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Author Topic: Debian Tails OS question  (Read 6686 times)

bit

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Debian Tails OS question
« on: May 20, 2014, 11:24:39 PM »
I had been watching a 50-part Japanese historic video drama series at www.drama.net without a problem.
Then today, clicking on the next episode, as the web page came up in Firefox, it was blocked by anti-malware warnings that the actual feed was a known 'attack page'.
Out of curiosity, I tried the same thing in Chrome, which independently gave me very much the same warning.
Just for safety's sake, I ran Adwcleaner, JRT.ext (Junkware Removal Tool), Malwarebytes, and Hitman Pro scans and turned up clean.

My question is; what if I was to insert my Debian Tails OS disk and boot from that, and then try to watch the video drama on the 'attack page' with that.
That is, assuming that Debian Tails will enable me to even see the videos.

I seem to recall glib reassurances that it is supposed to be safe to run without any AV protection at all using something like Debian Tails; which actually sounds a bit suicidal.

Would I be endangering my computer by doing this?
At the moment, my default answer to my own question is 'Don't try it' as too risky.
If nothing else, what if something infected my mobo with a root kit or something?

Anyways, I'll be searching around for a different source of the drama series, which is known as 'Fuurin Kazan'.
Hope to hear back from someone.
And BTW, would any other bootable OS be more advisable instead of Debian Tails?
Or should I update my copy that is several months old?

Or what about using the basic TOR Vidalia Firefox browser (which BTW never allows me to watch any videos at all on its browser).

Thanks in advance for any advice.

bit

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Re: Debian Tails OS question
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2014, 11:47:11 PM »
Okay, I already found a clean source of 'Fuurin Kazan' at www.epdrama.com that doesn't provoke any malware warnings.
It's also on youtube, but Ep 21 was goofed up and ran the 'Pt 1' (of 4 parts) 3 times in a row and was missing parts 2 through 4, so epdrama seems best.
But I would still be curious about if it's safe to use disk-bootable Debian Tails without any AV protection, or any other comments about it please.

Edvard

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Re: Debian Tails OS question
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2014, 12:40:34 AM »
A 'Live' Linux disk will do no harm at all, as long as you don't do anything that exposes personal info (like check your email through a browser interface) or mount any of the hard disks on the computer.  Once you take the CD out of the computer, it's all gone without a trace, so should be perfectly safe.  

As far as Linux (or most other Unix-like "alternative" OSs besides Apple's), experience has shown them generally safer than other OSs, as far as viruses go (and I won't go into the myriad reasons and arguments behind that claim, thankyouverymuch); browser-based attacks attempting to scrape personal info from cookies and cache are far more common for the average user.  I've been using Linux for 12 years now, and have had exactly 0 viruses.  
'Operator error'  has tanked more of my systems than malware and virii ever could. :-[

bit

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Re: Debian Tails OS question
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2014, 09:40:21 AM »
A 'Live' Linux disk will do no harm at all, as long as you don't do anything that exposes personal info (like check your email through a browser interface) or mount any of the hard disks on the computer.  Once you take the CD out of the computer, it's all gone without a trace, so should be perfectly safe.  

As far as Linux (or most other Unix-like "alternative" OSs besides Apple's), experience has shown them generally safer than other OSs, as far as viruses go (and I won't go into the myriad reasons and arguments behind that claim, thankyouverymuch); browser-based attacks attempting to scrape personal info from cookies and cache are far more common for the average user.  I've been using Linux for 12 years now, and have had exactly 0 viruses.  
'Operator error'  has tanked more of my systems than malware and virii ever could. :-[
Thank you very much.
So you're saying to physically unplug my HD before booting from a live Linux DVD?
That would be if I wanted to surf the web I take it; but if I wanted to stay off the web and work on a few text files on my HD I could leave the HD plugged in I suppose.

How would I make a few basic mods to the Linux OS on the DVD, such as adding DimScreen or OpenOffice and burning it to DVD again?

Could I boot from the live Linux DVD, then do a 'hot' plug-in of my SATA HD as needed to transfer a few things like DimScreen, then do a 'hot' unplug of the SATA HD again?

What's the latest and greatest Linux flavor people recommend now?

