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Comparison of different Whonix variants

Comparison of different Whonix variants[edit]

Related to Virtualization or Hardware[edit]

Name Number of systems Security Usability
Standard Download version host+VM+VM=3 Basic. Easily redistributable and installable.
Physical Isolation with bare metal Gateway host+VM+host=3 Stronger than Standard Download version. Difficult to install, advanced users only.
Physical Isolation with virtualized Gateway host+VM+host+VM=4 Higher attack surface. Easier to deploy. Four operating systems must be kept updated.
Physical Isolation without any virtualization host+host=2 Basically same as standard Physical Isolation.; [1] Smaller attack surface because:
  • not using Virtual Machines.
  • No protection against hardware fingerprinting.
Difficult to install, advanced users only.
Qubes dom0+VM+VM=3 Better compartmentalization. See Why use Qubes over other Virtualizers? Best.

Virtual machines can provide following security related features:

  • Network isolation (connections can easily be forced through tor)
  • Hardware isolation (hide unique hardware serials)
  • Roll back feature
  • Cheap and simple multi-level security through running multiple clones/VMs

Live CDs offer:

  • Non-persistence in case of software compromises
  • Anti-Forensics and deniability (no encryption keys to disclose, if it is powered down and RAM is wiped/faded everything is "gone")
  • But: difficult to roll out security updates

Related to Operating System[edit]

Multiple options for operating system.

Security Comparison: Whonix-Download-Workstation vs. Whonix-Custom-Workstation[edit]

See Security Comparison: Whonix-Download-Workstation vs. Whonix-Custom-Workstation.

Unless otherwise stated, the documentation and design is about the Default-Download-Version.


  1. See forum topic More or Less Protection inside a VM? for some more discussion.

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