[Release] Whonix-Installer and UI

Disclaimer: Please remember that Windows is NOT a secure host operating system for a variety of reasons. This Installer was mainly created to make it easy for people to experience Whonix first hand without the requirement of installing an entirely new OS. Under no circumstances, use Windows for sensitive work.

 

After almost a year of active development, we are releasing the Whonix-Installer which will provide a simple and familiar way for Windows users to gain access to Whonix and its massive capabilities as well as toolset.

Currently, the Whonix-Installer for Windows is based on nsisbi, a fork of the often used “Nullsoft Scriptable Install System”, which was required to circumvent the general size limit of 2Gb usually enforced by “NSIS”. Even with that though, a bit of additional modification was required to include all the files required for Whonix into one simple to use “.exe file”. That’s why for the foreseeable future, a disk-space of 8Gb is required during installation, as the Gateway and Workstation required additional compression, since even “nsisbi” has a single file size limit of 4Gb. Thus, during installation, both Gateway and Workstation take temporarily double the disk space, during the decompression process.

Adding to this however, the Whonix-Installer can be used regardless of whether you’ve installed VirtualBox previously or not. Any older virtual machines should be unmodified by using the Whonix-Installer.

Furthermore, a small, simple user interface, named “Whonix-UI” or alternatively “Whonix for Windows”/”Whonix.exe” has been created to make starting and terminating of both the Gateway and Workstation as simple as possible. It is still very much in the early stages of its development, which is part of the reason for its rather basic appearance though functionally works as intended. By pressing the “Start Whonix Button”, both the Gateway and Workstation are launched and by pressing the “Stop Whonix Button” they are terminated. While Whonix is being used, the window prevents itself from being closed, as to prevent issues.

If you’d like to try the UI with your existing installation of Whonix, you may simply drag-and-drop it into the folder in which you’ve installed VirtualBox.

Download Links:

The Whonix-Installer may be downloaded from here:
https://www.whonix.org/wiki/Windows

The Whonix-UI can be found separately here:
https://github.com/EgoBits1/Whonix-Windows-UI

Posted in Testers wanted!, Whonix Development News Tagged with: , , ,

Whonix featured on Tor blog

https://blog.torproject.org/blog/tor-heart-whonix

Posted in Whonix Misc News

Whonix 13.0.0.1.4 stable upgrade released!

Qubes-Whonix:

Either start with fresh templates. I.e. uninstall qubes-template-whonix-gw and qubes-template-whonix-ws. Then, to install, run in dom0:

sudo qubes-dom0-update --enablerepo=qubes-tempates-community qubes-template-whonix-gw qubes-template-whonix-ws

Or you can also upgrade from Whonix’s repository. Please refer to the following instructions:
https://www.whonix.org/wiki/Qubes/Update


Non-Qubes-Whonix:

https://www.whonix.org/wiki/Download

Or you can also upgrade from Whonix’s repository. Please refer to the following instructions:
https://www.whonix.org/wiki/Update


major Whonix 13 -> 13.0.0.1.4 changes:

Posted in Whonix Important News

How to upgrade Debian, Whonix, etc. without being compromised by CVE-2016-1252

See:
https://www.whonix.org/wiki/CVE-2016-1252

Posted in Whonix Important News

Qubes-Whonix DisposableVM documentation created

Before we had just a stub. Now Qubes-Whonix DisposableVMs are fully documented thanks to contributions by the community. (wiki history)

What are DisposableVMs?

Under the Qubes TemplateVM model, any changes made to a TemplateBasedVM’s root filesystem are lost upon reboot. This is advantageous for several reasons: it allows centralized (and therefore faster) updates for all applications (most) inside the root filesystem, saves time and disk space.

However, certain directories are designed to persist between reboots in order to store files and settings. These directories are stored in /rw/ and include /home/user as well as additional directories defined by “bind directory” settings.

To ensure that all changes to the filesystem are discarded after a session, Qubes offers DisposableVMs. When a DisposableVM is shutdown, the VM is removed from Qubes and all related VM images are deleted from the host filesystem.

What is a Whonix-Workstation DisposableVM?

As the name suggests, this is a Qubes DisposableVM template based on the Whonix-Workstation. This allows Qubes-Whonix users to create throw-away instances of their Whonix-Workstation.

Why Should I Consider Using a Whonix-Workstation DisposableVM?

Whonix-Workstation DisposableVMs:

  • Are quickly generated;
  • Are disposed of (deleted) when the user has finished browsing and other activities in a single session; and
  • Will not remember any of the user’s activities across DisposableVM sessions, unless customized.

The major benefit of this approach is that the Whonix-Workstation DisposableVM can be created in order to host a single application – usually the Tor Browser – mitigating the risk that a compromise of the browser will affect any of your other VMs.

Critically, a Tor Browser exploit will not affect (poison) later instances of the Tor Browser running in a subsequent DisposableVM session, because the DisposableVM is always started in its original state.

Can I Customize Whonix-Workstation DisposableVMs?

