Last weekend's CodeCon conference in San Francisco saw the launch of Tinfoil Hat Linux, a self-proclaimed "exercise in over engineering" and security.
What started out as a secure, single floppy, bootable Linux distribution for storing PGP keys, and encrypting, signing and wiping files, turned into a useable Linux distribution for the totally paranoid.
The homepage for Tinfoil Hat Linux claims that the distribution is effective if customers are using a computer that could have a keystroke logger installed, or if they need to use personal PGP keys at work, school or at a web hosting facility where they don't trust or own the equipment.
It is also useful if users maintain a PGP Certificate Authority or signing key and need a safe place to use the key. Or even if they simply don't want to risk putting a PGP key on a hard drive where someone else might have access to it.
Tinfoil Hat Linux protects against worms and viruses as the operating system doesn't support networking. It compiles all binaries statically, and all non-root partitions are mounted with no-execute permissions.
All temporary files are created on an encrypted Ramdisk which is destroyed on shutdown preventing file retrieval "even the PGP key file information can be stored encrypted on the floppy", according to the author.
The operating system even protects against keystroke monitoring by using a video game-style character entry system, like playing Asteroids, instead of typing in a pass phrase.
And if you start the 'Paranoid' options, random encryption keys are generated in the background and random documents are encrypted making it harder to determine when the real encryption is taking place.
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