Linux Security Part 2

I already wrote about why I think Linux is the way to go, and why I consider Linux more secure than most commercial operating systems. But what if your favorite distribution gets hacked?

Exactly this happened a little more than a year ago, when the Linux Mint website – probably the most popular Linux distribution – got hacked. The hacker placed a backdoored version of the Linux Mint ISO onto the download page. The perpetrator was also successful in hacking into the forum and stealing all user data and passwords. The user data / passwords are still available for purchase on the dark net, anyone paying the requested amount can download it.

Today, a year later, the Linux Mint forum and community websites are down. In the meantime the site has come up – according to a admin note it was shutdown for maintenance. Continue reading “Linux Security Part 2”

Monitoring Hard Drives Using Smartmontools

Yesterday I wrote about Linux security and the need for monitoring hard drives for failure symptoms. As if this was an omen, today the following message popped up on my screen:

smartmontools
Smartmontools notify: Hard Disk Health Warning

Continue reading “Monitoring Hard Drives Using Smartmontools”

Linux Security

In my “Why Linux” post, I explained the advantages of Linux over commercial operating systems such as Microsoft Windows or Apple OS. In this post I like to point out some of the risks running Linux. The risks are by no means limited to Linux – you run the same or similar risks with all the other OS. So why bother reading this post? Continue reading “Linux Security”

Why Linux

Most PC users will be familiar with Microsoft Windows, some with Apple OS X. But what about Linux?

Linux has become popular as a server OS, but couldn’t win any desktop battle, yet. One of the reasons for Linux’ failure in the desktop market is its fragmentation. There is no Linux operating system, but dozens of different (competing) distributions, as these different flavors of Linux are called. “You got lots of choices” would the Linux aficionado explain.

While the software landscape under Linux has greatly improved, Microsoft is still the king when it comes to commercial software. And the fact that the vast majority of desktops run Windows practically guarantees that hardware will be compatible with Windows, which is not always true for Linux.

So why on earth should a Microsoft Windows user bother with Linux? Continue reading “Why Linux”

IOMMU Groups – What You Need to Consider

Summary

In this post I present some of the challenges you might face with IOMMU and provide tools to identify and perhaps solve the issues.

What is IOMMU and why do I need it?

In my tutorial on how to run Windows 10 on Linux using KVM with VGA Passthrough the first and most important hardware requirement is the support for IOMMU – VT-d in Intel jargon, AMD-v or SVM in AMD talk. But what does IOMMU support mean? Continue reading “IOMMU Groups – What You Need to Consider”

Running Windows 10 on Linux using KVM with VGA Passthrough

The Need

You want to use Linux as your main operating system, but still need Windows for certain applications unavailable under Linux. You need top notch (3D) graphics performance under Windows that you can’t get from VirtualBox or similar virtualization solutions. And you do not want to dual-boot into Linux or Windows. In that case read on.

Many modern CPUs have built-in features that improve the performance of virtual machines (VM), up to the point where virtualized systems are indistinguishable from non-virtualized systems. This allows us to create virtual machines on a Linux host platform without compromising performance of the (Windows) guest system. Continue reading “Running Windows 10 on Linux using KVM with VGA Passthrough”

Glossary of Virtualization Terms

For those of you not (yet) familiar with VGA passthrough, here some common terms used in the how-to: Continue reading “Glossary of Virtualization Terms”

qemu-system-x86_64 -drive options

In an attempt to make the qemu -drive command line options more accessible, here is an extract from the qemu-system-x86_64 man page. You can get the complete man page by entering the following in a terminal window:
man qemu-system-x86_64

The options below are valid for qemu-system-x86_64 version 2.5.0. Newer versions of qemu will likely have some syntax changes. A more complete explanation is available here. Continue reading “qemu-system-x86_64 -drive options”

Define a network bridge using Ubuntu’s / Linux Mint’s Network Manager application

I’m regularly passing large amounts of data between my Windows VM and my Linux host. To avoid bottlenecks, I use a virtual network bridge that creates a 10 GBit link between the guest and the host, enough to challenge the fastest SSD on the market.

When running Ubuntu 16.04 or Linux Mint 18.2, Network Manager offers a convenient way to configure a network bridge.

Here is how you set up a virtual network bridge for connecting a Virtual Machine to the Linux Host. Please note that this will not work with a wireless network connection, at least not without some modifications: Continue reading “Define a network bridge using Ubuntu’s / Linux Mint’s Network Manager application”