Can a net book be configured to work like a livecd ???

Discussion in 'privacy technology' started by tiler, Oct 13, 2013.

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  1. tiler

    tiler Registered Member

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    Hi

    Ok have a netbook with hard drive and a gig of ram.

    Is it possible to configure it so it performs like a livecd ?

    Will only be used for accessing email with minimal web use, would also like to add a text editor and spreadsheet prog or similar.

    1 secure capsule on the hard drive for saving any docs to everything else to run in ram.


    Is this possible if so how would I go about it guys please
     
  2. ComputerSaysNo

    ComputerSaysNo Registered Member

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    First rip out your hard drive and throw it in the bin it's useless if you want to run a livecd, second find a good linux distro I'd recommend Ubuntu as a good start as it get's regular security patches and bug fixes. You can run it as a live cd and it includes libra office which can be used for text editing which fits your requirements.

    I suggest downloading Ubuntu 12.04.3 DVD (check softpedia for the link) this should include all security patches up until a few weeks ago when it was released and 12.04 does not include any of the Amazon link rubbish you get with later versions, it's also a LTS which means it gets patches for 5 years. Don't forget to run the update service once you boot up the livecd you may need to get some crucial security patches. It's a pain to do this every time you boot the livecd but do you want to be safe or not? The updates won't be persistent but still it's better to have them than not.

    Then you need to get a cloud storage service that is not in the five eye's or basically any of the USA allies and itself. It must use good encryption and be able to access it from anywhere in the world.

    I don't use cloud storage so I suggest you ask others for information about which service to use?
     
  3. tiler

    tiler Registered Member

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    If I rip out the hard drive its useless as netbooks dont have optical drives, the rest of what you say is useful thanks as I have used puppy as livecd in the past.
     
  4. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    Netbooks don't usually have optical drives :(

    I wonder if one could make an optical drive fit in the HDD space.

    For LiveCD use, it wouldn't need to eject ;)
     
  5. tiler

    tiler Registered Member

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    No they are too small


    I think this is the question taken in part from your reply

     
  6. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    So you want to install a LiveCD in the HDD... Maybe one of those LiveCD to USB programs like UNetbootin will work, but not on the currently running OS drive.
     
  7. Taliscicero

    Taliscicero Registered Member

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    lol don't rip out your hard drive, just use linuxtousb ISO burner, to put tails live CD onto a flash drive, and boot from it and you have all you wish.
     
  8. tiler

    tiler Registered Member

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    Ok

    This is correct,,,,,,,,,


    So I can make a livecd a liveusb but cant do that with a hdd and boot straight into it is that what the concensus is ??

    Weird did not expect that answer :)
     
  9. Taliscicero

    Taliscicero Registered Member

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    Live means without install, if your installing it to a hard-drive then its no longer live. So what your basically asking is for an installation disc and not a live CD.
     
  10. lotuseclat79

    lotuseclat79 Registered Member

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    Hi tiler,

    First, I would increase the RAM if possible to its maximum capacity according to its technical specifications available at the manufacturer's website. Memory is cheap.

    Next, I would download a suitable Linux ISO and store it on the hard drive (i.e. not installed, but available to boot from with modifications to Grub/Grub2). I would consider creating a separate boot partition for this on your hard drive.

    Then, I would learn how to boot the ISO from the hard drive into RAM. See the following link for information or search for "booting LiveCD ISO file from hard drive" for various other links on the topic which usually involve Grub/Grub2 modifications: Here’s An Easier Way To Boot ISO Image From Your Hard Drive. I would use Ubuntu 12.04.3 LTS for the ISO - i.e. not the Ubuntu 13.04 version ISO described in the link. Ubuntu Mirrors.

    Once you are in a booted Live ISO Linux environment running in RAM, your hard drive is usually not mounted which decreases the level of exposure from the Internet (use the regular mount command from a Terminal window to verify this for the non-boot partition). You can download files or webpages you want to store on your hard drive, and afterward, disable networking, mount the hard drive partition Volume Filesystem, save the file to the hard drive, umount the hard drive partition, then re-enable networking.

    Note1: Use Disk Utility to find out information about your hard drive which is easier to use than tools from a command line Terminal.
    Note2: Use GParted to re-partition your hard drive, e.g. create a new boot partition where one does not yet exist.
    Note3: If you were to remove your hard drive, and/or use a LiveUSB to boot from, you should make sure you have suitable persistent partitions on the USB to store what you want to preserve between sessions vs what the LiveUSB would boot from. If you don't remove your hard drive in this scheme, you would have it available as above for storage.

