Skip to comments.The World's Safest Browser: BitBox (Ach! It's in German)
Posted on 05/14/2011 7:41:53 PM PDT by decimon
The reason is that I have started using BitBox as my browser for my general work-related tasks. BitBox is essentially a heavily armored version of Firefox 4.0.1 that is encased in Oracle's VirtualBox virtual machine (VM) environment that houses a secured Debian 6 Linux OS. That sounds relatively complicated, but once it is installed, this secure version of Firefox works just like a regular version of the browser. The difference is that it runs in a virtualized environment that is separate from your Windows XP/Vista/7.
The upside clearly is that you are dealing with a self-contained package. If you click on malicious malware, the usual EXE files cannot be executed in your Linux VM. You can download files, but they will not explicitly affect your Windows system and need to be manually moved out of the VM, if you have connected the drives. malware that infects Firefox during your session is automatically deleted the next time you start BitBox, as it always starts with its default configuration in the way it was installed. However, phishing attacks that target your personal data and may trick you in providing critical information will still require some common sense not to do so and will not protect you from the effects of such actions.
There are a few downsides. First, it is a hefty 990 MB download and the installed software will require almost 2 GB of space, as there is a need for Oracle's VirtualBox that is included in the package as well as a Debian 6 installation. Since the software is set back to a default level at every time it starts, it is not the most convenient browser to be used on an every day basis for the consumer. The deal breaker is its language.
(Excerpt) Read more at tomsguide.com ...
Auf Englisch bitte ping.
I am running Firefox 4.0.1 in Xubuntu 10.04 Linux OS. Using XFCE GUI.
.exe files don’t execute.
I guess there are more secure systems, but this is simple and it works and is free of all Windows viruses/trojans.
There are threats to Linux machines, mostly root kits. But it is much less likely to pick up slimeware and viruses.
Have used Linux for over 10 years and never had a virus or slimeware.
I have one of my computers running the same set up. Works really well. The one I use for just surfing only is running IE
Been running windows for 10 years and never had a virus.
>First, it is a hefty 990 MB download and the installed software will require almost 2 GB of space,<
Yeah, most of us would want that on disk.
So the lesson of the story is the only way to browse with Windows safely is to have your browser running on Linux...?
Microsoft needs to ditch their code base and follow Apple’s lead and adopt a BSD core. I once heard that some Windows 3.1 and even DOS code is still in the Windows code base, written before network security was an issue. It can NEVER be secured. It’s like building a tall building and forgetting to plug up the holes... no matter how you patch it the mice will always find a way in.
Virtualbox is pretty easy to install. And fun to play with. I’ve got a dozen virtual machines here for different purposes. Though for daily use I’m still on Windows 7 with Firefox, using the NoScript plugin, which makes it far safer that without NoScript.
The trouble with virtual machines is that they gobble up memory and hard disk space. If you’ve got plenty of those then it’s a great option.
I still run Windows too. Have run all their OS’s since MSDOS days. (except WindowsME and WindowsVista, which I have worked on.)
Have had slimeware and trojans. No viruses either.
I built my first PC in 1982. Z80 machine.
Have run Linux since Redhat 5.0 came out (I think in 1995).
Wife’s machine is Windows 7. My last work machine was XP Pro box. I know my way around all the Windows machines and some of the AS400 OS’s. Not one of the Wunderkinder (wonder children).
It's probably too much for me (Athlon 64/Windows XP) and maybe for most people. But I thought it interesting. Maybe something like this will become common.
>>So the lesson of the story is the only way to browse with
>>Windows safely is to have your browser running on Linux...?
I suppose that depends on your definition of browsing. I can think of browsing that wouldn’t be safe on a Linux box.
Firefox + NoScript is reasonably safe on a Windows box.
I’m a self employed computer consultant, and 100% of the people who have come to me for business software consulting over the last 17 years have been running some form of Windows. That’s not to say they haven’t had Novell app servers and Apache web servers or some guy in the back designing their logo on a Mac, but the end users tend to use Windows machines, and I go where the money is at.
Linux has painted itself into a corner IMHO, simply based on the insane names that the programmers have used for all of the utilities. Simple end users don’t want to grep something... they want to search for it. They don’t want to sudo up some administrative rights... they want to run as administrator.
