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Security The Military United States Linux

A Linux Distro From the US Department of Defense 210

donadony writes "The Lightweight Portable Security distribution was created by the Software Protection Initiative under the direction of the Air Force Research Laboratory and the U.S. Department Of Defense. The idea behind it is that government workers can use a CD-ROM or USB stick to boot into a tamper proof, pristine desktop when using insecure computers such as those available in hotels or a worker's own home. The environment that it offers should be largely resistant to Internet-borne security threats such as viruses and spyware, particularly when launched from read-only media such as a CDROM. The LPS system does not mount the hard drive of the host machine, so leaves no trace of the user's activities behind."
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A Linux Distro From the US Department of Defense

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  • Review (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 21, 2011 @07:50PM (#36840958)

    There is a review of LPS over at DistroWatch:

  • Re:RAM (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Thursday July 21, 2011 @08:03PM (#36841072) Journal

    I don't see how this is any different than any other live CD though.

    As someone else pointed out, this is an "approved" method, meaning they have vetted the distro and believe it to be secure. This actually makes sense, and is much better than telling your soldiers "go download some live linux cd and make sure it is secure".

    One of the major benefits of Linux is the ability to make your own distro for special applications like this. And since it is available freely for download (not required but they did it anyway) and the source is available, that makes it even better.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 21, 2011 @08:18PM (#36841204)

    Oh shit! How did I miss this gem here?

    LPS differs from traditional operating systems in that it isn't continually patched.

    Poor reading comprehension? You might want to work on that. You also might want to work on that little "reading into things that which is not there" problem you got as well.

    You sort of missed this part

    LPS is designed to run from read-only media and without any persistent storage.

    as well as the release notes that show that it has been updated several times this year.

  • Re:RAM (Score:5, Informative)

    by LordLimecat ( 1103839 ) on Thursday July 21, 2011 @09:21PM (#36841604)

    Its different because not only is it approved for clearanced work, it also has a version of Firefox with CAC-reader support. My understanding has always been that CAC support was limited to windows; no longer.

  • Re:RAM (Score:4, Informative)

    by fluffy99 ( 870997 ) on Friday July 22, 2011 @12:13AM (#36842596)

    This isn't intended to be just another Live CD. The disks or thumb drives are corporate specific, and are setup to boot and provide a secure VPN into the company. Not for general use. In fact they are usually setup so they can only reach out to the company or agency's VPN server. This is a far more secure solution that letting users install VPN software on their personal computers, and a lot cheaper than buying them govt owned computers that they might try to connect to the general internet.

  • Re:Review (Score:4, Informative)

    by LoRdTAW ( 99712 ) on Friday July 22, 2011 @08:27AM (#36844296)

    Eh its already known that things like expensive toilet seats, step ladders, hammers and other run of the mill items are mostly a myth. Certain items like the step ladder turned out to be custom built ladders for the F-14 fighter jet and not something you buy at home depot to paint your ceiling. Other explanations are the adding of overhead costs to line items in the financial breakdown of the finished piece of military hardware.

    Military hardware is mostly low production and highly custom. Computer monitors on battle ships might cost upward of $100,000 but they may have only made 10 of them at a time and specked to resist EMP (from a nuke) constant rocking and other severe environmental operating conditions.

    There are even military specs for chip (IC) packaging. So the circuit boards inside some of the military hardware might be completely different from consumer electronics even though they may perform the same or similar function.

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes