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Re: Security and dual booting/running in VM Windows and Linux

On Mon, 4 Oct 2010 09:39:00 +0100
Lisi <lisi.reisz@gmail.com> wrote:

> I have no metrics myself against which to measure this.  I have
> Googled, but have found it difficult to distinguish the FUD and
> biased/inaccurate information from the "real" - and reliable -
> information.  I would be glad of some opinions from the list.
> If I set up a computer to dual boot Windows and Linux (specifically
> Debian Lenny) does the fact that Windows is sharing the computer in
> any way jeopardise the security of the Linux installation?

Highly unlikely, windows viruses generally dont run under wine,
and windows cant even read linux partitions unless you install a driver.

And even then, there are very few linux viruses/Trojans in the wild.
> Does it make any difference whether they are in separate partitions
> on the same disk or on separate HDDs?

Not really.

> Would running Windows in a VM from Linux make the Linux host less
> secure than dual booting, or more so?  Would the Linux host in fact
> be more/less/equally secure than/as it would be if Windows were not
> on the box at all?

You can get exploits aimed at virtual machines which aim to infect the
host, but again, rare and not normally aimed at someone running Windows
via virtual box or the like.

In general, when dual booting, what happens to one OS only happens to
that OS (unless you mess up the partition record or something).

If the worst happens, you can just whip out the windows partition and

The main headaches with dual booting are, having to reboot (obviously),
bootloader issues (windows overwriting grub, other iffy drm overwriting
grub, see adobe stuff), but you gain all the advantages of running the
OS on the metal.

VM's are nice for running one or two programs from within the host OS,
but if your application needs high performance 3D, you will find using
a VM lacking, also, on a lower power system, running windows on-top of
linux can leave you running into ram and cpu limitations.

Sorry if this ramble about general VM stuff is unneeded!

The short version is, the risks with dual booting or using a self
contained vm (eg not a vm which shares the hosts kernel) are minimal
and not worth worrying about.

> Thanks,
> Lisi


Angus Hedger

Debian GNU/Linux User	PGP Public Key 0xEE6A4B97

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