gentoo-hardened November 2008 archive
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gentoo-hardened: Re: [gentoo-hardened] hardened workstation - is

Re: [gentoo-hardened] hardened workstation - is that worth it?

From: RB <aoz.syn_at_nospam>
Date: Tue Nov 25 2008 - 21:47:36 GMT

On Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 14:12, Jan Klod <> wrote:
> On Tuesday 25 November 2008 19:58:42 RB wrote:
>> KDE (and to a lesser extent X) pretty much nullifies most application
>> isolation efforts you're going to make.
> Well, then I would like to ask your opinion about other available window
> managers. Any better solutions in a direction "stupid and safe"?

On my part, none. All my hardened boxes are headless servers and my GUI workstations have disposable configurations. Even if stepping away from a window manager and all its associated programs, you still have X and the numerous associated security holes (Javier outlined those well).

For keyloggers, X is designed so that any application you allow to connect to it can capture any of your keystrokes. That means that regardless of whether you're running X as user1, google earth as user2, and firefox as user3, both of those applications can pick up all of your keystrokes. Since you're running as separate users, you have already (implicitly or not) allowed those users to freely connect to your X session. Game over.

X and window managers used to be much more unfriendly, you had to do things like 'xhost +root@localhost' to allow root to pop up an Nmap GUI. Now, they all handle those things behind the scenes and for the most part get it right for the large majority of users. This is our reality as desktop Linux tries to appeal to a broader audience.