Linux Live CD Boots up a Way to Avoid Malware

Ralph DeFrangesco

I found a great idea about avoiding malware that I just had to share with you. After I read it, I said to myself, "duh." We all know that much of the malware written today targets the Windows operating system, since it's number one on the desktop.


What the article, from The Washington Post, suggests is that you can use a Linux Live CD to boot from and turn your Windows-based PC into a Linux PC, temporarily. So by now you are scratching your head and asking, why would I want to do this?


There are three reasons to consider this option. First, the media is not re-writeable. The assumption is that you do not load a bootable Live OS onto a writeable device such as a USB drive. So, if someone were to attack your machine, they could not write files to your operating system. Malware typically involves transferring files to a victim's PC. The second reason is that the malware that runs on Windows, and there is plenty of it, will not run on Linux. So, if there is a keylogger installed on your Windows PC, it will not capture the keystrokes when you boot under the Linux Live CD. Finally, there just is not as much malware written that runs on Linux as there is with Windows. This will change as Linux takes over more of the desktop - and you may have other opinions on this also.


Look at this from a practical perspective. What would we use this for? I can see a company using this idea with a kiosk, perhaps a coffee shop that offers Internet access, or a company that offers guest accounts. The advantage is that you boot from a secure operating system, do your work and then shut down. Everything in memory, written to the temporary operating system, is completely wiped clean. You can then reboot into Windows or back into Linux.


I think this is a great alternative for small companies that offer customers or guests temporary access to the Internet. It's secure, easy to do, and best of all, it's free.

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