[SOLVED] Security provided by live boot on public wireless

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StatGenFriend
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[SOLVED] Security provided by live boot on public wireless

Post by StatGenFriend » Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:29 pm

I am wondering if anybody can enlighten me as to the security advantages of a Live boot with Linux Mint (e.g., from a CD, DVD or usb thumb drive) when using public wireless site to gain access to the internet. I have heard that there are such security advantages with live booting.

Thank you,

S.
Last edited by StatGenFriend on Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Security provided by live boot on public wireless

Post by Cosmo. » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:03 pm

The advantage of using a live system is, that this system cannot get permanently compromised. After a reboot the system is back in its original state. Using a live system in public network means, that there are no personal information stored in this system, and what is not there cannot get stolen.

But this is only the half truth. Depending from the age of the live system the included software is more or less outdated and misses security updates. This is especially true for the browser. Most likely the installed browser is full of security leaks. The consequence is, that during an online session you are more in danger than with an installed system, which is up to date.

The coin has 2 sides.

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Re: Security provided by live boot on public wireless

Post by Pjotr » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:32 pm

Cosmo. wrote:Depending from the age of the live system the included software is more or less outdated and misses security updates. This is especially true for the browser. Most likely the installed browser is full of security leaks. The consequence is, that during an online session you are more in danger than with an installed system, which is up to date.
So it is.

Apart from that: public wireless is totally insecure. You should assume that all network traffic is being monitored on public wireless, and that all your submitted data are being read by others. So watch out what you do when online on a public network.
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Re: Security provided by live boot on public wireless

Post by StatGenFriend » Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:30 pm

Pjotr wrote:
Cosmo. wrote:Depending from the age of the live system the included software is more or less outdated and misses security updates. This is especially true for the browser. Most likely the installed browser is full of security leaks. The consequence is, that during an online session you are more in danger than with an installed system, which is up to date.
So it is.

Apart from that: public wireless is totally insecure. You should assume that all network traffic is being monitored on public wireless, and that all your submitted data are being read by others. So watch out what you do when online on a public network.
Thanks Pjotr and Cosmo,

Since the main security problem is an outdated browser, is there any way to overcome this problem? Could the latest browser be added to a CD with the live Mint OS on it? Or could the latest browser be added to a USB thumbdrive with the live Mint OS on it?

QUESTIONS: I wonder if there is a way to download the latest browser during the live session and use it during the live session. Perhaps the latest browser could be written to RAM rather than the hard drive. I checked my installed Firefox and it is about 110MB. If the webbrowser were written to the hard drive, that would probably defeat the purpose of maintaining security. It seems to me that in some live sessions you can temporarily write to the hard drive?

I think I actually two found articles about doing what I am describing above here:
http://tuxtweaks.com/2014/03/create-lin ... -live-usb/
https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/14912/c ... ash-drive/

And here (read the comments under the first post):
https://www.cnet.com/forums/discussions ... sb-615586/

Thanks, any more comments will be welcome.

StatGenFriend

P.S. Here is an article about using a Linux live session for internet banking
( http://voices.washingtonpost.com/securi ... n_non.html ). But this was written for those who want to increase security by avoiding a Microsoft operating system.

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Re: Security provided by live boot on public wireless

Post by phd21 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:23 pm

Hi "StatGenFriend",

Welcome to the wonderful world of Linux Mint and its excellent forum !

I just read your post and the good replies to it. Here are my thoughts on this as well.

I.) If you create a "Live" installation version of Linux Mint onto a USB stick with "Persistence", then some changes can be saved and will appear even after rebooting which I think includes browser updates.

II.) You can fully install any edition and version of Linux Mint onto your hard drive, or another USB flash drive stick of 16gb or larger, with a non-descriptive, non-identifying, user name and computer name, with a good password, which would be much more secure than using a "Live" installation version of Linux Mint, and you can easily update and save changes, etc...

III.) Using either method above, you can make them safer to use while connecting to any Internet provider, public Wifi or not, by:

III.a.) Change the ISP default connection's DNS server IP addresses to safe, neutral, secure ones from a DNS provider, like "dns.watch", "opennic", "openDNS", "freenom world", etc... and restart your computer. This works even on public WiFi connections.

