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Qubes OS: A reasonably secure operating system

All operating systems, both free and non-free, are vulnerable to attacks from bad people. Just a simple action – opening random PDFs or Word/LibreOffice docs, running bash one-liners from Reddit, plugging in a cute USB stick shaped like a penguin you found on the sidewalk – and it could spell game over for your computer. Even if an attacker doesn’t gain root access to your computer, your files are still left to be damaged or stolen, and your online identity is exposed to abuse.

Qubes OS seeks to minimize that potential for damage.

Under Qubes, your machine runs a graphical desktop environment/window manager and all your other software runs in compartmentalized virtual machines, with limits on what hardware they access and how they communicate with one another. This is done in a usable manner, and you don’t have to be a virtual machine expert to get it set up!

In this talk, I will show you various features of Qubes. From opening random PDFs and Word/LibreOffice documents in disposable VMs, to managing anonymous identities, to keeping your password databases and GPG keys in offline compartmentalized virtual machines, and more! This is not a in-depth discussion of Qubes, and beginners are more than welcome!

Disclaimer: I’m not a Qubes developer. I’m just a fan. (nerdface emoji)

“If you’re serious about security, Qubes OS is the best OS available today,” says famous whistleblower and activist Edward Snowden. “It’s what I use, and free. Nobody does VM isolation better.”


Emmanuel Morales

Emmanuel Morales

Emmanuel Morales (they/them) is a security researcher, a lover of coffee, secure computers, and civil liberties. They also contribute to free software projects in their spare time.