Qubes OS – a reasonably secure operating system

in #qubes-os5 years ago

Last few days I've been playing with Qubes OS. There have been lately a couple of events that have encouraged me to look for more secure ways of using my computers, like Russia's plans to backdoor all encryption and Theresa May becoming the prime minister of UK. And of course the famous Steemit.com hack, although a better operating system wouldn't have saved me from it.

So, what makes Qubes so special? Instead of using all normal security measures, it assumes that probably someday anything might get hacked. Qubes OS is actually "mother OS" that hosts several different virtual machines in a seamless and user-friendly way. If one of the VM's gets hacked or infected, damage is limited to only that one VM and it doesn't spread to others. Qubes even lets user to have disposable VMs for everything potentially dangerous, like if you get suspicious attachments with email. You can open shady files in disposable VM and if there is a virus, it doesn't matter because the VM is destroyed when you close it.

I'm positively surprised how easy it was to install and configure Qubes. It does take a while to understand how the system actually works, but it wasn't anything too complicated. But I've been using Linux for years and I had a vague understanding how virtual machines work, which of course helped a lot. Probably somebody who has used only preinstalled Windows has to learn a little bit more stuff.

Qubes isn't the prettiest OS, but it can do it's job relatively well, which is the most important thing to me.

For users who want anonymity, Qubes comes with preinstalled Whonix virtual machine template. Just fire it up and you're ready to surf the deep web.

I'd recommend Qubes OS especially for steemians who have valuable accounts and need a secure computer to process transactions. You can make offline virtual machines for creating private keys, storing your passwords, etc. It's not the same as real offline computer, but it gets quite close. You can even set up a miner in virtual machine, which I did succesfully with Debian 8.

For a deeper review read the introduction to Qubes in Linux Journal.

This is a half hour video, but it gives you pretty good view how Qubes actually works:

Downloads, tutorials and other important stuff you can find from the official website.

And don't forget to donate bitcoins to the project if you like it. The world is full of crazy politicians and evil intelligence agencies who want to break the internet. We need projects like this to keep us safe.