Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 28th Jul 2017 19:44 UTC

In the last year while talking to respected security-focused engineers & developers, I've come to fully appreciate Google's Chrome OS design. The architecture benefited from a modern view of threat modeling and real-world attacks. For example, Trusted Platform Module (TPM) hardware chips are built into every Chromebook and deeply incorporated into the OS. The design documents go into some detail on the specific protections that TPM provides, particularly around critical encryption functions.

I also learned that Chromebook is the daily driver for many of Google's own senior developers and security engineers. In short, the combination of the underlying Chromebook hardware with the OS architecture makes for a pretty compelling secure development environment.


It's pretty neat to consider the possibility of pre-travel "power washing" (resetting everything clean to factory settings) on an inexpensive Chromebook and later securely restore over the air once at my destination. Since there is a wide range in Chromebook prices, the engineering challenge here was to find something powerful enough to comfortably use exclusively for several days of coding, writing, and presenting, but also cheap enough that should it get lost/stolen/damaged, I wouldn't lose too much sleep. The threat model here does not include recovery from physical tampering; if the machine were somehow confiscated or otherwise out of my custody, I could treat it as a burner and move on.

Interesting guide on how to turn an inexpensive Chromebook into a burner developer device safe for international travel.

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Practical tutorial
by BlueofRainbow on Sat 29th Jul 2017 04:37 UTC
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Interesting and practical tutorial.

This is the first one I have encountered in which the first step is not "Enable Developer Mode".

However, it relies on Termux which in turns requires the Chrome OS - Android "bridge". Many of the devices pre-2015 are not supported by the Chrome-Android bridge even if they have not yet reached their official end-of-life-support date. This includes the Google Pixel 2013.

With increasing airport security measures, I can envision a case for purchasing an inexpensive Chromebook when one arrives at the destination. Even better, one could have a device rental service. Airlines could provide such rental devices as one boards the plane (of course, for a fee) for long flights.

One would just need to carry a removable storage (uSDHC, SDHC, or USB), and a security key to have a truly portable environment.

While not straightforward, it appears feasible to configure the synchronization of the device with one's cloud service while retaining a high level of security of the data and the various accounts and keys used.

From my perspective though, I have yet to see a tutorial which tackles the needs of a non-developer. Engineers, graphic artists, and many others have applications requirements greater than the "Office Suite". Not quite good enough for me yet.

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