Author Topic: Any ideas for expendable browsers, or how to air-gap the storage area?  (Read 882 times)

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Offline RoGeorge

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I think I've been hacked.  Clicked a link yesterday, and instead of a video, the login screen appeared.  I've jumped and cut the mains power, but it didn't boot after that.  I've tried to restore from a day before, but that didn't work either, so I've formatted and start reinstalling all anew.  Though, I am thinking maybe I shouldn't use the same PC for browsing and for working (hobby stuff, at home).  In case you wonder what I've clicked, it was a link from wikileaks, curious what could be that compromising that it's posted as Assange's dead man switch.  Now I'm both scared and annoyed for reinstalling and configuring everything again.  The old OS was Ubuntu Focal Fossa.  Posting from a USB stick now.   :-\

I'm thinking from now on to use some sort of one-time use only browser, running in RAM only if possible, IDK.  Something that in case a ransomware is compromising the browser, at least it won't encrypt or delete my files.  I do not have enough storage to duplicate all on a backup location.

I could use a RaspberryPi for browsing only, but I prefer something to run on the main desktop, so to benefit from its faster hardware.

Not sure if a software solution could separate well enough, I'm thinking adding a mechanical switch for the WAN cable, maybe some relays to control the power connectors of the disk, too, so to power up the storage disk only when needed.   :-//

Online MK14

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Re: Any ideas for expendable browsers, or how to air-gap the storage area?
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2021, 04:35:14 pm »
I'm suspicious that you may have worried too much, about your computer security. Rather than necessarily, had your computer attacked. But maybe it has been ?

There are specially secure operating systems, you could install on your desktop computer. Here is one such list:

Qubes OS, compartmentalizes your computer, into a number of 'isolated' virtual machines. Which can't easily mess/interfere with each other. So, even if one such section, got 'hacked'. It would be prevented from attacking/infesting the rest of your computer.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2021, 04:45:37 pm by MK14 »

Offline golden_labels

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Re: Any ideas for expendable browsers, or how to air-gap the storage area?
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2021, 04:45:46 pm »
To me it looks like Xorg or Wayland crashed while rendering a video, not malware. Whatever it was, let’s continue with the assumption that you want to protect yourself against browser exploits.

There is no 100% certain way to prevent infection. Other than using a separate computer, which is cumbersome and only approximately 100% sure.

The closest you can get is either running the browser in a virtual machine yourself or using an operating system dedicated for exactly that use case: Qubes OS. Other than that you may simply use either containers (e.g. through systemd-nspawn or similar) or run the browser as a separate user, but be aware this is only preventing simple attacks: any application having access to either Xorg or Wayland, even from another user, has control over the server. The attack would need to be specifically crafted against that situation and therefore is unlikely, but you should be aware of that shortcoming.

However, ask yourself if it’s worth the effort. Backing up the important files shouldn’t take too much space. And the rest is probably much less important than you think.
You are grounded! — said mom to pin 11 of an LM324 op-amp
Worth watching: Calling Bullshit — protect your friends and yourself from bullshit!

Offline Lindley

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Re: Any ideas for expendable browsers, or how to air-gap the storage area?
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2021, 08:48:15 pm »
When you say " restore "  what are you using ?

We use System Images from free to use programs  like Marcrium Reflect and if something goes badly wrong we readily restore a previous image in 5 minutes and we are back up and working.
You can do such full backups of C drive, again in 5-10mins,  to a USB drive, weekly or monthly etc so very little lost.

If we are looking to install and try some very big program suite we will do a System Image backup first as insurance against any system changes etc.

What about your Antivirus and Browers, did none of them give you any warnings ?

Many sites you are not familiar with may put up a Log In page, so as already said, think you might have reacted too hastily, though no idea what went wrong with your  Restore ?

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