Surf with a Linux LiveCD to avoid a lot this headache.

Discussion in 'other firewalls' started by brjoon1021, Aug 21, 2005.

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  1. brjoon1021

    brjoon1021 Registered Member

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    If you are going to surf (dangerous sites, especially) use a Linux LiveCD. The whole OS and apps are on a cd that you boot from. NO bad things can happen to you.

    Download either PCLinuxOS or Kanotix. They have plugins for Your usual windows codecs. When you click on a link, the appropriate player opens up and you can save the file to the desktop (Linux) or stream it. I kind of wonder why these Live CDs are not common practice with all of the crap that you can catch surfing with windows.

    check out www.distrowatch.com for the links to these two Linux live CDs.
    you download the ISO, burn it to disk and then boot from it. If you like it they can installers and then you have a faster (than CD) option to boot from besides windows. The Linux bootloaders are really good. LiLo and GRUB. You choose to boot into Linux or Windows (if you go the install route.)

    NO bad things can happen to your computer if you use these. I surfed to some Russian software site a few months back, using windows, and caught all kinds of stuff. It took me hours and hours to get rid of it and my laptop was never the same. I use PCLinuxOS for most of my surfing now. I am still trying to secure windows better, if you have seen my posts. But, I emphatically state that these CDs are a whole lot better of an option (for a lot of you) than XYZ firewall, ABC process controller, AV this, extra program that and the like for windows. These LiveCD OS are slower because they run from CD, but they are not too slow at all on my fast computer. They have Office, photo editing and all kinds of software so you might find that you do not have to boot back into windows all that often.

    Knoppix is another one
    Puppy is one that will boot from CD, USB memory stick, really flexible.
    Kanotix, mentioned it already. Really nice
    PCLinux OS, really nice as well, mentioned above.

    PCLinuxOS asks you for boot options, usually you just need to type your screen resolution as follows:
    "livecd xres=1600x1200" or whatever yours is. It recognizes NICs, audio cards, video cards, etc... full OS right from the CD. As I mentioned, can really easily be installed while maintaining your dangerous Windows partition. login and password are "guest" and "guest" or "root" and "root" if you want to go the administrator route.

    I am not a Linux zealot but I can't help but notice the glaring lack of mention of these awesome tools on this and other security sites. Guys will go to the mattresses to secure Windows (as close as you can get) and do not know about this easy solution. I have gotten paranoid from sites like this one (as well as better informed) due to all of the exploits that are possible that I did not know about before reading the forums. I am scared to install MS Money now.

    B.
     
  2. Kerodo

    Kerodo Registered Member

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    I have tried Knoppix before and it's pretty nice. Boots from a CD and I think the one I had comes with a version of Firefox, which I'm used to. I don't know that it can write to other file systems though, I think it can read only. So if you download files you might have problems saving them to a NTFS partition or anywhere for that matter.
     
  3. trickyricky

    trickyricky Registered Member

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    Several of the live distributions can be set up to save data to a FAT hard disk partition or even a USB flash drive. I've used Knoppix and Slax this way and they both work really well. With a live CD and a USB drive, you can carry your operating system and data with you wherever you go, and when you've closed down, there's no trace of your visit on the host PC... ;)
     
  4. lupus

    lupus Registered Member

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    I use exclusively Knoppix for anything money related on the internet, eveytime i do online banking i boot Knoppix. Only way to get that warm fuzzy feeling, just make sure to check the certificate or type the ip adress directly and you're good. I just don't trust windows for anything other than gaming and i have decided not to care anymore, i mean, i am careful, use a non-admin account and scan everything with Jotti, but should anything bad happen to my box , i don't care cause the real important stuff is done under Knoppix.
     
  5. q1aqza

    q1aqza Registered Member

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    I run completely wireless at home and I tried Knoppix but it wouldn't recognise or drive my wireless adapter.

    Anyone had any success or other boot cd linux with wireless adapters?
     
  6. AnthonyG

    AnthonyG Registered Member

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    It isnt a boot CD but Linux Xandros works great for mine.

    I Would try if you want a live version to most likely work with this Suse Live.
     
  7. andie

    andie Guest

    Very interesting idea, using a Linux Live CD. I recently tried Mepis, and liked it, but as far as security, I was concerned about threats coming in E-Mail. I suppose, if I only use Linux for email, a Windows virus would not be a threat, but what if I use my email program in both Windows and Linux? If I unknowingly received a threat with Linux email, I could be vulnerable if I opened this email, while in Windows. Right?
     
  8. brjoon1021

    brjoon1021 Registered Member

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    As far as I know, The OS's are absolutely separate and you cannot infect your Windows OS.

    But there are few geeks like Linux and FreeBSD geeks so you might want to post the same question at a forum for a Linux OS. Some of the live CDs that were posted here would have a forum.
     