Instructions from "openDNS" click computers, then Linux Mint
- These instructions can use any DNS IP addresses, use "ipleak.net" to check if the changes worked.
https://www.opendns.com/setupguide/

III.b.) Use a VPN provider, like the excellent low-cost system wide "Private Internet Access (PIA)", "ProtonVPN", etc... This will encrypt all Internet traffic and hide your IP address. There are free and paid for VPN providers, the paid for ones offer more world wide server locations, have no restrictions on how you use it, and may actually increase your surfing activity speed. And even the free ones, like "vpnbook" or "vpngate" are much better than not using a VPN provider, but they are usually slower, some have restrictions,"vpnbook" does not allow p2p or torrent use, requires changing password every week or two (not a big deal), "vpngate" servers are not always available, come and go frequently, thus requiring you to locate, download, and create a new VPN server connection, sometimes daily (not a big deal in Linux Mint 18.x); the superb "vpngate with proxy" application makes using free "vpngate" servers easy to use.
http://www.webupd8.org/2017/02/easily-u ... m-vpn.html

There are also some really nice browser add-on VPN providers, like "Hoxx" and "DotVPN", etc... (Opera browser has a nice one built-in), which will encrypt your Internet activity and hide your IP address while in that browser, but other applications in your Linux Mint system that may access the Internet are not protected by this method.

III.c.) Common Sense things to do:
- Use the superb "Firejail" sandboxing application with all Internet accessing applications to protect your system.
- Use the browser's Private Windows, or Private Tab addon, whenever accessing any secure website, like for banking, PayPal, Ebay, paying bills online, etc...
- Never store Passwords for important secure websites in your browsers, use a password manager like KeePassX (v2), or KeePass2.

Hope this helps ...
Last edited by phd21 on Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Security provided by live boot on public wireless

Post by StatGenFriend » Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:45 pm

Hi PhD,

I am actually responding to your reply in a Live boot CD/DVD session after I upgraded from Firefox 51 to 54 using the terminal commands "sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install firefox" ; I will have a more detailed look at your extensive post -- it will take time to digest. I am investigating all of this for a friend who uses Mint and also for myself, I use Lubuntu. But I think these two versions of Linux are very similar.

The Live boot off the CD is kind of slow. I am unsure if I can boot off the USB drive with this computer.

Any more comments from you or anybody else will be appreciated.

Thanks again,

S.

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Re: Security provided by live boot on public wireless

Post by phd21 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:53 pm

Hi "StatGenFriend",

You are welcome...

I doubt that updating Firefox from a "Live" installation DVD or USB flash drive stick will persist after you reboot. But, if this was USB flash drive stick (which would be faster than a DVD) with "Persistence", or a fully installed Linux Mint system, then the updated Firefox would probably still be there after rebooting (persist), as would network connections and DNS changes, VPN servers and configurations, Firejail installation and configurations, etc...

...
Last edited by phd21 on Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Security provided by live boot on public wireless

Post by Bolle1961 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:01 pm

Best live cd / dvd to use on public wifi is Tails
https://tails.boum.org
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Re: Security provided by live boot on public wireless

Post by StatGenFriend » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:04 pm

I am wondering is there is a particularly stripped down version of Mint that is small (and hence fast loading from a DVD/CD drive) that works well for Live boot and internet access.

Does anybody know?

Thanks again,

S.

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Re: Security provided by live boot on public wireless

Post by phd21 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:08 pm

Hi "StatGenFriend",

I just updated my last reply...

I personally think that all the Linux Mint systems, any edition and version boots up pretty fast on a good USB flash drive stick, not bad on a DVD either. But, that obviously depends upon your computer hardware and the DVD drive, or USB v2 vs v3, etc... If you are using very old under powered computer equipment, then it will be slower.

I have various editions and versions of Linux Mint on USB flash drive sticks, fully installed and "Live" ones with Persistence, and they boot pretty quickly much faster than MS Windows even on my ancient, under-powered, computer.


Hope this helps ...
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Re: Security provided by live boot on public wireless

Post by StatGenFriend » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:12 pm

phd21 wrote:Hi "StatGenFriend",

You are welcome...

I doubt that updating Firefox from a "Live" installation DVD or USB flash drive stick will persist after you reboot. But, if this was USB flash drive stick (which would be faster than a DVD) with "Persistence", or a fully installed Linux Mint system, then the updated Firefox would probably still be there after rebooting (persist), as would network connections and DNS changes, VPN servers and configurations, Firejail installation and configurations, etc...

