LinuxQuestions.org
Help answer threads with 0 replies.
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie
User Name
Password
Linux - Newbie This Linux forum is for members that are new to Linux.
Just starting out and have a question? If it is not in the man pages or the how-to's this is the place!

Notices

Reply
 
Search this Thread
Old 07-04-2012, 02:30 PM   #1
lovellview
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2

Rep: Reputation: 0
Is totally secure information possible?


I can purchase a USB stick on Amazon that is very secure. Can I put on this stick some simple version of Linux that will self boot and then have on the stick a copy of Libre so that I can use word processing to record information without leaving a trace on my computer? There are many persons that I should think would have a reason to want an information record that is totally secure. My understanding is that if information is used that goes interactively on a hard disk that this information can be retrieved unless the entire hard drive is rewritten over many times. This is not really practicable. So my desire is to have the operating system and the program on the stick and use them and then remove the stick and have no trace left of the activity on the computer.

If this is possible, I would appreciate a suggestion as to what simple version of Linux might be appropriate for this rather simple activity. I would like the version of Linux and Libre to not take up more than three gigabytes, leaving one gigabyte for the records.
 
Old 07-04-2012, 02:37 PM   #2
273
Senior Member
 
Registered: Dec 2011
Location: UK
Distribution: Debian Sid AMD64&i386, Raspbian Jessie, various VMs
Posts: 3,171

Rep: Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738
Why not just encrypt your hard drive? Only the NSA should be able to get in then.
If you must use a USB stick then you can install any smaller Linux distro onto your stick, say Puppy for example, and use it as if it were a hard disk drive -- provided your motherboard is able to boot from USB (otherwise use a live CD which allows USB cor storage).
This may give you something to think about: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Fu...ncryptionHowto

Last edited by 273; 07-04-2012 at 02:43 PM.
 
Old 07-04-2012, 02:45 PM   #3
TobiSGD
Moderator
 
Registered: Dec 2009
Location: Hanover, Germany
Distribution: Gentoo
Posts: 15,366
Blog Entries: 2

Rep: Reputation: 3981Reputation: 3981Reputation: 3981Reputation: 3981Reputation: 3981Reputation: 3981Reputation: 3981Reputation: 3981Reputation: 3981Reputation: 3981Reputation: 3981
There is no 100% security. Ever. As far as I know, it is even possible to retrieve data from the RAM after shutting the machine down. There are also other methods of stealing your data (TEMPEST).
For the normal user an encrypted disk should be more than secure enough.
 
Old 07-04-2012, 02:49 PM   #4
jefro
Guru
 
Registered: Mar 2008
Posts: 11,013

Rep: Reputation: 1356Reputation: 1356Reputation: 1356Reputation: 1356Reputation: 1356Reputation: 1356Reputation: 1356Reputation: 1356Reputation: 1356Reputation: 1356
"I can purchase a USB stick on Amazon that is very secure."
I don't know what this is if you don't tell us. I suspect it would be a very poor choice for linux. A simple common usb would be a better choice. What you might be looking at is a thing that needs some windows app to run it.


TobiSGD and 273 both offer an idea to use encryption. A normal usb can be used on most modern distro's just as if it were a real hard drive. That means you can use encryption on it.

Why do you need such security?
 
Old 07-04-2012, 03:04 PM   #5
273
Senior Member
 
Registered: Dec 2011
Location: UK
Distribution: Debian Sid AMD64&i386, Raspbian Jessie, various VMs
Posts: 3,171

Rep: Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738
Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
There is no 100% security. Ever. As far as I know, it is even possible to retrieve data from the RAM after shutting the machine down. There are also other methods of stealing your data (TEMPEST).
For the normal user an encrypted disk should be more than secure enough.
Agreed about never being completely secure (without a bunker) but didn't want to complicate matters.
For completeness sake my statement about only the NSA getting access was referring to the data on the hard drive after complete shutdown. Even a short time after that, as TbiSGD says, data is stored in RAM so you'd have to wait around an hour or so to be certain.
Another avenue of attack on an unatended, but locked, host is use of firewire (and other?) debugging built into some motherboards.
Oh and using hardware you don't have full physical control over is a complete no-no: leave the room to go to the bathroom and someone could install a hardware keylogger on your own PC and you should expect all machines you don't control to have keyloggers, packet sniffing (including man-in-the-middle https decryption), installed.

