Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 2nd Feb 2013 01:47 UTC, submitted by rohan_p
OSNews, Generic OSes "Whonix is a project to build an operating system that will offer the maximum privacy and anonymity possible straight out of the box. Its creator, 'Adrelanos', says the aim is to make it as hard as possible for privacy-conscious users to make missteps when it comes to remaining anonymous. 'It also provides loads of documentation and possibilities for interested users to make it even more secure,' he says." We've already covered Whonix before.
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Comment by Laurence
by Laurence on Sat 2nd Feb 2013 13:35 UTC
Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

I didn't spot the first item (it was over Christmas so didn't spend much time on news sites - or even online)

Anyway, re Whonix:
Why are they using VirtualBox? Surely OpenVZ would be better suited for this - completely sandboxed networking and containers are harder to break out of than Virtual machines (which, for the record, a skilled hacker can escape so the "no malware" argument of theirs is a little ignorant). Plus containers will have a much lower footprint than VirtualBox.

In fact pretty most other virtualisation solution would have a lower foot print than VBox, so that would have been my last choice of software to use (not that there's anything wrong with VirtualBox for home use, but I wouldn't recommend having an OS dependant on two VBox VMs running constantly if you actually want said OS not to perform like a dog on modest hardware.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Laurence
by Alfman on Sat 2nd Feb 2013 16:25 in reply to "Comment by Laurence"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Laurence,

"Why are they using VirtualBox? Surely OpenVZ would be better suited for this - completely sandboxed networking and containers are harder to break out of than Virtual machines..."

What makes you say this? Now I don't know the particulars of VBox (I'm a KVM user myself), but in general within a VM the networking is completely sandboxed as well. The virtual network traffic cannot just jump onto the host's network stack unless they're bound somehow.


"(which, for the record, a skilled hacker can escape so the 'no malware' argument of theirs is a little ignorant)."

You'll have to forgive me if I have my doubts, maybe OpenVZ is more secure, but such claims deserve to be backed by hard evidence.


"...Plus containers will have a much lower footprint than VirtualBox. In fact pretty most other virtualisation solution would have a lower foot print than VBox..."

I can believe this, I had read that VirtualBox is slower than KVM (which is also VM based) due to the progressive state of virtual io drivers in KVM. I don't think your loosing that much to virtualization with the right hardware extensions enabled, maybe 5-10%, but that's an educated guess.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Laurence
by terra on Sun 3rd Feb 2013 07:06 in reply to "RE: Comment by Laurence"
terra Member since:
2012-11-01

I don't think your loosing that much to virtualization with the right hardware extensions enabled, maybe 5-10%, but that's an educated guess.


What user would see is not merely the 5-10% overhead of VM. Rather the overhead of OS inside the VM as well as other overhead of layers, which would be more than 20 or 30% in the end.

Actually, on my late 2011 MBP with i5 24Ghz, I feel like it is actually less than 50% of application running natively.

5-10% is barebone perfomance of VM against barehone perfomance is actual hardware I rekon.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Laurence
by Laurence on Sun 3rd Feb 2013 12:34 in reply to "RE: Comment by Laurence"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

What makes you say this? Now I don't know the particulars of VBox (I'm a KVM user myself), but in general within a VM the networking is completely sandboxed as well. The virtual network traffic cannot just jump onto the host's network stack unless they're bound somehow.

The issue isn't with the network breaking out, but services. VMs still borrow services from the host environment (see the example posted below). Once you've gained shell access to the host, it doesn't really matter if the network is sandboxed because you're gaining root on the host without having to touch the host's NATing.

You'll have to forgive me if I have my doubts, maybe OpenVZ is more secure, but such claims deserve to be backed by hard evidence.

Cetainly, it was bad of me not to cite any evidence:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCPFlwSCmvU


What makes you say this? Now I don't know the particulars of VBox (I'm a KVM user myself), but in general within a VM the networking is completely sandboxed as well. The virtual network traffic cannot just jump onto the host's network stack unless they're bound somehow.

Not all hardware supports extensions and paravirtualisation will always perform faster than hardware emulation. Which is where containers come into their own: you're using the host hardware and kernel but everything else is sandboxed.

You can even do snapshots and a number of other VM-centric tools with containers too.

Don't get me wrong, VMs do have their place too - I'm not trying to argue that containers are the holy grail of virtualisation (though technically not virtualisation), but I honestly do think containers are a massively underrated and overlooked tool ;)

Edited 2013-02-03 12:37 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3