Security Reviews and Feedback
This is a list of notable reviews and feedback about Whonix security.
- corelight Bright Ideas Blog: Profiling Whonix
- Not an audit of Whonix but an audit of software which is based on Whonix:
- ”SecureDrop  Journalist Workstation environment for submission handling is based on Qubes-Whonix.”
- Third party audit of integrated SecureDrop Workstation completed
- Cursory check of TorBOX by the creator of JanusVM (TorBOX was later renamed to Whonix)
- Quote rustybird, author of corridor, a Tor traffic whitelisting gateway:
Happy to report no leaks observed, ever.
There are a few older threads on the Tor Talk Mailing List concerning the security of Whonix / transparent proxy:
- tor-talk: Operating system updates / software installation behind Tor Transparent Proxy
- tor-talk: Obtain real IP behind Tor transparent proxy; was: Operating system updates / software installation behind Tor Transparent Proxy
- tor-talk: Risk with transparent proxy mode (was Re:Operating system updates / software installation behind Tor Transparent Proxy) - In summary,
coderman(developer of TorVM / JanusVM) had some concerns, which could be dispelled. "Looks fine from a cursory check."
This section is for older, general Whonix discussion references. It is useful to capture people's thoughts and feedback concerning the project, even if feedback is secondhand and not provided directly. Most links are found by searching for "TorBOX".
- Whonix on wilderssecurity.com; a few threads exist
- ra's blog; negative feedback - search for "TorBOX that they have"
- LulzSec / AntiSecOp: Want to be a ghost on the internet?; Whonix (TorBOX) is a part of their instructions
Early TorBOX and Whonix Releases
- reddit: torbox critical issue help; this only applied to
0.1.3. A workaround was provided and a fix was announced and available from
- October 2012 - Whonix 0.4.5 release announcement
- tor-talk Mailing List: Whonix ALPHA 0.4.5 - Anonymous Operating System released; in summary, no answers were provided
- on debian-derivatives Mailing list: Whonix ALPHA 0.4.5 - Anonymous Operating System released; in summary it was mentioned that if VirtualBox is exploited, it is game over. This is true and already mentioned in the attack matrix
October 2012 - Discussions:
- Wilders Security Forum: Anonymous operating system Whonix; in summary, only questions were asked and no concerns raised
- Qubes OS Mailing List: qubes vs Whonix virtualization solution; in summary, Qubes OS is deemed safer than VirtualBox. Other than that point, no complaints were raised
- Qubes OS Mailing List: Whonix: VirtualBox vs Qubes OS; in summary, it was agreed that Qubes OS is safer than VirtualBox
Whonix has not been subject to a formal audit, but that has little significance. At the time of writing, other privacy/anonymity-focused distributions like TAILS and Liberté Linux have not been audited either. Even major operating systems such as Debian, Ubuntu and Qubes OS have not had public, published audits to date.
We are unaware of any serious research concerning the above distributions in Free Haven's Selected Papers in Anonymity. Further, no experts such as Bruce Schneier for cryptography exist for a security-focused operating system review.
Even the usefulness of any published audit must be considered. Audits of software and operating system platforms are necessarily carefully defined and limited in scope due to the size of the undertaking. There are no all-encompassing audits that thoroughly examine or evaluate every possible aspect of security.
To explore this issue in further detail, consider the GNU
wget computer program that retrieves content from webservers. Has
wget ever been audited? Even if it has, what did the audit entail -- a professional company, providing software security audits as a service or some kind of certification? At present no such entities exist to provide this service in the Freedom Software Open Source ecosystem, meaning there are no quality seals for Linux distributions.
If the reader is aware of any such examples, please get in contact or edit this section. Also consider whether it is reasonable to expect a reputable organization or individual to make statements like: "GNU
wget has been audited and no security vulnerabilities were found". In reality it usually happens the other way around; when someone reviews the source code and finds nothing wrong, nothing is reported. On the other hand, if a vulnerability is found that is worth some fame. In essence, anyone who claims beforehand to have found no security issues does not receive a boost to their reputation, but in fact risks looking bad if problems are discovered later on due to their previous statements about nil security issues.
Anybody undertaking an audit of Whonix is kindly asked to edit this section or get in contact so the outcome can be linked here.
- Whonix Protection against Real World Attacks
- Whonix Media Mentions
- Leak Tests
- Certification and Audits
- System Audit
SecureDrop is an open source whistleblower submission system that media organizations and NGOs can install to securely accept documents from anonymous sources. It was originally created by the late Aaron Swartz and is now managed by Freedom of the Press Foundation. SecureDrop is available in 20 languages.