I am not going to give you detailed walk trough here.
Instead, I will try to explain when to use this way of hiding and when it’s not good enough.
And to give you general overview for your further research.
No worries, once you know what you are looking for, there are really great tutorials for you online.
First to explain the title:
These days you can install whole operating system -OS -on USB stick. And run it using almost any computer available.
This can be done in two modes – your private OS would be run simultaneously with the hosting OS.
Or, you can boot up into your private OS using the “boot from USB” option. This one is better.
There are linux distributions build with the privacy deep in the design, so it is more difficult to spy on user activity. Also, they tend to have only TOR/proxy connection by default, they overwrite the memory of USB once you finish your work so nobody can get what you were doing.
Also usually have some sort of kill switch so you can immediately “burn” your OS if you are in hurry.
How to work with this privacy tool:
There is a lot of various kinds of privacy OS, but the process is always the same.
1) You download the OS image – from trusted source only!
My personal recommendations are: Tails and Kodachi. Pick one.
2)You download a tool (like Lili) which helps you to install OS on USB stick either with portable virtual box running, or you create the bootable USB, e.g with Rufus.
3) You will use dedicated USB, preferably with bigger capacity and high speed data transfer USB hardware.
For LiLi – set the persistence to zero. USB creation takes time, so be patient. Most probably its working, only the UI is kinda confusing.
Usually there is the tricky part with output formatting. “DD” works in most cases, but for regular people it leaves the USB unusable for any other purposes. So maybe, if you do this for a first time, try on some cheaper hardware.
The installation is pretty straightforward and once you’re done, you got yourself a USB stick with OS system. Keep this stick safe and be ready to destroy it, if needed.
So e.g don’t store anything else there, important for you or anyhow leading to your persona.
Ok, you’ve got the US with portable Linux OS, whats next?
Use it wise. Know the risk.
Some Pro tips you might need, if you are reading this:
– Due diligence. Do it right. Either you don’t need it, or you do and then be careful and cautious.
– If you really mean it, use “burner” devices. Means, devices you are ready to trash/destroy anytime anywhere without the sentiment.
– Don’t use the device for any other purpose other than running your privacy OS. There is no point to use super private linux distro’ in virtual box and login into the Facebook/ Gmail on the same host.
– If possible, always use system in “live” mode, no persistence meaning there will be no trace left once you switch it off.
– Prefer to boot into the system on USB over running it in virtual box. If run as a virtual system, there still might be some traces left by guest on the host system.
– There is only one way to delete data safe – destroy the device physically. Don’t trash it all into one bin. Preferably burn the leftovers.
General rule: If you think you did something which causes you need to care more about your privacy, you are probably right.
Better safe than sorry. Although, the best is not to do stupid things at all!
I summed this up just for the sake’s of curiosity, as it is frequent question people ask.
If you are curious about the privacy or feel that you don’t want to share any info, leave any traces, feel free and try out.
In case you are eg. journalist in foreign country, reporting about sensitive topics, taking precautions like this is a must for you.
If you are aspiring cyber-criminal, you would probably like the features of these OS as well. But keep in the mind, that we all do mistakes and eventually, there will be someone smarter than you. So think twice.