Gee, my Win7 32-bit can only make use of 3GB of my available 4GB RAM; maybe a live bootable Linux could enable all 4GB.

bit

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Re: Debian Tails OS question
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2014, 12:13:44 PM »
What I would like to be able to do is to boot in Debian or other Linux flavor, customize my Desktop and other optionals, save the file to HD, then reburn to DVD and boot from that.
But I seem to remember trying that and failing to boot with the modified OS.
So is there a way to do all that, or is it not possible?

40hz

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Re: Debian Tails OS question
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2014, 01:59:12 PM »

How would I make a few basic mods to the Linux OS on the DVD, such as adding DimScreen or OpenOffice and burning it to DVD again?

It's a little more complicated than that unfortunately. You couldn't modify a live distro without remastering the DVD itself. Not an easy thing to do if you're new to Linux. IF you wanted to customize something like that, it would be better to do it as a virtual machine which would provide 98% of the safeguards you'd get running off a live disk. Be aware however that Tails was specifically configured to provide zero opportunities for a traceback. So whatever you decided to add to such a distro (should you remaster it) would need to be chosen and configured with that in mind.

Quote
Could I boot from the live Linux DVD, then do a 'hot' plug-in of my SATA HD as needed to transfer a few things like DimScreen, then do a 'hot' unplug of the SATA HD again?

In most cases you could use an external drive with a live distro - but usually not to install software since the directories an installer will want to write to would be on the read-only media. A portable-type app should work however - as long as it wasn't trying to write temporary files someplace it couldn't. (Some "portable" apps try to do that.)

I also don't remember if Tails is provisioned to mount an external drive. Because Tail's goal is to protect you during a web session, it may have disabled external drive mounting. And even if you could, it might not be a good idea if stealthy operation was your main concern.. But that's using Tails. Pretty much all the other live distros will allow you to use USB keys and external drives with no hassles.

Quote
What's the latest and greatest Linux flavor people recommend now?

There will be as many answers to that question as there are people giving answers. Good beginner distros (IMOHO) are Linux Mint or Linux Lite. Both can be run from a bootable DVD if you just want to try them out.

A very comprehensive source for information and links to Linux distributions and apps is Distrowatch. It's pretty much the main directory for what's out there. As of this week they're tracking 287 active distributions, with another 265 waiting to be listed (see below) - so there’s bound to be something in that collection you can live with.
dw.png

Quote
Gee, my Win7 32-bit can only make use of 3GB of my available 4GB RAM; maybe a live bootable Linux could enable all 4GB.

It's possible to use above 3Gb of RAM with a 32-bit version of Linux - if your distro is using something called a 32-bit PAE (physical address extension) kernal. However, even if you can access over 3Gb of RAM, the per process RAM limitations of 32-bit Linux still cap out at 3Gb - even with a PAE enabled kernal. So it's still a bit of a kludge and generally not recommended. Like Windows, if you want to use over 3GB of RAM, you're much better off going with the 64-bit version of an OS.

opus_art.jpg Hope this was helpful! :Thmbsup:
« Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 02:30:05 PM by 40hz »

bit

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Re: Debian Tails OS question
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2014, 04:32:21 PM »
Gee, I downloaded the Linux Cinnamon .iso file, burned it to disk, and added an Archives folder with Firefox and some other things, and it wouldn't boot.
I deleted the Archives folder and it still wouldn't boot from the Cinnamon .iso; no 'click on any key to boot from DVD' option.
Is that not the way to do that?

Hey, check it out; my next post will be my 200th, and you (40hz) are 3 posts away from 10,000 so congrats in advance.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 04:37:44 PM by bit »

bit

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Re: Debian Tails OS question
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2014, 08:36:32 PM »
Okay, newbie here; I literally burned the .iso to DVD; didn't work.
Found out how to tell Windows to burn image file; booted in Linux Cinnamon.  ;D

In Linux Cinnamon Desktop (very pretty), clicked on Firefox, got on Internet, checked my IP and it accurately ID'd my actual IP and location.
Looked around but could not find any TOR or Vidalia (this is a 'must have' for me).

Right-clicked on Desktop but could not find how to change teeny-tiny screen resolution almost requiring magnifying glass.

So far, Win7 w/TOR hides my IP and contains AdBlock add-on; Linux Mint doesn't and unless it's in there somewhere this is a 'critical' for me, as in 'fail', because Linux Mint gives away my direct IP and home address and lets in ads.

Otherwise it was very nice, but I absolutely can't live without TOR Vidalia.

