*NIX External VM & More

Discuss the security implications of the various flavors of linux and unix

*NIX External VM & More

Post by Nettles on Mon Apr 02, 2012 12:05 am
([msg=65415]see *NIX External VM & More[/msg])

I have a few questions for some folks more knowledgeable than I am. I know that a *NIX OS can run in a Virtual Machine on an external drive, and the general consensus online is that it has better performance than if the VM were installed on the Machine's hard drive. Can anyone confirm or deny based on personal experience?

My next question pertains to which flavor of *NIX I should choose. The machine I plan on running it with is a Sony Vaio VGN-NW-270f that I use for work, school, and 'play.' The reason I want to run a *NIX OS from an external drive is because I want to retain my Win7 and files on my machine. (and maintain the appearance that the computer only has one bootable OS.) All files that I obtain, create, etc. will remain on the external disk, which I'm hoping will keep all (or most) traces of traffic off of my Vaio.

I have a healthy respect for old style Unix and I'd love to learn its commands and processes and go back to (or somewhere close to) the roots of computing. I have considered Linux as my OS of choice because it is more modern and based on Unix, with more compatibility with programs and support than Unix. (however, typing commands into a BASH shell to get information I want would be a good learning opportunity as opposed to using a GUI to do everything for me.)

I guess I should probably give some info on my experience and habits so you guys can help me make a choice on OS. I work as an off-the-books IT professional for a small company called WebNetworx. I have a pretty rudimentary grounding in Active Directory, Group Policy, and a pretty solid understanding of Networking, DNS, and Firewall systems. I know very little in the way of Python, JavaScript, and HTML, but I consider myself a clever thinker and quick learner. I use BitTorrent from time to time, so if there is a particular *NIX that supports Torrent clients, please consider that. I'm kinda leery of people poking around in my business. I want to start moving away from Win# because my job will continue my education in their systems, and I want to branch off and learn something new.

In closing, these are my questions:

In your personal experience, does running an OS on an external drive render better performance than if the VM were installed directly on a machine?

What flavor of *NIX is right for me in your opinion? (consider I like privacy, versatility, and control, but if I FUBAR something, I want to be able to find support to help me fix it.)

If I operate completely from a VM on an external drive, other than the packets flowing through my router, will there be any trace of data left on the computer on their way to the external drive? Also, is it feasible to ENCRYPT the external hard drive? Or would it interfere with connectivity in some way?

The reason I brought these questions to the forums is to see some discussion on the topic. I want to see more than just wikipedia articles.

Finally, an extra idea I had at the last second, is it feasible to install both UNIX and Linux to the external drive and just share data and boot either OS depending on my mood? Or is it just a silly pipe dream?

(I apologize if any of you consider my questions stupid.)
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Re: *NIX External VM & More

Post by anarchy420x on Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:22 am
([msg=65417]see Re: *NIX External VM & More[/msg])

Where to start...

Ok, I don't know the legality behind using "bit torrents" or "utorrent". So, to that I will let someone else answer too, and since you "seem" to be new to the threads I'll leave you this.
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Don't worry, I'm not going to be a terrible person and leave you empty handed.


Nettles wrote:I have a few questions for some folks more knowledgeable than I am. I know that a *NIX OS can run in a Virtual Machine on an external drive, and the general consensus online is that it has better performance than if the VM were installed on the Machine's hard drive. Can anyone confirm or deny based on personal experience?


I don't have any experiences with Virtual Machines, but I could take a guess at what they are. It seems illogical that making extra processes will generate better performance. It's like saying adding a few turns in the road makes a car go faster. I could be wrong, others here will help you more with that.

Nettles wrote: My next question pertains to which flavor of *NIX I should choose. The machine I plan on running it with is a Sony Vaio VGN-NW-270f that I use for work, school, and 'play.' The reason I want to run a *NIX OS from an external drive is because I want to retain my Win7 and files on my machine. (and maintain the appearance that the computer only has one bootable OS.) All files that I obtain, create, etc. will remain on the external disk, which I'm hoping will keep all (or most) traces of traffic off of my Vaio.


If your computer only has one OS on it's internal hard drive, then it only has one OS. I used Ubuntu for a while; it was fun and pretty good for beginning. I didn't really dig into it as I used it for my TV, but it served me well. I would suggest running a Linix and unix if you are interested in both, but remember you only have so much time to mess around with both. You can duel boot off of your internal if you reduce your windows partition and create a new partition. I would suggest running any additional OS's off of an external, CD, or flash drive if you plan on keeping your hacking life low key. Limidis put it very well in this post. http://www.hackthissite.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=79&t=8503&sid=bf43c0afcee7ce66916085029361988b

Nettles wrote: I have a healthy respect for old style Unix and I'd love to learn its commands and processes and go back to (or somewhere close to) the roots of computing. I have considered Linux as my OS of choice because it is more modern and based on Unix, with more compatibility with programs and support than Unix. (however, typing commands into a BASH shell to get information I want would be a good learning opportunity as opposed to using a GUI to do everything for me.)


Like I said, get both. Don't limit yourself. You don't have to own a combustion engine to learn about them, but it helps if you do.