  9. Chuck57

    Chuck57 Registered Member

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    Ok, got to ask. I had an old machine using CalderaLinux 2.4 back around 1999 or 2000. Linux then was just too much of a headache for me. I guess if I was a teen today instead of almost 60, I'd have fared better.

    How much improved is Linux today from the Linux of 1999 or 2000? Is it less of a hassle to use and configure, or is any real configuration needed to run it from a CD. What turned me off the old Caldera was having to learn all the code to start this and do that. Reminded me too much of DOS 5.

    Can this linux be obtained say at a Compusa?
     
  10. brjoon1021

    brjoon1021 Registered Member

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    I have no idea what it was like back then. Sounds pretty rough from your description, though. Today, it is pretty much as easy as Windows XP give or take. This also depends on your distribution (Linux flavor / brand). Xandros is easier than windows. They have a free download version available. Kanotix, Knoppix and PCLinuxOS are about equivalent to Windows. Linspire is easier but it is not free. Pretty cheap though.

    No you do not have to do anything to run a liveCD. The absolute most that you would have to do is define your screen resolution of choice and log in.

    A debian based Linux like Kanotix, Mepis and Ubuntu/Kubuntu is nice because if you like it you can install it and dual-boot. They are up to date, stable, and synaptic is a download manager (for lack of a better description) that is terrific for updating your OS and getting new software. It is kind of like windows update (roughly, sort of... for comparison only) but you can download everything available for your OS from here. Drivers, apps, firewalls, really geeky things that I do not know what to do with. This is really a very cool thing. My description was probably inadequate.

    Nothing should be obtained from CompUSA. Just my opinion. Actually, they probably have Linspire, SuSe, Mandriva or old Mandrake. They will be for-pay box versions. Which is fine. But so much can be had for free.

    Here is a list of very well liked Linux Live CD distributions that are free as in beer and free as in speech:

    -PCLinuxOS
    -Ubuntu and Kubuntu (the two most popular desktops are Gnome and KDE, Kubuntu uses KDE, Ubuntu uses Gnome otherwise the same. They both have liveCD versions. Ubuntu was started by a Gazillionaire, the guy that bought a space shuttle flight into space. It is cool.
    -Mepis.
    -Kanotix
    -Knoppix
    -If you have an older computer, Puppy, Feather, Damn Small Linux are good, I read. I have not tried them but I would imagine that they would take more knowlege once they have been installed. All of the information that you could need is available on the web. Also, there is a good book written expressly for Mepis called "Point & Click Linux" by Robin Miller. My local Barnes & Noble has it. It is about $20 or so. Mepis is free. A really cheap way to get into Linux with some handholding. But believe me, Mepis is easy. About Like XP. So, the book would make learning it a cinche. That is the route I would recommend.

    B.
     
  11. Chuck57

    Chuck57 Registered Member

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    I'll have to do some surfing. Having only dial up, downloading several hundred MB is out of the question. Many of the makers of linux offer CDs for next to nothing.

    If linux has gotten as easy to use as you've said, and if they now have software that will allow you to access some windows programs (like word), AND if I can get my printer and modem to work with it, it just might be time to dump windows for good once and for all, as I tried to do years ago and rid microsoft completely from my computer.
     
  12. brjoon1021

    brjoon1021 Registered Member

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    I am on cable connection so I have not tried to use a dial-up modem. As most connections are still dial-up, I am sure that your modem is in the bag. Hardware detection in the LiveCDs I listed (and other and Linux in general, for that matter) is truly daunting (GREAT). There is a driver for nearly everything.

    Printer should not be a problem. CUPS is the generic printer driver. Some companies may make a Linux driver. I also tried a Linux that had something called Turbo Print, I think, it was snazzier but had fewer printers covered. You could check it out. Or just go to a forum for the distribution that you are interested in trying and post that you are having trouble getting your printer to work. See how long it takes to get help and the quality of the help. I have always found it to be pretty good. Mepis and Ubuntu would probably have the largest forums. Details matter: components, OS version, connection type, etc... Another really good distribution is VectorLinux. Distrowatch has a link to a recent review of their just released version. You would have to install it, though, not a livecd.

    Oh, Slax is another good liveCD.

    WWW.distrowatch.com is your friend if you want to get into Linux at all.

    Anyways, Good Luck.
     
  13. brjoon1021

    brjoon1021 Registered Member

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    I should also add that I have read that the live DVDs are slower than smoke. You should probably stick to a LiveCD. Ebay has good deals on CDs that is where I bought my first several before I knew what an ISO was. Sometimes several for $5. Usually these are guys that are Evangelists for Linux not out to make a buck. They just cover the CD cost and shipping.
     
  14. bigc73542

    bigc73542 Retired Moderator

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    To be absolutly truthful a dial up modem is next to impossible to get to work in linux. I tried five different modems, even hardware modems all recomended by linux sites. none of them worked. Linux is touted as a broadband OS and works well on DSL and cable. linux is fun but under no circumstances is it as easy as windows. Linux still hasn't earned the title of user friendly yet, but they are getting better.
     