Edvard

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Re: Debian Tails OS question
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2014, 09:06:04 PM »
...
So you're saying to physically unplug my HD before booting from a live Linux DVD?
...
Well, that would be really secure, but not necessary.  By 'mounting' I meant to make the disk available to the operating system via the 'mount' command.  If you don't mount it, the OS can't do anything with it.  

On remastering your own Linux flavor:

Linux Live scripts:
http://www.linux-live.org/
A set of shell scripts to convert your existing system into a live CD or USB image.  No GUI.

Live-Magic:
http://www.unixmen.c...ebian-based-systems/
A Debian/Ubuntu tool that can create CD, USB, and netboot images.  Doesn't use your existing system, but downloads packages and builds them into a new ISO image.

Revisor:
http://revisor.fedoraunity.org/
Nice little remastering tool for Fedora.  Advance features for picking the packages you want, and can create a Live disk or proper Installer.

Reconstructor:
http://www.maketeche...ubuntu-distribution/
Ubuntu tool that helps you to modify an existing Ubuntu distro.  Start with Ubuntu Live, Install, or Server and customize away.

OpenSuse KIWI:
http://en.opensuse.org/Portal:KIWI
This time, a remastering tool for OpenSuse

RemasterSys:
http://remastersys.com/
https://en.wikipedia...org/wiki/Remastersys
Create a customized Live CD/DVD (a remaster) of Debian and its derivatives, or back up an entire system, including user data, to an installable Live CD/DVD.
Development has stopped, with the developer citing 'BS' as his reason, but a fork has been attempted: http://www.os4online...nd-state-of-os4.html

Relinux:
http://mijyn.github.io/relinux/
Basically a RemasterSys alternative.  Only works with Ubuntu (as far as I can tell).

Fedora Remix:
https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Remix
Start with Fedora, add in or remove whatever software you want, and create a Live CD

Ubuntu Mini-Remix:
http://www.ubuntu-mini-remix.org/
Start with a very minimal Ubuntu environment, remix it with the magical tools, Voila!

There were others, but many were old/discontinued (Novo builder, Nimblex) or could not make a Live CD (Instalinux).

ewemoa

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Re: Debian Tails OS question
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2014, 07:08:47 AM »
Mmm, Edvard, how about a separate thread for that list of yours? :)

bit

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Re: Debian Tails OS question
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2014, 01:39:13 PM »
Edvard I'm glad you answered me here, and 40hz too, b/c I never knew any of this stuff. Thank you once again everyone.  :)
« Last Edit: May 22, 2014, 02:22:34 PM by bit »

40hz

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Re: Debian Tails OS question
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2014, 02:02:55 PM »
Edvard I'm glad you answered me here, and 40hz too, b/c I never knew any of this stuff. Thank you once again everyone.  :)

That's the Linux "community thing" at work. "Helping ourselves by helping each other."

pl.jpg

One more reason to become a part of it. :) :Thmbsup:
« Last Edit: May 22, 2014, 02:21:55 PM by 40hz »

bit

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Re: Debian Tails OS question
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2014, 02:24:45 PM »
Edvard I'm glad you answered me here, and 40hz too, b/c I never knew any of this stuff. Thank you once again everyone.  :)

That's the Linux "community thing" at work. "Helping ourselves by helping each other."
 (see attachment in previous post)
One more reason to become a part of it. :) :Thmbsup:
^heh. :)
To remaster Linux Cinnamon, which one of the above would anyone recommend?
Do I need to be working from a HD with Linux, or can I work from Win 7 32-bit?

MilesAhead

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Re: Debian Tails OS question
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2014, 03:03:10 PM »
On a parallel track a quick and dirty thing you could do is install ToolWiz TimeFreeze

It's free and there's nothing to using it.  Run it the first time and accept the defaults.  It uses the Shadow Service so that programs that think they are writing to the system partition are actually writing to a 1/2 GB cache(adjustable.)

I didn't really have a problem with it other than a bit of a performance hit.  If you try it I recommend not setting the option to come up on Windows start with the protection on.  It just makes it easier to shut it off when done.

Then I'd do a scan just to make sure none of the other partitions(if you have more than C:) got any malware.

Edit: Of course it's only good for system protection.  Not protection from search or tracking cookies etc. being active while you're browsing with it.


