Computer Security Introduction
Whonix ™ comes with many security features [archive]. Whonix ™ is Kicksecure ™ security hardened by default and also provides extensive Documentation including a System Hardening Checklist. The more you know, the safer you can be.
This page is an introduction into computer security.
With its default settings, Whonix ™ may provide better protection than Tor alone. Achieving greater security depends on how much time the user is willing to invest in Whonix ™ configuration. Security also rests upon the daily practices and procedures that have been adopted by the user, see Documentation.
If the user does not possess at least two copies of the original data, then it should be considered lost. The reason is data on one medium might become inaccessible and beyond repair at any minute. In this case, the computer would not even detect the risk, so data recovery tools would not be of help either. 
Best practice recommendations:
- Store the original, encrypted file on a medium like the internal hard drive.
- Create a first encrypted backup: for example, on an external hard drive from manufacturer A.
- Create a second encrypted backup: for example, on an external hard drive from manufacturer B.
For greater security and to protect from incidents like fire or theft, backups in separate physical locations are recommended. Additionally, backups can be stored on remote servers, but the user must be sure it is encrypted properly. 
If Whonix ™ is already installed, before a Whonix ™ upgrade is performed on the current platform it is best to shutdown any running virtual machine (VM) instances, particularly if they are attached to the internal virtual network ("Whonix" or
- Non-Qubes-Whonix ™: If running VM instances are not shutdown, there is a cross-contamination risk for new machines being imported into the virtualizer. For example, this is possible if a powerful adversary has taken control over those VMs currently in use. This action is not required if the user intends to create a new virtual network for the machines being imported.
- Qubes-Whonix ™: Before upgrading Whonix ™ TemplateVMs, close as many open VMs as possible. Do not run VMs from different domains at the same time as upgrading.
Refer to the Non-Whonix ™ Tor Browser chapter for TBB installation instructions on all platforms. TBB is useful to test whether or not:
- The user lives in a censored area.
- Tor is blocked by the Internet Service Provider (ISP).
- (Private) (obfuscated) bridges will be needed for operation of Tor Browser in Whonix ™, see Bridges.
If TBB fails to properly connect to Tor on the host OS or from a non-Whonix ™ AppVM in Qubes, then Whonix ™ will similarly fail to work. Another benefit of installing TBB in this fashion is that if Tor Browser unexpectedly stops running in Whonix ™, then Tor Browser can still be independently used to visit the Whonix ™ website for a solution to this issue.
For better security and privacy, users should read and follow the advice in the Tor Browser chapter.
Greater Security and Next Steps
After reading and applying relevant steps outlined in this section:
- Qubes-Whonix ™: Follow the stable Qubes-Whonix ™ instructions.
In all cases, users should follow the Post-installation Security Advice.
For greater security pre- and post-Whonix ™ installation, users should read the Documentation pages widely to learn more about potential threats and mitigations. For instance, users might like to consult the Design pages, and consider the recommendations outlined in the Basic Security Guide and Advanced Security Guide sections. Users with limited time can refer to the System Hardening Checklist.
- In such cases the user might get lucky with professional data recovery companies, but the usual cost is a few thousand dollars.
- That is, with a recommended encryption method and a suitably long passphrase.
This is a wiki. Want to improve this page? Help is welcome and volunteer contributions are happily considered! Read, understand and agree to Conditions for Contributions to Whonix ™, then Edit! Edits are held for moderation. Policy of Whonix Website and Whonix Chat and Policy On Nonfreedom Software applies.
Copyright (C) 2012 - 2021 ENCRYPTED SUPPORT LP. Whonix ™ is a trademark. Whonix ™ is a licensee [archive] of the Open Invention Network [archive]. Unless otherwise noted, the content of this page is copyrighted and licensed under the same Freedom Software license as Whonix ™ itself. (Why?)
The personal opinions of moderators or contributors to the Whonix ™ project do not represent the project as a whole.