Whonix: Anonymous operating system

Cyber Chief Magazine brings you the tactics to uncover and neutralize the insider threat

Whonix is an anonymous general purpose operating system based on Virtual Box, Ubuntu GNU/Linux and Tor. By Whonix design, IP and DNS leaks are impossible. Not even malware with root rights can find out the user’s real IP/location.

Whonix consists of two machines, which are connected through an isolated network. One machine acts as the client or Whonix-Workstation, the other as a proxy or Whonix-Gateway, which will route all of the Whonix-Workstation’s traffic through Tor. This setup can be implemented either through virtualization and/or Physical Isolation.

Whonix advantages:

  • All applications, including those, which do not support proxy settings, will automatically be routed through Tor.
  • Installation of any software package possible.
  • Safe hosting of Hidden services possible.
  • Protection against side channel attacks, no IP or DNS leaks possible^3^ To test for leaks, see LeakTests.
  • Advantage over Live CD’s: Tor’s data directory is still available after reboot, due to persistent storage. Tor requires persistent storage to save it’s Entry Guards.
  • Java / JavaScript / flash / Browser Plugins / misconfigured applications cannot leak your real external IP.
  • Whonix does even protect against root exploits (Malware with root rights) on the Workstation.
  • Uses only Free Software.
  • Building Whonix from source is easy.
  • Tor+Vidalia and Tor Browser are not running inside the same machine. That means that for example an exploit in the browser can’t affect the integrity of the Tor process.
  • It is possible to use Whonix setup in conjunction with VPNs, ssh and other proxies. But see Tor plus VPN/proxies Warning. Everything possible, as first chain or last chain, or both.
  • Loads of Optional Configurations (additional features / Add-Ons) available.
  • Best possible Protocol-Leak-Protection and Fingerprinting-Protection.