'Whonix' appears in the wild, makes your IP harder to find

Open-source operating systems have their ups and downs, but their main upside is that anyone with the know-how can sit down and modify things to fit their own liking. Looking at Linux as the main example, you have your big distributions like Ubuntu and Fedora and their strange little offspring, like Anonymous OS, which I reported on back in March.

Key Anonymous figureheads distanced themselves from this operating system, claiming the download to be packed with trojans and other nasty stuff you wouldn't choose to install on a computer. Now we have another operating system drawing inspiration from Anonymous and their 'hacktivism'.

To give everyone involved credit, Whonix is a much more inventive name than Anonymous OS.

The idea of remaining anonymous online is still one some people are eagerly pursuing. Whonix employs Debian GNU/Linux, Tor, and VirtualBox with the end goal being to mask your IP address entirely. The OS isn't yet complete; the SourceForge page seems to indicate it's at v0.45, with some bugs needing ironed out.

If the idea of remaining anonymous online tickles your fancy, they also encourage you to contribute. The developers seem honest, admitting that there are downsides to Whonix when compared to a traditional operating system. The project was last updated four days ago, and the team have close to 2,000 downloads for their efforts.

Source: Whonix SourceForge
Thanks to developer 'adrelanos', who emailed me about this project!

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22 Comments

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Glassed Silver said,
Meh... VPN all the way.
I don't trust proxies usually.

GS:ios

You should read up on tor, it's not just an ordinary proxy. With proper usage it's near impossible to break its anonymity, with VPNs you still have to trust your VPN provider.

BigSock said,
You should read up on tor, it's not just an ordinary proxy. With proper usage it's near impossible to break its anonymity, with VPNs you still have to trust your VPN provider.

I know the system of TOR quite a bit and don't really trust it as much as VPNs.
Maybe they tackled some of the old problems, but with TOR I have to trust my nodes, which could be anyone really.

My VPN has a whole business to lose, because all it's business revolves around their security and protection of my data.

Also, VPNs can do quite a lot more than TOR does out of the box.
I haven't even started on speed yet...

(Another bonus: VPNs work on any system, TOR doesn't work on iPhones for example)

GS:mac

Glassed Silver said,

I know the system of TOR quite a bit and don't really trust it as much as VPNs.
Maybe they tackled some of the old problems, but with TOR I have to trust my nodes, which could be anyone really.

My VPN has a whole business to lose, because all it's business revolves around their security and protection of my data.

Also, VPNs can do quite a lot more than TOR does out of the box.
I haven't even started on speed yet...

(Another bonus: VPNs work on any system, TOR doesn't work on iPhones for example)

GS:mac

You don't have to trust any nodes if you use a point-to-point encrypted connection (such as https, a VPN provider isn't point-to-point). If you don't (it's not smart to send any unencrypted identifiable information over the internet in any case), only the exit node can read your data, but still doesn't know your IP.

With a VPN you put all your trust in one party. Normally a VPN provider won't just provide your information to anyone, but it can still be forced to do so (such as a court order). It's inherently less anonymous than a correctly used tor setup.

Sure, there are drawbacks too, and speed is one of them. For your use a VPN provider might be more useful for several reasons, but 'trust' shouldn't be one of them.

(Besides, Google tells me tor does work on (jailbroken) iDevices. And android and all major desktop OSes.)

BigSock said,
You don't have to trust any nodes if you use a point-to-point encrypted connection (such as https, a VPN provider isn't point-to-point). If you don't (it's not smart to send any unencrypted identifiable information over the internet in any case), only the exit node can read your data, but still doesn't know your IP.

With a VPN you put all your trust in one party. Normally a VPN provider won't just provide your information to anyone, but it can still be forced to do so (such as a court order). It's inherently less anonymous than a correctly used tor setup.

Sure, there are drawbacks too, and speed is one of them. For your use a VPN provider might be more useful for several reasons, but 'trust' shouldn't be one of them.

(Besides, Google tells me tor does work on (jailbroken) iDevices. And android and all major desktop OSes.)

I don't jailbreak anymore, I hated doing it all the time and all important functionality is now baked-in.

A VPN is fine enough for my needs, I don't do anything that isn't legal in the respective countries I use the servers from and trusting my VPN has its limits.

I wouldn't mindlessly trust them anything.

True, I missed the part about TOR being secure from the first node on by concept, however, depending on my data I send, it doesn't matter if the exit node has my IP or not.
For example emails.
A mail address is enough to have your email inbox get "raided" and then proceeded from there.
Just putting an example here, as the data you send, even sans IP often contains enough information about you. Just saying.
This is something VPNs can or cannot miss, depending whether the ACTUAL direct connection (sans VPN) is encrypted or not. (examples: home banking, SSL'd web shops, etc...)

For some cases it might be a good idea to dual-secure your traffic.
Running your stuff of importance in a dedicated VM is a very good start and you shouldn't cheap out on doing that, then add possibly TOR and combine it with a VPN maybe, this lessens your dependencies to trust anyone or any specific way a lot more.

GS:mac

badmouse said,
LOL, just TOR it and dont be stupid
This IS tor. Just with an extra layer added as protection against malicious software or for example browser exploits. And as an added bonus, you can use it to torify flash and other applications that don't support proxies.

And just for those wondering, yes you could just use TOR on a normal PC (such as windows/mac) but this OS aims to protect all anonymity right down to the kernel level preventing information "leaks" etc.

Auzeras said,
And just for those wondering, yes you could just use TOR on a normal PC (such as windows/mac) but this OS aims to protect all anonymity right down to the kernel level preventing information "leaks" etc.

What a userfolder on a virtual or mounted partition/vhd?
Virtualbox as package default installed...with maybe so preconfigured settings/options/OS's
TOR package installed as default.
No offense but if this thing is just at 0.45V while by using a normal debian and 10minutes of configuring you'll achieve similar results.

spy beef said,
Isn't your IP set by your ISP?

This gateway/proxy virtual machine tunnels your connection via the TOR network. So while the nearest TOR node might get your ISP-assigned IP address, the sites you visit will only get the IP of the TOR exit node.

It pays to read the article. Even a cursory skim would have told you that.

You think that all of the MS and Android fanbois read articles before responding? HA! NOT!

cyberdrone2000 said,

It pays to read the article. Even a cursory skim would have told you that.

Goldfire86 said,
The good old TOR network. Surprised it's still kicking around, especially with the content that can be found on there.

Yeah, you mean the internet...

GS:mac

Glassed Silver said,

Yeah, you mean the internet...

GS:mac

I'll just assume that you're unaware of the content on the TOR network if you're calling it the regular Internet.

Goldfire86 said,

I'll just assume that you're unaware of the content on the TOR network if you're calling it the regular Internet.

Please enlighten me, because obviously I must have missed something here.
I always used it as a proxy service for browsing.

GS:ios