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Tin Hat Linux

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Tin Hat is a Security-focused Linux distribution derived from Hardened Gentoo Linux It aims to provide a very secure, stable, and fast desktop environment that lives purely in RAM1 Tin Hat boots from CD, or optionally from USB flash drive, but it does not mount any file system directly from the boot device1 Instead, Tin Hat employs a large SquashFS image from the boot device which expands into tmpfs upon booting This makes for long boot times, but fast speeds during use


  • 1 Design goal
  • 2 Difference from Gentoo
  • 3 See also
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links
    • 51 Articles and media coverage

Design goaledit

The central design consideration in Tin Hat is to construct an operating system that can hide data from an attacker even if he has physical access to the computer1 Physical access to a computer with unencrypted filesystems does not secure the data and an attacker could easily retrieve the data Encrypting the filesystem provides protection from such an attack, but many implementations of encryption do not hide the fact that data is encrypted on the filesystem For example, the LUKS encryption system includes metadata which detail the block cipher and block cipher mode used in encryption This information does not help the attacker decrypt the filesystem, but it does reveal that it contains encrypted data and not random data However, Tin Hat stores its filesystem in the RAM, leaving no data in the computer's hard drive If the user stores any data via a more permanent means than RAM, the encrypted data is indiscernible from random data

Tin Hat's preferred method of encryption is via loop-aes v3

Beyond these considerations, Tin Hat has to also protect against more common exploits based on networking or security holes in software The hardening model chosen is PaX/Grsecurity which is already provided by the Hardened Gentoo project Hardening of the kernel and the toolchain make most code born exploits less likely A non-modular compiled kernel further frustrates the insertion of malicious kernel modulescitation needed

Difference from Gentooedit

The design goals of Tin Hat necessitate branching from Gentoo, rather than adding features from within by adding software to Gentoo's native portage systemcitation needed

See alsoedit

  • Cryptography portal


This article uses content from this page on tinhatsourceforgenet, where it is licensed under the Gnu GPL

  1. ^ a b c "Tin Hat" D'Youville College 

External linksedit

  • Official site
  • Hardened Gentoo Project

Articles and media coverageedit

  • Gentoo Monthly Newsletter: August 31 2008
  • Hackadaycom: Nov 20th 2008
  • Golemde German: March 12th 2009
  • Desktoplinuxcom: March 12th 2009
  • OpenNetru Russian: March 12th 2009
  • Rootcz Czech: March 15th 2009
  • LWNnet: March 18th 2009
  • Pofacs #067 German Podcast: January 21st 2010
  • Xakepru Russian: February 27th 2010

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