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Post-installation Security Advice

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Introduction[edit]

Whonix ™ comes with many security features [archive]. Whonix ™ is Kicksecure ™ Security Hardened by default and also provides extensive Documentation including a Security Hardening Checklist. The more you know, the safer you can be.

This page provides security advice, including steps that can be applied after installation of Whonix ™ for better security.

On Whonix-Gateway ™ and Whonix-Workstation ™[edit]

Increase Virtual Machine RAM[edit]

Whonix ™ default password info box Qubes-Whonix ™ users can skip this section. [1]

  • Whonix-Workstation ™: No changes are required for most users.
  • Whonix-Gateway ™: If you have enough RAM on the host, ideally the virtual RAM setting of Whonix-Gateway ™ should be increased to 2048 MB RAM. [2]
    • If it is infeasible to increase the virtual RAM setting, this is okay too. [3]

If it is unknown how much RAM is available, follow these steps on the host: [4] [5] [6]

  • Windows 10:
    • Task Manager in More details viewClick/tap on the Performance tabClick/tap on Memory; or
    • Open a command promptRun wmic MemoryChip get /format:list
  • macOS: Apple menuAbout This Mac
  • Linux: Open a terminalRun free -h [7]

Related:

VirtualBox[edit]

  1. To add RAM in VirtualBox the VM must first be powered down.
  2. Virtual machineMenuSettingsAdjust Memory sliderHit: OK

KVM[edit]

1. Shutdown the virtual machine(s).

virsh -c qemu:///system shutdown <vm_name>

2. Increase the maximum memory.

virsh setmaxmem <vm_name> <memsize> --config

3. Set the actual memory.

virsh setmem <vm_name> <memsize> --config

4. Restart the virtual machine(s).

virsh -c qemu:///system start <vm_name>

Change Keyboard Layout[edit]

Whonix ™Change Keyboard Layout info box Qubes-Whonix ™ users can skip this section. [8]

If you are using a keyboard layout other than qwerty (US), you might want to change your keyboard layout. Refer to the dedicated Keyboard Layout article on how to do that.

Test Keyboard Layout[edit]

Whonix ™Test Keyboard Layout info box Qubes-Whonix ™ users can skip this section. </ref>

Start menuAccessoriesMousepad

Or...

Open ~/testfile in an editor as a regular, non-root user.

If you are using a graphical environment, run.

mousepad ~/testfile

If you are using a terminal, run.

nano ~/testfile

Try typing the words user, changeme and qwerty. Trying typing some more to make sure you are using the desired keyboard layout.

Change Passwords[edit]

Whonix ™ default password info box Qubes-Whonix ™ users can skip this section. [9] [10]

After Whonix ™ has finished installing, immediately change the passwords for both the user user and user root accounts.

1. Make sure you did Change Keyboard Layout and Test Keyboard Layout before you proceed. Otherwise you might run into issues proceeding further.

2. Open a terminal (such as Xfce Terminal Emulator).

Start menuApplicationsSystemTerminal

3. Run a test command as root by using sudo.

Run. [11]

sudo systemd-detect-virt

4. Read the note below regarding the username and password.

Whonix / Kicksecure default admin password is: changeme default username: user
default password: changeme

When typing the password it will not appear on the screen, nor will the asterisk sign (*) be visible. It is necessary to type blindly and trust the procedure.

5. Change the root password.

To change the root (superuser / administrator) password, run. [11]

sudo passwd root

And follow the instructions.

6. Change the user password.

To change the user (Whonix ™ default user) password, run. [11]

sudo passwd user

7. Done.

The procedure of changing passwords is complete.

When having issues gaining root consider using dsudo.

Another option is to boot into recovery mode and change passwords there.

Security Updates[edit]

Regularly check for security updates and apply them in a timely fashion; see Operating System Updates.

Network Time Syncing[edit]

Warnings[edit]

Follow the platform-specific recommendations below to avoid Tor connectivity problems and to limit possible adverse anonymity impacts.

All Platforms[edit]

To protect against time zone leaks, the system clock inside Whonix ™ is set to UTC. This means it may be a few hours before or ahead of your host system clock. Do not change this setting!

If the host clock (in UTC! [12] [13]) is more than 1 hour in the past or more than 3 hours in the future, Tor cannot connect. In this case, manually fix the host clock by right-clicking on it, and also check for an empty battery. Then, power off and power on the Whonix-Gateway ™ (sys-whonix) and Tor should be able to reconnect. If the host clock is grossly inaccurate, the user might experience problems when updating the host operating system, so periodically check it is (roughly) correct.