Yes. For advanced users, the instructions include steps to create a customized savefile that will remember specific changes, such as personalized Tor Browser settings. Due to concerns over possible fingerprinting issues, users should carefully read the wiki warnings before proceeding on this course of action.

Can I Easily Add DisposableVM Entries to the Qubes Menu?

Not yet for Qubes R3.2 XFCE 4, but you can edit existing DispVM start menu entries and desktop shortcuts can be created.

What Else Should I Know?

Due to a few usability issues affecting anonymity, do not use Whonix-Workstation DisposableVMs until:

  • You understand Whonix-WS DispoableVMs are NOT yet amnesic; and
  • Have carefully read and understood the available Qubes-Whonix DisposableVM documentation.

Alternatively, you may wish to wait for Qubes 4.0 before you start using Qubes DisposableVMs, due to significant enhancements planned for the later release.

Credits:
This blog post was written by torjunkie.

Posted in Qubes-Whonix News, Whonix Wiki Updates

don’t apt-get dist-upgrade for now – wait for workaround – CVE-2016-1252

Update, see:

* https://www.whonix.org/wiki/CVE-2016-1252
* https://forums.whonix.org/t/how-to-upgrade-debian-whonix-etc-without-being-compromised-by-cve-2016-1252

Short: Don’t ‘apt-get dist-upgrade’ for now until a workaround was published

We are currently discussing this Debian apt-get security issue.

This blog post will later be updated. Another security advisory blog post will be published later.

Posted in Whonix Important News

Testers Wanted! Tor – Stable Upgrades

Tor was updated to 0.2.8.10 in Whonix stable-proposed-updates as well as in testers repository.

Instructions for changing Whonix repository:
https://www.whonix.org/wiki/Whonix-APT-Repository

Then just do a update:
https://www.whonix.org/wiki/Update

Posted in Uncategorized

accessibility tools could be automatically removed / you probably should remove them

If you do not use any accessibility tools (gnome-orca, espeakup, console-braille, florence, dasher, kdeaccessibility, kvkbd, kmousetool, kmag, kmouth, jovie, xbrlapi, festival, qt-at-sp), you will not miss anything. (You would probably know if you are using them.)

Soon, there will be a Whonix stable upgrade. The package whonix-gateway-shared-packages-shared-meta will no longer depend on anon-shared-kde-accessibility. This means, when you run `sudo apt-get purge kdeaccessibility && sudo apt-get autoremove` after the upgrade, these accessibility packages will be automatically removed.

Non-Qubes-Whonix only: brltty should be removed, since it currently is causing a performance issue.

Otherwise if you just want to remove brltty, use `sudo apt-get purge brltty`. If you want to keep almost all or only not those you manually uninstalled, you can use `sudo aptitude keep-all`.

If you want these installed, you are still very much free to have them installed. Just install them the usual way.

This is because those have some issues.

Can these packages also be uninstalled before the Whonix stable upgrade? – Due to technical limitations, this is not that easy. However, it is documented here:
https://www.whonix.org/wiki/Whonix_Debian_Packages

Non-Qubes-Whonix only: If you just want to stop the brltty syslog spam, you could use the following workaround to reliably stop it.

sudo systemctl stop brltty
sudo systemctl mask brltty

Posted in Whonix Important News

riseup.net likely compromised

riseup.net is a popular service provider among privacy and activist circles tweeted an obscure reference about birds which likely refers to their warrant canary that hasn’t been renewed since August.

I have looked through their whole twitter media history and they never posted pictures of birds with quotes difficult to interpret.

What is a canary? Quote:

A mechanism to test for unsafe conditions, originating from the use of canaries in coal mines to detect poisonous gases or cave-ins. If the canary died, it was time to get out of the mine. More recently, the term has been used by some online service providers to refer to an affirmative statement, updated regularly, that the provider has not been subjected to certain legal processes. If the statement is not updated in a timely fashion, users may infer that the canary statement may no longer be true.

This was followed by a confusing update which could be read as reassurance. Also it could be interpreted as being threatened with incarceration and being forced to keep the site up and a reminder to archive stuff immediately because of impending shutdown.

Compared with past similar concerns where riseup staff were prompt and direct about renewing their canary. No clear response was given so its logical to conclude that the servers may not be under their control any longer.

Why it matters?

While the threats of using a conventional email providers are well understood and apply regardless of who operates the service, taking over a server gives surveillance the power to actively compromise users machines en mass or to target select individuals.

For alternatives, see our wiki page about e-mail.

Posted in Uncategorized

Tor / whonixcheck Stable Upgrades – Testers Wanted!

Tor was updated to 0.2.8.9-1~d80.jessie+1 and whonixcheck was updated to 3:4.6.4-1 in Whonix stable-proposed-updates as well as in testers repository.

Instructions for chaneing Whonix repository:
https://www.whonix.org/wiki/Whonix-APT-Repository

Then just do a update:
https://www.whonix.org/wiki/Update

Posted in Testers wanted!