...
Hi again PhD,

I am not sure I can boot off the USB drive with my PC or with my friend's PC. And it will take some time to look at the stuff on "persistence." So for right now I am looking at booting off the CD/DVD drive. I know that an upgraded Firefox browser will not persist. But I can use it for a single live session and it will be secure. It does not take that long to upgrade Firefox with the terminal commands I gave above. So it proves the point. Other security updates via the Software Update Manager (or Software Updater for Ubuntu) may take longer, hence my interest in a stripped down version, which may take less time to upgrade for security.

Are there specific terminal commands for just Mint security upgrades? Such a security upgrade might be something I could do quickly for a Mint live boot off a CD/DVD drive.

Thanks again,

S.
Last edited by StatGenFriend on Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Security provided by live boot on public wireless

Post by phd21 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:17 pm

Hi "StatGenFriend",

It would help to know more about your system setup and your friends setup. If you run "inxi -Fxzd" from the console terminal prompt, highlight the results, copy and paste them back here, that should provide enough information.

Even on older computers that have a CD/DVD drive and USB ports, if they cannot boot directly to a USB flash drive stick (no Bios option(s)), then you can create a bootable CD/DVD of "SuperGrub2" or "PLoP", and boot to that, then it will allow you to boot to the USB stick. I had to do that for awhile on some older computers, but it works.

Hope this helps ...


There are some really good posts in this forum on creating Persistent USB flash sticks, if you search for them, see below.
For those who don’t know, "MultiSystem" is a small, Open Source freeware to create a multiboot usb drives from Linux systems. Using this utility, we can create any number of bootable Linux distributions in a single USB drive with or without persistence. All you need is an Internet connection (at the time of MultiSystem installation only), and a sufficient size of a USB drive depending upon the number of distributions you want to include in that USB drive.
http://www.unixmen.com/create-multiboot ... ltisystem/

To install, open a console terminal, type in, or copy & paste, each line below one by one:

Code: Select all

sudo apt-add-repository 'deb http://liveusb.info/multisystem/depot all main'

Code: Select all

wget -q -O - http://liveusb.info/multisystem/depot/multisystem.asc | sudo apt-key add -

Code: Select all

sudo apt-get update

Code: Select all

sudo apt-get install multisystem
[/color]

Tip1: You must format the USB stick with the "fat32" format, and give it a volume name, before using this program; not just the default "USB STICK" that the Mint USB Stick Formatter shows, that is not a volume name, so change it to something else.

Tip2: If you want "persistence" for a particular Operating System (OS) on this USB stick, then after putting an operating system on the stick, click the operating system you want "persistence" on to highlight it, then click the MultiSystem menu options, and select "persistence", and follow the simple instructions. Then you can add more OS's, if you want, but only one OS can have "persistence".

Another post on this...
http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.p ... 7&t=211217

Re: More than 4gb persistence [SOLVED] - The last reply has the information on how to create this.
viewtopic.php?f=46&t=219126&hilit=multisystem

http://www.pendrivelinux.com/create-a-l ... #more-4047
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Re: Security provided by live boot on public wireless

Post by StatGenFriend » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:50 pm

phd21 wrote:Hi "StatGenFriend",

It would help to know more about your system setup and your friends setup. If you run "inxi -Fxzd" from the console terminal prompt, highlight the results, copy and paste them back here, that should provide enough information.

Even on older computers that have a CD/DVD drive and USB ports, if they cannot boot directly to a USB flash drive stick (no Bios option(s)), then you can create a bootable CD/DVD of "SuperGrub2" or "PLoP", and boot to that, then it will allow you to boot to the USB stick. I had to do that for awhile on some older computers, but it works.

Hope this helps ...
PhD,

I tried to install Inxi during the live session, but the Terminal said there was not enough space, I assume this is because new software during the live session was being written to RAM. So I am back in a regular boot off my hard drive. I installed Inxi and ran the command Inxi -Fxzd command and the output is below. I don't have access to my friend's PC right now.

Thanks,
S.

