mike_cardwell sends in a detailed writeup of how he went about protecting a Ubuntu laptop from attacks of varying levels of sophistication, covering disk encryption, defense against cold boot attacks, and even simple smash-and-grabs. (He also acknowledges that no defense is perfect, and the xkcd password extraction tool would still work.) Quoting: "An attacker with access to the online machine could simply hard reboot the machine from a USB stick or CD containing msramdmp to grab a copy of the RAM. You could password protect the BIOS and disable booting from anything other than the hard drive, but that still doesn't protect you. An attacker could cool the RAM, remove it from the running machine, place it in a second machine and boot from that instead. The first defense I used against this attack is procedure based. I shut down the machine when it's not in use. My old Macbook was hardly ever shut down, and lived in suspend to RAM mode when not in use. The second defense I used is far more interesting. I use something called TRESOR. TRESOR is an implementation of AES as a cipher kernel module which stores the keys in the CPU debug registers, and which handles all of the crypto operations directly on the CPU, in a way which prevents the key from ever entering RAM. The laptop I purchased works perfectly with TRESOR as it contains a Core i5 processor which has the AES-NI instruction set."
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