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Boot Clock Randomization

From Whonix


Randomizationclock321423.jpg

Introduction[edit]

The TimeSync page notes:

Using Boot Clock Randomization, i.e. after boot, the clock is set randomly between 0 and 180 seconds into the past or future. This is useful to enforce the design goal, that the host clock and Whonix-Workstation ™ clock should always slightly differ. It is also useful to obfuscate the clock when sdwdate itself is running, because naturally at this time, sdwdate hasn't finished. sdwdate runs after booting.

By randomly moving the system clock a few seconds (and nanseconds) in the past or future during boot, this enforces the design goal of a slightly different host clock and Gateway/Workstation clock, even before secure timesync has succeeded. This prevents time-based fingerprinting and linkability issues, thereby improving anonymity and privacy. [1]

For technical discussion on the Boot Clock Randomization design, see here [archive]. [2]

Log Inspection[edit]

sudo journalctl -b --no-pager -u bootclockrandomization

Disable[edit]

Usually not required. Discouraged. Might be useful for offline (vault) VMs.

Run the following command. Note:

  • Qubes-Whonix: Use a StandaloneVM or separate template and do in TemplateVM.
  • Non-Qubes-Whonix: No extra steps required.

sudo systemctl mask bootclockrandomization

No Boot Clock Randomization will happen after reboot.

See Also[edit]

  • For an overview of the time synchronization mechanism in Whonix ™, see here.
  • sdwdate

Footnotes[edit]

  1. https://github.com/Whonix/bootclockrandomization [archive]
  2. Notably, one recent change is the 0-5 second time window is no longer excluded in the process, as it was found to aid fingerprinting.


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