Last edited by 273; 07-04-2012 at 03:08 PM.
 
Old 07-04-2012, 08:49 PM   #6
frankbell
Guru
 
Registered: Jan 2006
Location: Virginia, USA
Distribution: Slackware, Debian, Mageia, Mint
Posts: 7,346

Rep: Reputation: 1388Reputation: 1388Reputation: 1388Reputation: 1388Reputation: 1388Reputation: 1388Reputation: 1388Reputation: 1388Reputation: 1388Reputation: 1388
If Amazon is claiming the USB stick is totally secure and you want to use it with Linux, make sure it's not using some Windows *.exe to maintain that security (which is probably some sort of encryption). The *.exe will not work on Linux. I say that because I have a USB stick that came with some Windows encryption program on it (which I never bothered to use, but it was there).

The only totally secure computer is one that is turned off, disconnected from all external connections, encased in concrete, and never turned on again.

Last edited by frankbell; 07-04-2012 at 08:52 PM.
 
Old 07-05-2012, 07:49 AM   #7
honeybadger
Member
 
Registered: Aug 2007
Location: India
Distribution: Slackware (mainly) and then a lot of others...
Posts: 847

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
@OP if it is not your computer - did you check if there were keyloggers installed .
Joking apart - 'a secure usb' is something I am not able to et my head around. Apart from that the posts that mentioned encryption should help.
 
Old 07-05-2012, 08:58 AM   #8
273
Senior Member
 
Registered: Dec 2011
Location: UK
Distribution: Debian Sid AMD64&i386, Raspbian Jessie, various VMs
Posts: 3,171

Rep: Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738
There are USB sticks with built in AES hardware but I've not seen one yet which works on Linux as they tend to rely on a seperate read-only partition of some kind which runs software to interact with the encrypted partition. The only way around that is to have a keyboard built into the device but obviously this wouldn't work with USB as it does on the hard drives which are out there.
 
Old 07-13-2012, 08:10 AM   #9
lovellview
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
Thank you

Can't find "thread tools" to check the "resolved issue" button. Am amazed at how many quality responses that I received. In answer to why I wanted a secure place to store information, this was a request to me from my sister, a lawyer. I suppose this has something to do with her work. Her son has her using Ubuntu. So at least she is free of the commercial software problems.
 
Old 07-13-2012, 08:14 AM   #10
273
Senior Member
 
Registered: Dec 2011
Location: UK
Distribution: Debian Sid AMD64&i386, Raspbian Jessie, various VMs
Posts: 3,171

Rep: Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738Reputation: 738
You should see a link towards the top of the page to mark this as solved.
I would suggest that, if she isn't already, your sister looks into using an encrypted home partition.
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
How to find out indone information and datablocks information in a file system chaitanya1982 Linux - Newbie 1 09-24-2008 01:58 AM
LXer: TCS, IBM Introduce Linux Guards for Secure Information Sharing LXer Syndicated Linux News 0 08-28-2006 02:54 AM
how can I secure my nis server ?can I use openSSL to secure it form sniffing ? abhi_raj Linux - Networking 1 07-10-2006 06:19 AM
LXer: University of Michigan Selects SSH Tectia for Secure System Administration and Secure File Transfers LXer Syndicated Linux News 0 04-25-2006 12:54 AM
ways to secure data and information of corporate g_arun22 Linux - Security 3 06-01-2003 01:43 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:42 AM.

Main Menu
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
identi.ca: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration