SP’s: Qubes OS is a free and open-source software (FOSS) that takes the security standards to a new level. It makes use of Xen Hypervisor and works on the Principle of least privileges.
While building an operating system, stability and functionality is one of the top preferences of the team. Another big aspect of an OS deals with the level of security it provides. The threat of cyber attacks and hacking is on the rise – so security of an operating system is becoming more and more important.
In the past, we have seen that by exploiting a simple flaw in the OS, hackers are able to control your entire life. They can access your online accounts, bank details and other personal identifiable information (PII). Last week only, I wrote an article on how your PII is being sold on the Dark Web for just $1 and how to detect if you’ve been hacked.
In this article, I’m going to tell you about a new hybrid and open source operating system called Qubes OS. Qubes is free and open-source software (FOSS). So, everyone is free to use, change, and copy the OS in any way as its source code is available.
This operating system is security-oriented and runs on the mechanism called ‘Security by Isolation’ or Software Compartmentalization. This means that everything inside the Qubes OS runs inside the virtual machines to follow the Principle of least privileges.
The Qubes OS assumes that there could be no perfectly safe environment that is bug-free as during the multiple interactions made by the OS, there are a very high chances of some code being malicious. In simpler languages, it works by assuming that your computer is already under the attack.
Qubes OS is a hybrid distribution made of Linux and Xen. Let me tell you more about Xen as it might be a new term for many of you. Xen is a Bare-Metal or Native Hypervisor that is based on a microkernel, offering services that allow it to run multiple operating systems on a single hardware simultaneously.
Talking about new terms, a Hypervisor is a computer software, hardware or a firmware that allows multiple operating systems to make uses of a single hardware and each OS uses the host’s CPU, RAM and other resources. Xen, which is a Bare Meta or Native Hypervisor, promises Software Compartmentalization and better security.
To hack Qubes OS based on the Xen Hypervisor, the attacker should first destroy the Hypervisor, which is very tough, to gain control over the system.
Qubes OS supports all the operating systems like Linux distros, Microsoft Windows, and Whonix. So, the virtualization is performed by Xen, and user environments can be based on Linux, Whonix, and Windows.
The OS only establishes Tor-based layer communications to embed more security into the system.
After the 5 months of the initial release of Qubes 3.0-rc-1, the final Qubes OS 3.0 is now available. As I mentioned earlier, it’s an open-source software (FOSS)- and you can download it here and get more information about it.
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