  15. Kerodo

    Kerodo Registered Member

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    I fully agree Bigc... I have tried 3 different versions of Linux recently and they all had either install problems or failed to detect my network card and so on. Nothing comes close to Windows for user friendly and ease of install and use. I would love to explore Linux more, but I'm afraid I won't be able to until they make the install and setup as painless as my Win2k. I did have some luck with the Knoppix run from CD thing, but it's use was rather limited.. So it's Windows for me for now...
     
  16. bigc73542

    bigc73542 Retired Moderator

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    Xandros is a good version of linux super easy install and will recognize all of your hardware and network card. But you damn near have to be a programer to get all of the programs to work in linux. Sometimes you download a program and to make it work you may have to download three more.
     
  17. Paranoid2000

    Paranoid2000 Registered Member

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    The last time I dabbled in Linux (around 2000), it was fairly easy to get it working with the modem on my laptop (and such built-in modems are typically the most awkward). The main problem is that most modems sold over the last few years have been WinModems, designed to work with Windows only. However you can get a LinModem driver provided your modem uses one of the supported chipsets.

    The main problem I had with Linux was the relative lack of good security and filtering - in particular the built-in firewall offers no application control, only filtering by port and address. However there is now TuxGuardian for controlling application network access and Privoxy for general web filtering.

    It is worth noting that while the vast majority of spyware does target Windows, Linux is not immune from exploits (and is not designed for security first and foremost) though most current ones target servers hosting websites and similar services. Booting from a read-only CD-ROM will greatly limit the risks involved but also makes applying patches and updates far harder since another CD has to be created.
     
  18. Kerodo

    Kerodo Registered Member

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    I will keep that one in mind, next time I get adventurous again... :)
     
  19. bigc73542

    bigc73542 Retired Moderator

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    that is what burned me about dialup in linux. All five modems I tried were recomended at several Linux information sites as being linmodems, expecially the hardware modems. :mad:
     
  20. Paranoid2000

    Paranoid2000 Registered Member

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    Frustrating yes, but it also suggests that the problem may have been due to something else with your setup. One possibility could have been a chipset incompatibility (preventing the drivers from detecting the modem) or a problem with the distro itself. Also were all the modems connected up the same way or not? e.g. internal (built-in), internal (PCI), external (serial), external (USB). If only one connection type gives a problem, then this would be significant.

    I don't wish to knock on a bad experience, but yours is atypical so shouldn't be taken as a comment on Linux setup generally.
     
  21. Dave-54321

    Dave-54321 Guest

    I have only been using linux for around 6 months now without even having a windows partition at all. After going through many different linux distributions during this time, I would like to highly recommend SUSE Linux 9.3 to anybody fairly new to linux or even anyone relatively experienced with linux. Everything just seems to work right "out of the box" and it is aimed more towards home desktop users. SUSE 10.0 should be out within the next month or so. I have used Xandros before, but it seems very limited compared to SUSE.

    Some linux links that I check often:

    http://distrowatch.com/ (news/reviews/information/etc.)
    http://shots.osdir.com/ (distribution/application screenshots)
    http://opensuse.org/ (SUSE Linux)

    Cheers!
     
  22. controler

    controler Guest

    q1aqza


    I have no problems using Knoppix with my wireless router. It had all the nessary drivers needed.

    I like how Knoppix compresses it's CD and uncompresses on the fly.

    Even though there is way more Apps on the regular Knoppix CD, they do have a DVD version with much more.

    The CD I use has Star Office on it.

    controler
     
  23. Chuck57

    Chuck57 Registered Member

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    My modem isn't a winmodem, so no problem there.

    I had no trouble connecting to the Internet years ago, when I was playing with Caldera Linux, and with Red Hat 6. My objection was, I wanted something to replace Windows that offered the ease of use that Windows offered, simple point and click out of the box. Been the code writing route in the old DOS days and have no desire to go back.

    I've seen lots of ads and write ups saying that the Linux desktop, either KDE or Gnome, offers the look and feel of Windows but none admit to being as easy to use as Windows (or Apple for that matter). I don't understand how, nor do I care, the OS works or what it's doing as long as it's working.

    I would love to be able to dump Microsoft from my machine, but at this point can't afford or justify the expense of running to the nearest Apple dealer for a whole new computer. Linux or BSD seems to the the alternative, assuming they have progressed to the point that I don't have to jump through a bunch of hoops just to bring up a word processor, go online, or use my printer.
     
  24. dog

    dog Guest

    Hi Chuck, ;)

    You'd be surprise how easy/friendly Linux has become, every aspect of course isn't as easy to use as Windows, but for general things (web browsing, word processing, etc.) IMO, it is. :)

    Burn a -Live- iso and you'll see first hand. ;) (there are several available)

    Steve
     
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