Safest operating system?

gangrel

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Malware's becoming a major PITA. Exposure risks...even if you try to be safe...are just increasing, and removal is getting to be HARD. So what I am considering is devoting a relatively small box to nothing but the web. Why? If I have to absolutely wipe the box and reinstall, all I'd lose is browser bookmarks.

So...the two options springing to mind are Chrome and Ubuntu. They can also both run on quite inexpensive hardware. Comments on these? Or any other options I should consider? Windows is clearly overkill, and clearly NOT safe. Yes, I can load up on 3 or 4 levels of malware protection in Windows...but that also causes false-blocking problems. (I've seen Avira do this.) If that's the best choice...well...ok. I'll go that way. I'm investigating options.
 

PsyKhiqZero

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VMware player will run on windows 7, 8 and 10 and even windows vista. Just fyi. Unless you talking about the guest, which would be the actual virtual machine. Windows 10 is fine but you can still buy windows 7 and 8.1 keys if your really concerned about it. Of course the guest could run linux if your really opposed to windows.
 

PsyKhiqZero

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I would get another windows license and use windows in a virtual machine. The nice thing is once you have it all set up, you can simply backup the virtual machine and use it to restore the machine instantly when it breaks. You can also move it to a fast thumb drive and take the machine with you on your laptop.

You can get WMware Player for free with a quick google search. Windows Pro has Hyper -V which you can enable. However it's a little less portable as you need windows pro or better to get it.

I recommend getting firefox and using a add on call noscript. Use it as your primary browser in the VM.
 

royalcrown

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Seriously though, one thing to keep in mind if you do any flavor of Linux...be hardwired because wireless card drivers are pretty non existent. Even the ones that are supposed to work don't. I know, I tried a lot of stuff. I have a standard broadcom 4352 and nothing will make it work. Also, it doesent matter which version you try, all no wifi support.



 

DrDanPhD

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If you are intending to build a little box solely - and I mean solely - for the web then I would recommend Linux for practicality if nothing else. It would save the cost of an OS, and that's a chunk saved on the build straight away that can be pocketed or reallocated depending on what you're wanting. It's also relatively light, so you won't need hefty components, and would probably lend itself to older pieces with known drivers and compatibility.

Ultimately though, and as those above me have said, there is nothing that can ensure 100% safety when using the internet. Sure, using a less common operating system may offer a hand in preventing a few of the more direct problems but it won't suddenly stop anything from happening. If you're experiencing constant threats, there has to be a reason behind this. Unless that's changed, then nothing else will matter.
 

gangrel

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USAF: being careful where you go isn't necessarily enough now. Thus, this thread.

Hadn't thought of doing it with a VM. Obviously, killing a VM is nothing.

DrDan: no, not constant threats. I would agree, that suggests browsing in wrong places.

royalcrown: Linux wireless drivers are easier to find now than they were even a few years ago. I have a Zotac CI-320 with Linux on it, through its wireless. I don't recall which chipset it uses. Ubuntu forums also have support on this, so you can find which cards have Linux-installable drivers.

I'm still thinking through options, and this feedback is part of that.
 

USAFRet

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No, "being careful " is not necessarily enough. But it is a MAJOR part of it.

A careless user can get hosed up with any OS.
A careful user can be 'safe' with almost any OS.

A lot depends on what you want to use this system for.
Linux is a good choice for security, if it meets your other software needs. If what you need to do can't be done in Linux, then suggesting Linux is useless.
Same with suggesting Windows or Apple.
 

gangrel

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This box would be for the web almost completely...maybe a music browser. Linux should be enough; Chrome would be enough IF there are no web site problems...it won't run Java or Flash, but hey, that increases safety. :) Think of the problem Yahoo had because of its Flash ads.
 

slgamer

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the Safest one in the world is Chrome IOS its limited though it cant run exe files unless you mod it so stay with windows 7 or 8/10
 

USAFRet

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For this use, LinuxMint or Ubuntu would work quite well.
 

ChromeOS, in the form of laptop or ChromeBook. "Music" - as long as it is MP3, no problems. If you set it up for someone else and don't give him administrative rights, he/she will be safe.
 

