Features and Advantages
Whonix ™ Features
Whonix ™ is an operating system focused on anonymity and security [archive]. It hides the user's IP address / location and uses the Tor network to anonymize data traffic. This means the contacted server, network eavesdroppers and operators of the Tor network cannot easily determine which sites are visited or the user's physical location. 
For a comprehensive comparison of Whonix ™ with other popular anonymity platforms, see here.
A number of applications are pre-installed and pre-configured with safe defaults to make them ready for use. Most popular applications are compatible with the Whonix ™ design:
- Tor Browser is included for Internet browsing.
- Instant messengers like Tox and Gajim.
- PGP-encrypted email with Mozilla Thunderbird. 
- Secure data transfer to and from a server with scp.
- Unobserved administration of servers via SSH.
- Web server administration with Apache, ngnix, IRC servers, and more via onion services.
- A host of other software programs.
The Whonix ™ design permits the "torification" of applications which are not capable of proxy support by themselves. Further, the user is not jeopardized by installing custom applications or personalizing the desktop.
Detailed documentation has been produced by developers and the Whonix ™ community. Various issues are explained in depth, including the Whonix ™ design, available software, the host of possible configurations, security and privacy considerations, and numerous advanced topics.
Anonymous Communications, Hosting and Publishing
- Based on Debian [archive] GNU/Linux.
- Based on the Tor [archive] anonymity network.
- Based on KVM.
- Based on VirtualBox.
- Based on Qubes.
- Free, Open Source, Libre, Freedom [archive] Software.
- Virtual machine images with Type I or 2 hypervisors.
Security and Anonymity Protection
- A second, extra firewall protects Whonix-Workstation ™ by default.
- Full IP/DNS protocol leak protection.
- Hide Tor and Whonix ™ use from network observers. 
- Disposable Whonix-Workstation ™ in Qubes-Whonix ™.
- VM Live Mode in Non-Qubes-Whonix ™.
- Hide installed software from network observers.
- Optional isolating proxy [archive].
- Prevents anyone from learning the user's IP address.
- Prevents anyone from learning the user's physical location.
- Private obfuscated bridges support.
- Simplification of Tor and (meek-lite) bridge connections via Anon Connection Wizard.
- Protects user privacy.
- Protocol Leak Protection and Fingerprinting Protection.
- Secure and distributed time synchronization mechanism.
- Security by isolation [archive].
- Stream Isolation to prevent identity correlation through circuit sharing.
- Transparent Proxy [archive].
- Whitelist Tor traffic with corridor.
- Kicksecure ™ Security Hardened.
- Numerous security and anonymity features [archive].
- Keystrokes can be used to track users. To prevent this, Whonix comes with kloak installed by default.
- Protect against guard discovery and related traffic analysis attacks
- Prevent de-anonymization of Tor onion services [archive] through Tirdad kernel module for random ISN generation [archive].
- Better encryption thanks to preinstalled random number generators.
- security-misc [archive] (misc security settings)
- anonymity, privacy and security settings pre-configuration [archive]
Tor Network / Torification
- Most applications can be routed over the Tor anonymity network. This is called
- Full IP/DNS protocol leak protection.
- Depends on which internet protocols the application requires to function.
- Most applications do not require any awareness of being run inside Whonix ™ for functional connectivity. This is called
transparent proxying. (See this chapter.)
- It is difficult to know which application uses which protocol. In doubt,
- Main supported protocol: TCP
.oniondomain reachablity: Yes.
- UDP: Tunnel UDP over Tor. 
- ICMP: Same as above.
- server: Hosting Location Hidden Services
.onionservices (server) support: Yes, see Onion Services.
.onionservices (server) support (for applications such as ZeroNet, OnionShare, Bisq): Yes, if an onion-grater profile was made available.
- Filesharing and Torrenting: See wiki page.
- Can torify other operating systems.
- Can torify Windows.
- Circumvents censorship.
- DNSSEC over Tor. 
- Encrypted DNS. 
- Tor enforcement.
- Vanguards protect against guard discovery. 
Tunnel and Chaining Support
- Connect to a Proxy, VPN or SSH before Tor.
- Connect to Tor before a Proxy, VPN or SSH.
- Tunnel UDP over Tor. 
- VPN / tunnel support.
Tunnel Other Anonymizing Networks
- Tunnel Freenet through Tor.
- Tunnel GNUnet through Tor.
- Tunnel I2P through Tor.
- Tunnel JonDonym through Tor.
- Tunnel ZeroNet through Tor.
Whonix ™ Advantages
Table: Primary Whonix ™ Advantages
|Whonix ™ Feature||Security and/or Anonymity Advantage|
|Build Simplicity||Building Whonix ™ from source is easy; see Build Documentation.|
|Combine Anonymizing Networks||Other anonymizing networks like Freenet, GNUnet, I2P, JonDonym and ZeroNet can be used.|
|Fully Featured||A host of Features are available.|
|Highly Configurable||Numerous optional configurations, additional features and add-ons are available.|
|Open Source||Only free software is used. |
|Private Obfuscated Bridges||Bridges can be added to the Tor configuration file.|
|Process Separation||Tor  and Tor Browser  are not running inside the same virtual machine which means an exploit in the browser cannot affect the integrity of the Tor process. |
|Protection Against IP Address / Location Discovery||Exploits using malware  with root rights inside Whonix-Workstation ™ (|
|Protection Against De-anonymization Attacks||No IP address or DNS leaks are possible. |
|Safe Hosting of Onion Services||Even if someone hacks the user's hidden server software (lighttpd, thttpd, apache, etc.), they cannot steal the onion service key.  |
|Software Flexibility||Installation of any software package is possible.    |
|Tor Data Persistence||A major Whonix ™ advantage over Live CDs is that Tor's data directory is still available after reboot due to persistent storage. Tor requires persistent storage to save its Entry Guards. |
|Tor Enforcement||All applications are automatically routed via Tor, including those which do not support proxy settings.    |
|Torify Windows||Whonix-Gateway ™ (|
|Tunnel Chaining||It is possible to combine Whonix ™ with VPNs, SSH and other proxies.  Every permutation is possible; VPNs / SSH / other proxies can be combined and used pre- and/or post-Tor tunnels.|
Whonix ™ Disadvantages
- More difficult to set up compared to the regular Tor Browser.
