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multiple boot modes for better security: persistent + root | persistent + noroot | live + root | live + noroot

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What about more boot modes:

  • persistent + root
  • persistent + noroot
  • live + root
  • live + noroot

Not all might make sense.

Think of noroot has “hardening” where we can do stuff like noexec, nosuid, no root/sudo possible at all.

boot mode: live + noroot
Could disable SUID easily since non-persistent.

boot mode: live + root
We already have that.

boot mode: persistent + root:
We already have that.

boot mode: persistent + noroot:
Could use (re-)mount to nosuid etc.

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I think they all have their place and the persistent non-root is alright for a default everyday use option. Users can boot into the root mode when needing to install software which is a rarely done action.

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For usability, when users open a terminal emulator, they could be told the current mode they booted into and be explained how to gain root.

And/or Whonix live mode indicator could be modified or another similar systray could be added which gives a graphical indication of root vs non-root mode.

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Activating “Qubes” VM hardening when the non-root option is enabled is a nice additional safety net that shouldn’t hurt usaibility since the target protected folders should not be relevant to a legit user running under this mode.

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1 Like