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  1. Certification Invigilator Forum Admin JDMurray's Avatar
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    #1

    Default Need Linux-based Web browser virtual image

    I am looking for a Linux distro that has a minimal kernel and uses a Web browser (FireFox) as a command shell. I need to create a virtual appliance that is only used for Web browsing. I'll run the image in VMWare Player or VirtualBox and use it for surfing and experimenting with unsafe Web sites. I do not want to install an entire Linux desktop distro only to use the Web browser. I'm looking for something small that starts up quickly.

    Anyone know of such a Linux distro? I didn't find anything like this on distrowatch.org.
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  3. Junior Member
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    #2
    maybe something like damn small linux used with Links browser is what your looking for. 50 mb base install can run from live cd, usb.

    http://damnsmalllinux.org/

    http://www.jikos.cz/~mikulas/links/
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    #3
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  5. Certification Invigilator Forum Admin JDMurray's Avatar
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by arcanium
    DSL looks very interesting, but it isn't distributed as a VM image, so I'll give it a try later.

    Quote Originally Posted by HeroPsycho
    This looks to be exactly what I need! And I like the fact it's advertised through VMWare. But it's quite old (FireFox 1.5) and only distributed via BitTorrent. I have the latest BitTorrent client (6.0.3), but I have never been able to get BT to work for me, despite having all the required ports open on my firewall. I'll have to find another source for this appliance.

    Thanks.
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  6. Certification Invigilator Forum Admin JDMurray's Avatar
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    #5
    I actually found a hardware solution for my virtual browsing environment needs. I was listening to the Security Now! podcast #135 with the interview of the CEO of IronKey, who has developed a really cool secure USB flash drive. One of the features of the more advanced model is the ability to run FireFox entirely on the USB drive without writing to the local computer. This is not quite as safe as running FF in a VM, but I still find it useful. IronKey also has its own Tor network and provides a safe and anonymous Web surfing service for its customers too.

    IronKey does not currently support booting and directly running a VM directly from the USB device, but IronKey is working with Moka5 to remedy that problem. I'm really looking forward to one day running a VM guest OS entirely in a flash drive.
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    #6
    I was listening to Security Now months and months ago and they mentioned a program called Sandboxie that lets you put any application in to its own sandbox. Even works with Firefox and Internet Explorer.
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  8. Certification Invigilator Forum Admin JDMurray's Avatar
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    #7
    Sandboxie look like a really cool app and I'm gonna give it a try. Unfortunately, only a file system sandbox isn't going to protect my computer from memory-resident malware that can infect other programs in memory. A completely isolated memory space is the one huge advantage that a VM environment has over a sandbox environments, like Sandboxie and IronKey.
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  9. Senior Member wd40's Avatar
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by JDMurray
    Quote Originally Posted by arcanium
    DSL looks very interesting, but it isn't distributed as a VM image, so I'll give it a try later.
    I think it is available as an image, I have not tried it.

    http://www.vmware.com/appliances/directory/959
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  10. Certification Invigilator Forum Admin JDMurray's Avatar
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    #9
    Good find. I didn't think to look on VMWare's site for DSL. But now I'm back to the problem of being unable to figure out how to get BitTorrent working. I need to look for (legal) VMWare images on other P2P networks.
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    #10
    Give uTorrent a shot: http://www.utorrent.com/ It's a small, full-feature bittorrent client.

    I'm not sure why you're having so many problems. Is there a decent number of seeds and peers as well as a healthy ratio between the two for the file(s) you're trying to snag? I usually get 400-600k or more when grabbing linux ISOs. I usually go with BT because it's often faster than a lot of the HTTP/FTP offerings.
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  12. Certification Invigilator Forum Admin JDMurray's Avatar
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    #11
    The BitTorrent client fails to login to a server or any server. Looks like a firewall problem, but I've got all the BT port forwarded to my server. I'll play with it some more this weekend.
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    #12
    how hard is it to create your own VM appliance for this project? DSL or maybe knoppix as a VM appliance and drop it on a USB drive. I have never researched the how to's or in's and out's but sounds pretty neat.
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    #13
    Hm. I'm pretty sure BT works without port-forwarding. I think port-forwarding just gives you a speed boost since you can accept incoming connections that you didn't initiate. Any chance your ISP is blocking BT traffic? I think you can change the ports if necessary, and I know some clients offer encryption options. Try experimenting with those if all else fails.
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  15. Certification Invigilator Forum Admin JDMurray's Avatar
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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by larkspur
    how hard is it to create your own VM appliance for this project? DSL or maybe knoppix as a VM appliance and drop it on a USB drive. I have never researched the how to's or in's and out's but sounds pretty neat.
    I don't know how to create them either. How to create custom VM appliances would be a great topic for a blog article. Hmmm...

    Quote Originally Posted by dynamik
    Any chance your ISP is blocking BT traffic?
    My ISP doesn't block any other P2P traffic, so I don't think they specifically slam BT.

    UPDATE: I got the BT client working by simply rebooting my computer. I'm downloading a bunch of VMWare appliances and will give them a try.
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