Edvard

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Re: Debian Tails OS question
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2014, 08:45:09 PM »
Mmm, Edvard, how about a separate thread for that list of yours? :)

Great idea.  I'll include more in-depth comments, some how-to links, and list a few more I found that were missed this time.  Maybe even *gasp* use a few of them to see what happens.  Might take a few days though.   ;)

To remaster Linux Cinnamon, which one of the above would anyone recommend?

Probably the most recent and updated would be Live-Magic for Ubuntu/Debian, Revisor for Fedora, and (just found this one) SuseStudio.  Remastersys used to be the go-to tool for remastering Ubuntu, but development has stopped and is likely to go stagnant soon unless somebody comes up with a viable fork.  I've seen folks still reporting using it recently, so it may be an option.

Quote
Do I need to be working from a HD with Linux, or can I work from Win 7 32-bit?

Most of those tools are Linux-only, so yes you'll need to be running some form of Linux from HD, and be warned many don't have websites to read documentation from, so YMMV. 
One exception to the Linux-only requirement is SuseStudio (see link above), which is browser-based.  You simply tell it what you want, it builds your custom Suse remaster on their cloud servers, then serves you a download.  If you're OK with Suse, it's prolly the easiest.

ewemoa

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Re: Debian Tails OS question
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2014, 09:03:47 PM »
On a parallel track a quick and dirty thing you could do is install ToolWiz TimeFreeze

Looks very interesting!  Thanks for sharing :Thmbsup:

40hz

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Re: Debian Tails OS question
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2014, 09:12:31 PM »
To remaster Linux Cinnamon, which one of the above would anyone recommend?
Do I need to be working from a HD with Linux, or can I work from Win 7 32-bit?

The official remastering tool for Linux Mint was something called mintconstructor.

Unfortunately, the powers that be over at Mint have since pulled it from their website over a silly snit they were having with some people who were allegedly misusing the Mint logo. More on that kerfuffle can be found here.

Regarding doing a remastering:

A Linux distro is not like a Windows installation. A distro is not just the Linux OS. Most also contain a fairly extensive collection of apps that get installed along with the OS. Things like Firefox, LibreOffice, VLC Media Player, and Thunderbird, and other standard apps are usually included by default. When you install most distros you have a complete environment you can use out of the box. So it's seldom necessary to do a remastered DVD just to put something in. Especially if it's a very popular app.

FWIW, when distros get remastered it's usually either done to strip them down to become a minimal single purpose tool (like GParted) - or to optimize them for a specific family of applications like music or media authoring (ex: DreamStudio, TangoStudio, etc.)

Note: remastering is not always as simple as it sounds. The degree of automation and hand-holding varies widely, and is determined by which distro you use as your base, and which remastering tools are available for it.  If you want to just wade in and give it a go, Edvard's suggestion to try SuseStudio is a good one. That's about as easy a starting point as you'll ever find.

 8)

bit

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Re: Debian Tails OS question
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2014, 10:35:42 PM »
Thank you very much!
Please excuse me, but this is sort of a change of subject; I run Windows 7 Pro, and it's going to be fine for a few years.
But eventually, it'll go the way of Windows XP.
So by then, if I ran a permanent Linux installation on a hard drive to replace an aging Win 7, would it make less demand on my hard drive and AMD 4400+ dual-core's resources than Windows?

Would Linux still need antivirus protection?

40hz

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Re: Debian Tails OS question
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2014, 04:45:43 AM »
So by then, if I ran a permanent Linux installation on a hard drive to replace an aging Win 7, would it make less demand on my hard drive and AMD 4400+ dual-core's resources than Windows?


How could anybody possibly know that?  Nobody can predict the future. And Microsoft holds its cards pretty close to their vest.

So the answer is: "Yes...no...uh...I don't know!"  :D

Would Linux still need antivirus protection?

Count on it. If it becomes increasingly popular it will become increasingly targeted by malware.


bit

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Re: Debian Tails OS question
« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2014, 01:30:26 PM »
^Wise words.
Thank you.  :)

ewemoa

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Re: Debian Tails OS question
« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2014, 05:31:29 AM »
I'll include more in-depth comments, some how-to links, and list a few more I found that were missed this time.  Maybe even *gasp* use a few of them to see what happens.  Might take a few days though.   ;)

I came across the following today:

  https://launchpad.net/ubuntu-builder
  https://github.com/c...earkimura/Customizer

via:

  http://www.ubuntu-mini-remix.org/



FWIW, I tried UCW at 40hz's suggestion, and it seems to have worked with Linux Mint 17 Cinnamon.