PsyKhiqZero

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A Windows vm gives you the most compatibility. You can run vlc, any codec pack you want, any browser you want and any program you want. This makes useful for other things like trying programs and extracting questionable zip files. It also removes any additional learning curve as your probably already very familiar with windows. This removes the temptation to avoid using the VM and just doing it on the host "just this one time". It's been awhile since i've done a linux vm but you may have to hunt down the drivers and such for the VM where as windows works right out the gate. A VM can also take over devices plugged in to the usb slots, such as webcams, usb headsets, flash drives and the like. Again here windows will be much easier to use then Linux.

VM's can also be copied. In my case I have a seperate VM for "office" stuff. Since I'm constantly screwing with my main it's nice to have a machine that is constant that has all my tax info and such on it. This type of safe machine is easier to use with a OS that your familiar with.

There is only 1 way to learn Linux. Ditch windows. and unless your prepared to do that then the added aggro will only deter you from using the VM. The point of the VM in this case it to make life easier so just use windows.
 

gangrel

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I have a Chromebook and a Linux box. I'm reasonably used to Linux's...peccadillos. The VM notion appeals, because it lets me do 2 things in 1 box. The issue may be that it'll have to run on a Win 10 host, and it might be a bit premature to do that. Yeah, I have too many computers. :) There's some stuff that has to be running in Windows, and it would be more convenient to run everything from 1 box...while at the same time, maintaining some safety, but it's NOT absolutely required.
 

PsyKhiqZero

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VMware player will run on windows 7, 8 and 10 and even windows vista. Just fyi. Unless you talking about the guest, which would be the actual virtual machine. Windows 10 is fine but you can still buy windows 7 and 8.1 keys if your really concerned about it. Of course the guest could run linux if your really opposed to windows.
 

gangrel

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VMWare will indeed run on WIndows 10; VirtualBox won't, as of yet. So I installed Player. It didn't like 64-bit Ubuntu; no crisis. I got 32-bit XUbuntu. Took a while to download, but that's OK.

The proof? I'm writing this using Firefox inside XUbuntu inside VMWare on Win 10. It all works. :) The only thing I don't have in XUbuntu is sound...which means that I can't do quite *everything* from here, but rather close enough, I think. I may have to pay somewhat more attention to memory/resources...or, up the memory allocation to the VM. I tend to have a dozen or so tabs open, and that might add up. I can work on that as I go along, tho.

Oh, and it wasn't so much that I was against Windows...just, why buy another license when it's not needed? If I really, really want sound...ok, maybe, at that point. But for now this is fine.
 

itmoba

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There is no "safest OS," and what you've asked is a fairly loaded question. Even if your computer isn't connected to the internet, someone can always "Tom Cruise, Mission Impossible" the thing, though I doubt it's very likely someone would go through all that effort. If your question is, "what's the safest practical OS out-of-box," my answer would be OpenBSD -- but, I say this knowing that the said response is very subjective. My suggestion? Run a live-distribution on a virtual machine. You'll need to update the live-distribution accordingly (i.e., you don't do software installs in the normal fashion and instead tweak the distribution ISO as needed). This process is a little more intense than installing software by the usual normal venues and typically too complex for the average user. The bright side to this, however, is that each time you spin it up you'll get a clean and up-to-date VM instance.
 

gangrel

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I am NEVER gonna worry about someone going Mission Impossible or NCIS on my system. That's a straw man that's been run through an incinerator. If THAT were my concern, I DARN sure wouldn't be asking here.

Valid point that an extra level of security would be possible by rebuilding from a distro every time. Seems like the hard part would be updating the distro. And it's an open question whether the additional security would be worth the trouble of the extra steps. Overall, I don't see that. And there's another reason: I can't completely avoid using the net on the host. Windows update, if nothing else.

OH, quick point about drivers. I think VMWare is covering MOST of that for you. One thing I know: my VM tells me, it's on a wired connection. The *computer* isn't; it's on wireless. So I'm thinking that the VM creates a port that acts like a wired connection. I had NO configuration I had to actually do. It's working quite well so far.
 
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