Easy instructions[edit]

Non-Qubes-Whonix: It is strongly discouraged to use the pause / suspend / save / hibernate features.

Qubes-Whonix ™: It is strongly discouraged to use the pause feature of Qube Manager, but it is is safe to use the suspend or hibernate feature of dom0.

Advanced instructions[edit]

If you are interested in using the pause / suspend / save / hibernate features, please click the expand button for further instructions.

Non-Qubes-Whonix:

  • It is strongly discouraged to pause / suspend / save / hibernate the Whonix-Gateway ™, because it is difficult to restore the clock after resume. [14]
  • It is strongly discouraged to pause / suspend / save / hibernate the Whonix-Workstation ™. If this advice is ignored, restart sdwdate after resume.

Qubes-Whonix ™:

  • It is strongly discouraged to pause Whonix-Gateway ™ (sys-whonix) using the pause feature of Qube Manager, because it is difficult to restore the clock after resume. [14]
  • It is strongly discouraged to pause Whonix-Workstation ™ (anon-whonix) using the pause feature of Qube Manager. If this advice is ignored, restart sdwdate after resume. [15]
  • It is safe to use the suspend or hibernate feature of dom0 and a manual restart of sdwdate is unnecessary. [16]

Restart sdwdate[edit]

To restart sdwdate.

Start MenuApplicationsSystemTime Synchronization Monitor (sdwdate-gui)restart sdwdate

Or in a terminal. [17]

sudo /usr/lib/sdwdate/restart_fresh

Manually Set Clock Time and Date[edit]

Usually not required. See Troubleshooting, Clock Fix.

Better Security[edit]

This chapter is aimed at newcomers and only provides a short and simple overview for basic protection. Anonymity and platform security can be improved by following recommendations outlined in the Security Guide and Advanced Security Guide sections, along with the Network Time Synchronization page.

Appendix[edit]

How do I Check the Current Whonix ™ Version?[edit]

See /etc/whonix_version.

Whonix-Gateway ™[edit]

Open a terminal.

If you are using Qubes-Whonix ™, complete the following steps.

Qubes App Launcher (blue/grey "Q")Whonix-Gateway ™ ProxyVM (commonly named sys-whonix)Xfce Terminal

If you are using a graphical Whonix with XFCE, run.

Start MenuXfce Terminal

cat /etc/whonix_version

Should show.

15

Whonix-Workstation ™[edit]

Open a terminal.

If you are using Qubes-Whonix ™, complete the following steps.

Qubes App Launcher (blue/grey "Q")Whonix-Workstation ™ AppVM (commonly named anon-whonix)Xfce Terminal

If you are using a graphical Whonix with XFCE, run.

Start MenuXfce Terminal

cat /etc/whonix_version

Should show.

15

Footnotes[edit]

  1. Qubes has dynamic RAM assignment.
  2. This provides higher performance during upgrades and lowers the likelihood of issues [archive].
  3. Although non-ideal, swap-file-creator [archive] will create an encrypted swap file and the system is configured to swap as little as possible [archive].
  4. https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/66809-determine-system-memory-size-speed-type-windows-10-a.html [archive]
  5. https://vitux.com/how-to-check-installed-ram-on-debian/ [archive]
  6. https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201191 [archive]
  7. This command works in Red Hat, CentOS, Suse, Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian and other distributions. Alternative commands include: cat /proc/meminfo |grep MemTotal, top, and vmstat -s.
  8. By default, Qubes VMs use the same keyboard layout as Qubes dom0.
  9. By default, Qubes does not require a password for superuser access.
  10. https://www.qubes-os.org/doc/vm-sudo/ [archive]
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Type the command in the terminal and press <Enter>.
  12. To view the system time in UTC on Linux platforms, run.
    date --utc

  13. TODO: Show desktop clock in local time; keep system in UTC [archive]
  14. 14.0 14.1 This is because the clock will be incorrect after system resume. A correct clock is important for anonymity (see Dev/TimeSync to learn more).
  15. Qubes does not dispatch the /etc/qubes/suspend-post.d / /etc/qubes/suspend-pre.d hooks upon pause / resume using Qube Manager.
  16. https://github.com/QubesOS/qubes-issues/issues/1764 [archive]
  17. This process was simplified in Whonix ™ 15 and only requires one command, instead of two, see: https://github.com/Whonix/sdwdate/blob/master/usr/lib/sdwdate/restart_fresh [archive]


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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?)

Whonix ™ is a derivative of and not affiliated with Debian [archive]. Debian is a registered trademark [archive] owned by Software in the Public Interest, Inc [archive].

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