice » Sun Sep 08, 2019 4:13 am

Hey there,

I'm currently still running a dual boot on my desktop machine. Here's what it looks like:
  • Linux Mint 19.2 is installed on its own, separate partition (sda1)
  • So is a Windoze 7 system (sda2)
  • My Linux /home folder with all of my private files is on a separate drive/partition (sdb1) that is LUKS/LVM encrypted
I use the Win7 system for gaming purposes only, i.e. the system is completely detached from any of my private files that reside on the ecrypted Linux partition. Thus I'm considering running Win7 past its official end of support on 14 Jan 2020. I am aware that this may endanger the security and integrity of the Win7 system, which I don't care about much since it does not hold anything of importance. What I do care about is the Linux system and the private files on it, and whether a compromised Windoze can drag those down with it.
I'm particularly curious to know:
  • what are the odds of compromising the integrity of my Linux system? Let's say I catch a keylogger trojan on the Win7 system - is it possible for said trojan to spy on my keystrokes under Linux as well, e.g. by implanting itself to the MBR or manipulating my Linux system (if, for some reason, it can read the Ext4 of sda1)?
  • what are the odds of losing my private files on the encrypted drive? Let's say I catch a crypto trojan on the Win7 system - is it possible for said trojan to encrypt or, as some do, simply destroy my private data on sdb1? The Win7 system does not "speak" Ext4 and cannot get through the encryption, but could a trojan attack at the partition level, e.g. by encrypting or overwriting the entire partition with zeros?
  • Are there any other horror scenarios I forgot and might run into? :D
Last edited by ParaDice on Sun Sep 08, 2019 4:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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BG04PF
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Re: Running a Win7/LM-Dual boot past 2020 - how bad an idea is that?

Post by BG04PF » Sun Sep 08, 2019 4:20 am

Hello,

Windows viruses don't work on Linux, they have been created JUST for Winzozz; if you catch a trojan on Winzozz, you Can install an antivirus on Mint and analizying the win partition and destroy the virus.

For a Ransomware? That's a bit more complicated... Encrypted files are not viruses, so Mint's antivirus shouldn't detect them, It Can Just detect the "Ransomware.exe" file and destroying It, but for the files... They're crypted, no Way...

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Re: Running a Win7/LM-Dual boot past 2020 - how bad an idea is that?

Post by catweazel » Sun Sep 08, 2019 4:36 am

ParaDice wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 4:13 am
what are the odds of losing my private files on the encrypted drive? Let's say I catch a crypto trojan on the Win7 system - is it possible for said trojan to encrypt or, as some do, simply destroy my private data on sdb1?
If Windwoes can read and write the files, yes. Windwoes doesn't natively read linux file systems so as long as you maintain a linux filesystem then you should be fine.

As for a Windwoes virus, the same applies, but it's highly unlikely that a virus would infect your linux system unless you were running a server open to the world.
"There is, ultimately, only one truth -- cogito, ergo sum -- everything else is an assumption." - Me, my swansong.

ParaDice
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Re: Running a Win7/LM-Dual boot past 2020 - how bad an idea is that?

Post by ParaDice » Sun Sep 08, 2019 12:31 pm

catweazel wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 4:36 am
If Windwoes can read and write the files, yes. Windwoes doesn't natively read linux file systems so as long as you maintain a linux filesystem then you should be fine.
I am aware of that. Still, as I wrote, Windoze (and with it any malware) does have access to the partition tables, i.e.: even though it may not be able to read the contents of a Linux file system on a partition (which, in my case, is also encrypted), it can see that there is one and perform basic operation on it, such as deleting it from the partition table. My guess is that a ransomware trojan might use this to encrypt or delete[1] the entire partition, even though it may not be able to read its contents. File shredder software (or dd under Linux) doesn't have to read a file system, either - it just overwrites (parts of the) hard disk with zeroes.

[1]: https://threatpost.com/ranscam-ransomwa ... ht/119197/
To get help, always post your system configuration: open a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T), type the following command and copy its output:

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michael louwe
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Re: Running a Win7/LM-Dual boot past 2020 - how bad an idea is that?

Post by michael louwe » Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:11 am

ParaDice wrote:
Sun Sep 08, 2019 12:31 pm
Still, as I wrote, Windoze (and with it any malware) does have access to the partition tables, i.e.: even though it may not be able to read the contents of a Linux file system on a partition (which, in my case, is also encrypted), it can see that there is one and perform basic operation on it, such as deleting it from the partition table.
AFAIK, Windows cannot see Linux files or partitions = could not delete or format Linux files or partitions. To confirm, format a USB-stick in ext4 with LM 19.x and try to reformat the USB-stick with Win 7.

The link you provided points to the ransomware deleting Windows files, not Linux files or partitions. So, your dual-booted LM 19.x system should be safe from malware infecting the Win 7 system.

Ordinary home-users who practice safe-browsing and use an AV program can safely run Win 7 past its EOL in Jan 2020, for 3 or 4 more years. I have done exactly that with Win XP after it's EOL in 2014.
....... I have also stopped updating my dual-booted Win 7 system since April 2016 when M$'s GWX KB3035583 campaign became aggressive and when M$ implemented mandatory monthly Patch Rollups in Oct 2016 - my Win 7 is still running OK for web-surfing.

High-value targets to hackers should not run unpatched systems, eg enterprises, organizations, government agencies, celebrities, millionaires, politicians, etc.

Personally, I'll be running Win 10 Ent LTSC 2019 or 2021 by hook or by crook when the Win 7 on my laptop becomes unusable in 2023, ie when most programs no longer support Win 7.
.
.
P S - Recently, I needed Win 7 to do a firmware update for an Android USB hub and to create a Stock Firmware Android system backup on a microSD card for my 4G LTE Android tablet. Linux no can do = no support from the OEMs.

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Re: Running a Win7/LM-Dual boot past 2020 - how bad an idea is that?

Post by Pierre » Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:48 am

it's your machine - - so it's your risk.

if anything does go wrong - - it's also your problem, as well.

if you do go online - - do you manage that scenario properly ? and you are not being too care-free ?.

ie: I've also got some older PCs as well - - they typically don't go online, either.
as they have some dedicated off-line purposes, to achieve.
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ParaDice
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Re: Running a Win7/LM-Dual boot past 2020 - how bad an idea is that?

Post by ParaDice » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:53 am

@Pierre: The purpose of this thread is not to lift the burden of my risk on other peoples' shoulders, but to assess the degree of that risk correctly. Feel free to contribute. ;)
To get help, always post your system configuration: open a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T), type the following command and copy its output:

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inxi -Fxz

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Re: Running a Win7/LM-Dual boot past 2020 - how bad an idea is that?

Post by AndyMH » Mon Sep 09, 2019 1:32 pm

I expect to be running win7 in a VM well past its EOL. I do not use win for anything internet related. If you are nervous about dual booting, set win up in a VM.
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ParaDice
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Re: Running a Win7/LM-Dual boot past 2020 - how bad an idea is that?

Post by ParaDice » Mon Sep 09, 2019 4:37 pm

AndyMH wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 1:32 pm
If you are nervous about dual booting, set win up in a VM.
Good idea, but that isn't an option for me. As I said, I need the Win system for games only, and running (3D) games inside a VM comes with too many speed penalties.
To get help, always post your system configuration: open a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T), type the following command and copy its output:

Code: Select all

inxi -Fxz

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