Nettles wrote: I guess I should probably give some info on my experience and habits so you guys can help me make a choice on OS. I work as an off-the-books IT professional for a small company called WebNetworx. I have a pretty rudimentary grounding in Active Directory, Group Policy, and a pretty solid understanding of Networking, DNS, and Firewall systems. I know very little in the way of Python, JavaScript, and HTML, but I consider myself a clever thinker and quick learner. I use BitTorrent from time to time, so if there is a particular *NIX that supports Torrent clients, please consider that. I'm kinda leery of people poking around in my business. I want to start moving away from Win# because my job will continue my education in their systems, and I want to branch off and learn something new.


again, I refer you to what limidis posted, and what I said above about Torrenting.

Nettles wrote: In closing, these are my questions:

In your personal experience, does running an OS on an external drive render better performance than if the VM were installed directly on a machine?


No experience, sorry

Nettles wrote: What flavor of *NIX is right for me in your opinion? (consider I like privacy, versatility, and control, but if I FUBAR something, I want to be able to find support to help me fix it.)


I like ubuntu, but google will always be your friend if something goes wrong.

Nettles wrote: If I operate completely from a VM on an external drive, other than the packets flowing through my router, will there be any trace of data left on the computer on their way to the external drive? Also, is it feasible to ENCRYPT the external hard drive? Or would it interfere with connectivity in some way?


I would like to point out that you don't need to run a VM on your hard drive to boot an OS. You can simply create a partition for it granted you have enough space. From what I have read, you should encrypt, always. Others will answer these questions better.

Nettles wrote: The reason I brought these questions to the forums is to see some discussion on the topic. I want to see more than just wikipedia articles.


Glad to see you've done some searching on your own. Also, I appreciate the questions.

Nettles wrote: Finally, an extra idea I had at the last second, is it feasible to install both UNIX and Linux to the external drive and just share data and boot either OS depending on my mood? Or is it just a silly pipe dream?


I have no idea about sharing data, but yes you can duel boot.

Nettles wrote: (I apologize if any of you consider my questions stupid.)


That's ok, I used duel instead of dual in answering you. Personally, I like duel better, and it has some symbolism to the topic at hand.
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Re: *NIX External VM & More

Post by Nettles on Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:08 pm
([msg=65427]see Re: *NIX External VM & More[/msg])

@anarchy420x, thank you for your swift reply. I don't plan on doing anything illegal. Torrenting in and of itself is not against the law; it's simply a tool to share information and data. There are some bad seeds that go about posting copyrighted material, but I don't 'support' piracy per se. The whole purpose of the external drive is to use a VM (or 2) containing the OSs. Without it, I don't have any desire to keep Linux or UNIX on my physical machine. Dual booting is looking more and more like what I'm going to end up doing, but the question still stands as to what flavors I'll choose. (I will consider Ubuntu, though, thanks for the suggestion.) I like the link you posted, there's definitely some great information there about staying anonymous and on tippy-toes, but like I stated earlier, I don't plan on doing anything illegal. And if I did, I wouldn't be asking for help facilitating said illegal activities~
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Re: *NIX External VM & More

Post by anarchy420x on Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:28 pm
([msg=65433]see Re: *NIX External VM & More[/msg])

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_machine

Take a look at that article. I could be miss taking you and/or the article, but a Virtual Machine or System Virtual Machine is not necessary to running multiple OS's. You can install the OS onto your external and multiple if you partition for it. Running a SVM for an OS would be equivalent to running a Virtual Drive for a .iso to play a game you have backed up on your computer. Seemingly, an SVM would give you better privacy, but less performance. How much? I can't say. If you have a flash drive or some blank CD's laying a bout, you can try out different OS's before you stick with one.

With a SVM you can run multiple OS's at the same time on the same computer. With a simple program you can set each of the OS's to do tasks much like what was done in this thread. http://www.hackthissite.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=8507&sid=c7309d676129d13e17e465b9648854d8 Each of your OS's should have different identities being that they are being run on their own computers. That being said, be careful what you do with that.

I would highly suggest looking up everything I said, because I don't have any solid experience with anything here other than installing OS's and changing partitions. A quick Google search and some lingering knowledge in the corners of my mind put this together, so let me know if I am incorrect on anything. I would appreciate it; this is a beautiful way to learn.
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Re: *NIX External VM & More

Post by Nettles on Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:05 pm
([msg=65435]see Re: *NIX External VM & More[/msg])

Despite how many virtual machines, different OSs, and tricks I try to use, the VMs will still use my computer's MAC address and public IP since they believe they truly are on my machine. However, that makes me wonder if it's possible to spoof a MAC address inside a VM but not on the host machine...
As we speak I'm loading up Ubuntu on my USB drive to test it out. (yes it is bootable.)
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Re: *NIX External VM & More

Post by anarchy420x on Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:38 pm
([msg=65438]see Re: *NIX External VM & More[/msg])

That's what I did when I tried out ubuntu
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Re: *NIX External VM & More

Post by fashizzlepop on Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:42 pm
([msg=65439]see Re: *NIX External VM & More[/msg])

If you want something more controllable than Ubuntu I would suggest Arch Linux. It will teach you a lot and there is great support for it here, on its wiki, and on IRC. As for running it on a VM, that would work fine. I would save the hard drive to your main HDD as that would be faster than if it was on an external.

All Linux distros will have torrent clients.

Also, it's rather easy to dual boot linux. Google it.
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Re: *NIX External VM & More

Post by Nettles on Mon Apr 02, 2012 6:21 pm
([msg=65440]see Re: *NIX External VM & More[/msg])

@fashizzlepop thank you for your input, it certainly won't hurt to take a look at that version. Is there a particular encryption method anyone prefers to others?
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