System: Host: statgenfriend-Lenovo-IdeaPad-Y510 Kernel: 4.8.0-58-generic x86_64 (64 bit gcc: 5.4.0)
Desktop: LXDE (Openbox 3.6.1) Distro: Ubuntu 16.04 xenial
Machine: System: LENOVO (portable) product: INVALID v: Lenovo IdeaPad Y510
Mobo: LENOVO model: SPEEDY v: 1.0
Bios: LENOVO v: 06CN28WW date: 03/12/2008
CPU: Dual core Intel Core2 Duo T5550 (-MCP-) cache: 2048 KB
flags: (lm nx sse sse2 sse3 ssse3) bmips: 7315
clock speeds: max: 1833 MHz 1: 1000 MHz 2: 1333 MHz
Graphics: Card: Intel Mobile GM965/GL960 Integrated Graphics Controller (primary)
bus-ID: 00:02.0
Display Server: X.Org 1.18.4 drivers: (unloaded: fbdev,vesa)
Resolution: 1280x800@59.91hz
GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI Intel 965GM
GLX Version: 2.1 Mesa 12.0.6 Direct Rendering: Yes
Audio: Card Intel 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller
driver: snd_hda_intel bus-ID: 00:1b.0
Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture v: k4.8.0-58-generic
Network: Card-1: Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG [Golan] Network Connection
driver: iwl3945 v: in-tree:s bus-ID: 02:00.0
IF: wls33 state: up mac: <filter>
Card-2: Broadcom NetLink BCM5906M Fast Ethernet PCI Express
driver: tg3 v: 3.137 bus-ID: 03:00.0
IF: ens34 state: down mac: <filter>
Drives: HDD Total Size: 500.1GB (16.0% used)
ID-1: /dev/sda model: Hitachi_HTS54755 size: 500.1GB temp: 37C
Optical: /dev/sr0 model: Optiarc DVD RW AD-7560A
rev: D803 dev-links: cdrom,cdrw,dvd,dvdrw
Features: speed: 24x multisession: yes
audio: yes dvd: yes rw: cd-r,cd-rw,dvd-r,dvd-ram state: running
Partition: ID-1: / size: 456G used: 72G (17%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda1
ID-2: swap-1 size: 3.21GB used: 0.00GB (0%) fs: swap dev: /dev/sda5
RAID: No RAID devices: /proc/mdstat, md_mod kernel module present
Sensors: System Temperatures: cpu: 54.0C mobo: N/A
Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A
Info: Processes: 153 Uptime: 7 min Memory: 1054.7/2999.6MB
Init: systemd runlevel: 5 Gcc sys: 5.4.0
Client: Shell (bash 4.3.481) inxi: 2.2.35

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Re: Security provided by live boot on public wireless

Post by phd21 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:30 pm

Hi "StatGenFriend",

As far as I know, there is no need to install "inxi" as it is already part of most Linux systems, you just run in it from a console terminal command prompt in either the Live or installed versions.

Ok, I am surprised that this 64-bit Intel Dual Core computer does not have Bios options for booting to a USB drive. Have you checked the Bios, are there any Bios updates for this laptop that have not been installed? I do not see any problems with the results of the "inxi -Fxzd", so that is good.

You can always download one or both of the two utilities that I mentioned before (.iso file), and burn a CD/DVD and use that to boot to a USB stick that has an operating system like Linux Mint on it. "SuperGrub2" is one of the "must have" tools I recommend having anyway, because if for some reason your boot up process gets messed up, this will usually allow you back in.


Hope this helps ...
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Re: Security provided by live boot on public wireless

Post by StatGenFriend » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:59 pm

phd21 wrote:Hi "StatGenFriend",

As far as I know, there is no need to install "inxi" as it is already part of most Linux systems, you just run in it from a console terminal command prompt in either the Live or installed versions.

Ok, I am surprised that this 64-bit Intel Dual Core computer does not have Bios options for booting to a USB drive. Have you checked the Bios, are there any Bios updates for this laptop that have not been installed? I do not see any problems with the results of the "inxi -Fxzd", so that is good.

You can always download one or both of the two utilities that I mentioned before (.iso file), and burn a CD/DVD and use that to boot to a USB stick that has an operating system like Linux Mint on it. "SuperGrub2" is one of the "must have" tools I recommend having anyway, because if for some reason your boot up process gets messed up, this will usually allow you back in.

Hope this helps ...
Hi PhD,

I had to install inxi on my Lubuntu 16.04.2 LTS. Terminal gave me an error message and told me I needed to install it (and gave me the command to use) before running the command you gave me. In fact in the Live boot, terminal told me there was not enough space to install inxi. I assume this is because inxi would have been loaded into RAM and not the hard drive, correct?

How would I check the BIOS to see if I can boot off the usb?

How would I update the BIOS? By contacting LENOVO? Wouldn't it be tricky/potentially dangerous to try to change the BIOS?