- Needs virtual machines or spare hardware for operation.
- Updating the operating system and applications behind the Tor proxy is slow.
- Qubes-Whonix ™ has strict hardware requirements [archive]. 
- Higher maintenance is required. 
Various tunneling permutations are possible and functional in Whonix ™. Connections can be routed through a VPN, SSH, or proxy before Tor, after Tor, or both.
Table: Whonix ™ Tunnel Options
|Tunnel Tor through a Proxy, VPN or SSH|| How to Connect to a VPN Before Tor: |
How to Connect to a Proxy Before Tor:
How to Connect to SSH Before Tor:
|Tunnel Proxy / Proxychains / SSH / VPN through Tor|| How to Connect to Tor Before a VPN: |
How to Connect to Tor Before a Proxy:
How to Connect to Tor Before SSH:
|Combine Pre- and Post-Tor Tunnels|
|Combine Tor with other Protocols||Tor can also be replaced with another anonymizing protocol. Note that only some combinations and networks will work in Whonix ™, such as I2P and JonDonym. |
For further reading on this topic, see:
- Tor vs. Proxies, Proxy Chains and VPNs
- Free VPN Tunnel Setup Examples
- Experts only: Chaining Anonymizing Gateways
Comparison of Whonix ™ with other Anonymity Platforms
Gratitude is expressed to JonDos [archive] for permission [archive] to use material from their website. (w [archive]) (w [archive])  The "Whonix ™ Features" section of this wiki page contains content sourced from the JonDonym documentation Features [archive] page.
- Without advanced, end-to-end, netflow correlation attacks which rely on statistical analysis of data volume and timing.
- Later Whonix ™ releases might not come with Thunderbird email client pre-installed; refer to this Whonix ™ Forum Thread [archive] for more details.
- Via optional configuration.
- As well as related traffic analysis attacks.
- Plugins are still not recommended, as they may decrease anonymity (for example, flash cookies) and they often have security vulnerabilities. Most popular plugins are closed source. Although deprecated, the browser plugins warnings section is still valid.
- See Security in the Real World.
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_software [archive]
- https://www.torproject.org [archive]
- https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en [archive]
- Vidalia is now deprecated; arm is installed as the alternative.
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malware [archive]
- If Whonix-Workstation ™ (
anon-whonix) is rooted, the adversary cannot find out the user's real IP address / location. The reason is Whonix-Workstation ™ (
anon-whonix) can only connect through the Whonix-Gateway ™ (
sys-whonix). More skill is required to compromise Whonix ™, see Attack Comparison Matrix and Design.
- Whonix ™ does not automatically protect against other possible leaks like username, time zone and so on. Users should read the Documentation to learn how to mitigate these threats. Additionally, Whonix ™ Protocol-Leak-Protection and Fingerprinting-Protection mitigates many possible fingerprinting attacks by using common, non-identifying defaults. For example, the username is set to user, the timezone is set to UTC etc.
- The key is stored on the Whonix-Gateway ™ (
sys-whonix). Once a clean Whonix-Workstation ™ (
anon-whonix) is used, no one can impersonate the onion service anymore.
- The Whonix-Workstation ™ (
anon-whonix) is where the browser, IRC client and other user applications are run. The Whonix-Gateway ™ (
sys-whonix) is where Tor and the firewall are run.
- The program must be able to run on Debian GNU/Linux or Other Operating Systems which are used. See also Software installation on Whonix-Workstation ™ (
anon-whonix) for further details.
- ICMP, ping, VoIP calls over UDP and so on.
- Skype works over TCP, but it is not recommended because it is proprietary, closed source software and there is no control over the encryption keys. Skype authorities can compromise a user at any moment. A secure encryption / authentication design looks different. For example GPG and OTR are secure, because the user has control over the keys, not the server. See VoIP Skype section for further details.
- Tunnel UDP over Tor
- https://www.torproject.org/docs/faq.html.en#EntryGuards [archive]
- For application warnings, see Documentation.
- UDP is not natively supported by Tor and will therefore also not work in Whonix ™ (unless a VPN is used).
- Services that need to listen on publicly reachable ports (open / forwarded ports) are also not supported. However, users may run Onion Services which are reachable via Tor or tor2web (care is required [archive]).
- UDP is not supported by Tor [archive]
- See Other Operating Systems.
- Users should read the Tor plus VPN/proxies Warning [archive] before proceeding.
- Particularly for Qubes R4 and later releases.
- Users need to maintain and update three OSs instead of one. Also, several passwords must be remembered, except for Qubes-Whonix ™ which has a password-less root feature [archive].
- This work is partially complete, but features will remain unfinished for the foreseeable future.
- Broken link: https://anonymous-proxy-servers.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=31220#p31220 [archive]
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 - 2020 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?)