Ubuntu Privacy Remix – Modified Live-CD based on Ubuntu Linux

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Ubuntu Privacy Remix is a modified Live-CD based on Ubuntu Linux. UPR is not intended for permanent installation on hard disk. The goal of Ubuntu Privacy Remix is to provide an isolated, working environment where private data can be dealt with safely. The system installed on the computer running UPR remains untouched.

The risk of theft of such private data arises not only from "conventional" criminals, trojans. rootkits, keyloggers etc. In many countries, measures are taken or being prepared aiming at spying and monitoring its citizens. Ubuntu Privacy Remix is a tool to protect your data against unsolicited access.

Functions and features of Ubuntu Privacy Remix

Check here for Functions and features of Ubuntu Privacy Remix
Security is a system
These few examples show that security means the security of the whole working environment, and that security can never be provided by one program alone. Editing, de- and encryption of sensitive data should therefore be done with a system that

  • never has or had contact to untrustworthy networks like the internet
  • cannot leave data unencrypted on the hard drive, not even unnoticed or by accident
  • offers no opportunity to spyware to permanently install onto the system

Ubuntu Privacy Remix -- based on Ubuntu 8.04 -- tries to create such a working environment on any PC with the following measures:

  • the system resides on a read-only CD, i.e. it is in the original state after every reboot and cannot be modified afterwards. Spyware and other mailicious software cannot be installed permanently.
  • The system completely ignores any potentially compromised local (S-)ATA hard disks. Neither can they be used by malicious software to save ‘stolen' data from UPR, nor could malicious software be loaded from hard disk into UPR
  • The system kernel is modified so that it cannot activate any network hardware. UPR therefore is an isolated system where it is impossible to exchange data via LAN/WLAN/Bleutooth/Infrared etc.
  • The system is based on free software which can be verified in source code.
  • To ease working with a non-modifiable system, UPR introduces "extended TrueCrypt-Volumes", which can store program configuration like GnuPG settings, OpenOffice dictionaries etc. permanently and securely within an encrypted volume. These settings are automatically made available after opening such an "extended TrueCrypt-Volume". This method is only an optional alternative to using standard TrueCrypt volumes.

Ubuntu Privacy Remix therefore has two levels of security:

  • By being non-modifiable, it is impossible to permanently install malicious software, neither by network nor by local hard disks.
  • Even if it were possible for malicious software to load into memory (e.g. carried in and executed from removable media), there is no possibility to save or send captured data anywhere outside.

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5 thoughts on “Ubuntu Privacy Remix – Modified Live-CD based on Ubuntu Linux

  1. I like the idea of this, but the lack of network would limit how useful it would be to me. I understand why it’s been done though and it looks like a great project.

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  2. Maybe I’m just being obtuse, but could someone explain what this would be useful for? It has no network connectivity so it can’t be used as a firewall/router configuration, nor could it be used as a safe surfing platform. It has no permanent storage so it can’t be used to type documents or otherwise create files. It can’t mount the local drives so it can’t be used as a rescue disk. I just don’t understand. Anyone care to enlighten me please?

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  3. “The base idea is to relocate working with private data into a secure working environment, strictly apart from everything else you do with your computer (surf the web, chat, games, …).” – That’s why you don’t have any Network.

    You do have permanent storage – nearly any kind of (encrypted) removable media can be used.

    This system is *not* for use as a firewall, surfing-machine, rescue-disk ……

    It is a high security desktop system for office purposes and secure de-/encryption.

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  4. That’ll teach me to post when I’m tired. I understood that it wouldn’t mount (S)ATA drives *at all*. I missed that it would if it was a TrueCrypt volume. That makes a lot more sense. Thanks to both of you for the information!

    [Reply]

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