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Re: Virtual Machines - what is their use?

On Tue, 2010-10-12 at 16:01 +0100, Matthew wrote:
> If an individual is using Tor, Polipo, Torbutton, NoScript, and 
> BetterPrivacy then why is a VM needed?
> How can VMs improve one's Tor experience? 

Presume you are being pursued by the Illuminati, because you alone have
knowledge of the Holder of the Fourth (you lucky devil, you). They have
0-day exploits for Firefox (because Mozilla is actually a front for the
Illuminati - sorry I had to be the one to tell you), and are thus able
to circumvent Torbutton and Noscript and execute arbitrary code from the
user account that is running Firefox.

If you are running Firefox as your normal user account with no further
limitations on it, the Illuminati will be able to go into your pictures
folder and see what you look like, or modify your .bashrc and your PATH
to install a malicious wrapper program that pings their server every
time you start vim (better switch to Emacs). If you're running Firefox
as a user on a VM, and running it over a forwarded X session, all the
Illuminati can do is access files on the VM and try to exploit your X

This is a case of the security principle of defense-in-depth: running
torified programs in VMs allows some degree of risk mitigation if you
assume the program in question has been compromised, so even if you
assume you're running malicious code, you can contain the damage, remain
anonymous, and evade the Illuminati.

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