Don’t get me wrong... I love Linux and run it regularly under VirtualBox and VMWare, but the general public will never accept it as main stream in its present form.
Seems like an overly armored sandbox.
So this is essentially the same as running Firefox on OSX?
Carry the news.
Download link at:
‘You know the germans always make good stuff’ - vince.
“Im a self employed computer consultant, and 100% of the people who have come to me for business software consulting over the last 17 years have been running some form of Windows... I go where the money is at.”
That’s the best Linux/Mac/BSD advertisement I’ve ever heard. :)
“Linux has painted itself into a corner IMHO, simply based on the insane names that the programmers have used for all of the utilities. Simple end users dont want to grep something... they want to search for it.”
Oh, so true. And — confession time — I will soon be one of them. I’m starting an open source project and one of the names I’m thinking of is in ancient Greek.
“They dont want to sudo up some administrative rights... they want to run as administrator.”
Actually, that is necessary. It is crazy to use a computer in normal userspace logged in as Admin. So much damage can be done, it would benefit everyone if MS required people to log in as Admin to mess around with their systems. Microsoft really is at fault here.
“I love Linux and run it regularly under VirtualBox and VMWare, but the general public will never accept it as main stream in its present form.”
You are right, they won’t. And I think the reason is that there really isn’t a desktop environment that is really top-notch yet. Gnome 3 and Ubuntu with Unity are going in the opposite direction from usability and KDE 4 has as many detractors.
Linux need a single desktop that blows people away with stability, usability, and options that advanced users can easily access if they choose. Until that happens, no, I can’t see Linux becoming mainstream.
Linux users have been saying that for 15 years.
I don't know why some folks poke fun at those of us that run VMs in Windows. I run VMWare on 64-bit Win7 that has a copy of WinXP with the VPN to my corporate network . Frankly, I don't know who would really want to run VPN software to their office using the same operating system that they are surfing the net with. I don't care what your primary operating system would be.
As it stands, I don't run browser queries off my corp net from within my XP VM and I don't run workrelated stuff from that primary Win7 install.
Also within that single XP VM I run Remote Desktop to several Windows servers and both Putty and Sun Secure Global Desktop to reach Unix boxes from time-to-time on my corpnet.
I don't need to run a Linux desktop.
I have always run as administrator with UAC turned off. Couldn't stand it any other way. :)
My reference was towards how on a Windows box an end user can right click on a shortcut/exe and select "Run As Administrator." Actually, I've seen that in Ubuntu lately when I've needed to install the VirtualBox Guest Additions. There's been a simple button where I can install them as administrator rather than having to use sudo. A vast improvement over having to teach someone how to use sudo at the terminal prompt.
I just wish there was a layer that could be provided for Linux where utilities could take on the name of the task which they perform, instead of all the crazy names they've got now.
“I have always run as administrator with UAC turned off. Couldn’t stand it any other way. :)”
Oh, oh, oh...
I gotta ask you something, I don’t mean to pry, but I have to know. Are you a Glock owner? Those things don’t have safeties.
When I read your post, I remembered that scene in Blackhawk Down where the commander sees a Delta with his rifle’s safety off. He says, “Soldier, your safety is off!” The Delta holds up his finger and says, “Sir, this is my safety!”
Sorry, just had to ask! :)
Amen on that. I'm a big supporter of virtualization on the desktop. VPN is a perfect example of where a VM is not just desirable, but should be mandatory. Why the hell would I want to give my employer access to my network and devices at home?
I don't need to run a Linux desktop.
As a longtime unix user, I've found the windows UI and design paradigms are nothing but a boat anchor on my productivity, so I do the vast majority of my work on unix, with a VM to access those few walled in websites developed by people with a hammer and no other tools who were looking for nails.
There is no legitimate reason to have a website that is accessible to only windows computers.
You can always 'alias' any name to any other name. If you've got a list of your favorite names for commands that you want to popularize, create an rc script that you can source on login, and they can have their own list of commands to do things however you want.
The downside of this is that what is "common sense" for one person is completely cryptic to someone else. Do you mean that a computer used in Germany would have entirely different commands than one used in the U.S.? I suspect that in the long run such a system would prove to be confusing as anything you could imagine.
So, rather than using "cd" to change directories, should we instead have a command like:
or in modern, dumbed down Ms-windows parlance:
or for our German friend:
Yup. That just rolls off the tongue. :-)
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