Thanks,

S.

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Re: Security provided by live boot on public wireless

Post by phd21 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:38 pm

Hi "StatGenFriend",

Every computer has a BIos that can be accessed when the computer is turned on, usually when it is rebooted as well. On mine, I can hit and hold F12 while booting to access my Bios and boot options. Yours might be the same or F10, or F2. sometimes it tells you on the screen, otherwise you have to look it up in the manual (manual are online if you don't have one).

You would have to go through the Bios menus to see if there are any USB options, and bootup device options, and enable those for USB, if there are any. See quote box below in this post in blue, it looks like this computer can boot to usb.

As for updating your computer's bios, you would have to go to your computer manufacturer's website search for your model number, see below, check for bios updates, see if there are any that are newer than the one you are currently using (03/12/2008), and if there is one and there is one, then follow their instructions for downloading and updating it. I already did this research for you, See below. Yours computer is: Bios: LENOVO v: 06CN28WW date: 03/12/2008.

There is a little danger in updating the Bios, if your computer has a power outage while doing the Bios update which are generally pretty quick (If you do not have a battery backup (UPS), you should, laptops obviously have a battery), or you try to install a Bios update that is not for your computer and it lets you. Otherwise, Bios updates are a very good thing to do. The instructions are in the quote box below for your computer.

Critical BIOS update - IdeaPad Y510, Y710
https://support.lenovo.com/us/en/solutions/ht069154

How to install BIOS update on IdeaPad Y510 systems
https://support.lenovo.com/us/en/solutions/ht069741
Download both files - right click choose "save as".
06CN33WW.txt
06CN33WW.ROM
http://pcsupport.lenovo.com/us/en/downloads/ds009340

Ideapad Y510 BIOS Flash Process
1. Copy BIOS file (06CN33WW.ROM) to USB stick (formatted to "Fat32") or your HDD.
2. Press F2 key to enter SETUP (Bios) mode in POST or Press F4 key to Flash mode in POST;
3. Advanced ->Start Easy Flash
Start Easy Flash: Easy flash interface for upgrade BIOS
4. Find BIOS file (06CN33WW.ROM) on your USB disk or HDD, then run it. It can Flash BIOS to the new version
Tips: please have AC adapter and Battery connected on your laptop at the same time.
Note if the USB drive is not detected in the Flash Utility program, it is necessary to configure the USB device as the first hard disk drive, as follows:
Boot->Hard Disk Drive->Change USB device to 1st drive.
Note: If you make the USB flash drive stick the First Boot Device, then whenever you bootup your computer, if a bootable USB drive is connected it will boot to that, unless you remove it, or choose the boot menu, like hitting F2 or whatever the boot menu key is.

For more details, please visit: http://consumersupport.lenovo.com/en/Hi ... 89017.html



Hope this helps ...
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Re: Security provided by live boot on public wireless

Post by StatGenFriend » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:40 pm

phd21 wrote:Hi "StatGenFriend",

Hope this helps ...
Thanks for your help PhD. It does help. I am going to mark this thread as SOLVED. But I do not know how to mark it SOLVED. Can anybody tell me how to mark it SOLVED.

S.

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Re: Security provided by live boot on public wireless

Post by gold_finger » Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:06 pm

According to Lenovo support site, you should be able to get into main Bios Settings/Setup by tapping <F2> key, or get into the per-session Boot Menu by tapping <F12> during initial power-on of computer.

1. Make live USB of Mint using either MultiSystem (as described above), or UNetBootin (see further info below).

2. Plug in the live USB before powering on computer.

3. Boot computer and immediately start tapping <F12> key to invoke per-session Boot Menu. It should offer choice to boot the USB.


Instructions for making live USB with UNetBootin are here: viewtopic.php?t=193062&p=1001095#p1001059. You should be able to use same terminal command in Lubuntu as shown in instructions to install UNetBootin.

Here is a screenshot to go along with the instructions:
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Re: Security provided by live boot on public wireless

Post by phd21 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:50 pm

HI "StatGenFriend",

You are very welcome...

To mark a post solved, just edit your original post, and add <Solved> to the subject line, click submint.
Last edited by phd21 on Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Security provided by live boot on public wireless

Post by StatGenFriend » Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:44 am

Thanks to everybody incuding Goldfinger, PhD, Bolle1961, Pjotr and Cosmo,

S. :wink:

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