    -- Tom
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
  11. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    You haven't lived if haven't booted to a LiveCD in a computer without a HDD.

    First time I was just blown away. I was laughing so hard. It just tripped me out.
     
  12. Gullible Jones

    Gullible Jones Registered Member

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    You don't have to remove the HDD to use it as a kiosk machine; just install a live image and a bootloader.

    Grub2 can boot directly from an ISO image on a hard disk partition:
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2/ISOBoot

    Failing that, you could use something like Porteus:
    http://www.porteus.org/

    which can be installed to a partition as a set of compressed filesystem images. Storing changes to the filesystem is entirely optional.

    Not sure about encryption. You could probably use Linux-Live to create a custom live image with Truecrypt or something:
    http://www.linux-live.org/

    In any case, be warned that this is not secure. At all. You've probably heard that kiosk software like Deep Freeze is a perfect security solution, but it isn't - any vulnerability that gains root access can be used to circumvent the kiosk mode and achieve persistance. And live media cannot be updated in a timely manner, so they have plenty of vulnerabilities.

    You are probably much better off with a normal, properly updated Linux system.
     
  13. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    And how is that different than making a Live USB? Why can you install Linux distros in live and persistent mode on a USB, but only standard installation for HDD's?

    I'd actually like to know why you think that, since there doesn't appear to be any technical reasons for that not to be possible.
     
  14. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    Neither LiveUSBs nor Live "installs" on HDDs are as secure as LiveCDs.

    A plain CD (not read/write) is read-only once burned. For USBs and HDDs, you're relying on software configuration to prevent writing, not irreversible physical state.

    I am assuming that CD burning is irreversible. Is that risky?
     
  15. J_L

    J_L Registered Member

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    There are re-writable CD's, but you're right that they're more write-protected. Some other removable media like SD cards have read-only switches as well, I believe most netbooks supports that?
     
  16. mattdocs12345

    mattdocs12345 Registered Member

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    There are USBs that are mechanically write protected. Wouldnt it be the same as Live CD?
     
  17. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    That's true. I have one, with a little slide switch on the bottom.

    But I don't know what that switch does.

    Does it truly make the USB read-only? Is that as read-only as a plain, one-burn CD?
     
  18. lotuseclat79

    lotuseclat79 Registered Member

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    My USB flash drive of Ubuntu 12.04.3 gets mounted as (ro, noatime) after booting up with the Plop boot manager - so, it is the same as a LiveCD getting mounted on /cdrom in terms of protection of what gets loaded into RAM on every boot.

    -- Tom
     
  19. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    Does the flash drive have a read-only switch?

    Or is it just how it's mounted?

    One can also mount a HDD read-only, but it's easy to make it writable.
     
  20. lotuseclat79

    lotuseclat79 Registered Member

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    There is no read-only switch on my USB Flash drive, and yes that is how it is mounted as have been all of my previous USB Flash drive versions of Ubuntu i386 ISO releases including LiveCDs. To make it writable, you would have to be root, and issue the command that way or in the fstab.

    -- Tom
     
  21. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    Unless mitigated, one could interrupt grub, mount read-only, chmod to writable, and reset root password. No?
     
  22. lotuseclat79

    lotuseclat79 Registered Member

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    Have you tried this? Not sure what you mean by 'one could interrupt grub' - is grub even being used to load a LiveCD/USB? The /boot/grub that is part of the ISO only contains a file named loopback.cfg which contains the menu entry "Try Ubuntu without installing".

    -- Tom
     
  23. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    I just killed a LiveCD VM playing with this :(

    See <-http://linuxgazette.net/107/tomar.html-> for example.

    Setting a nonempty password on a LiveCD messes it up :(
     
  24. lotuseclat79

    lotuseclat79 Registered Member

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    Ergo, the LiveCD/USB gets mounted as RO and does not appear to be able to be compromised in that regard, eh?

    -- Tom
     
  25. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

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    That may be. I'll want to play some more before agreeing ;)

    I'm sure that's true for a physical LiveCD.

    But it made a VM booting a LiveCD iso unbootable.

    And I'm not sure what it would do with a LiveUSB mounted read-only. If an adversary gets root, and can remount the file system as writeable, they can change the root password and own the system.

    I'll play later today :)
     
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