Practical tools for locking down your Linux portable

Tight Ship

Article from Issue 284/2024

Linux is quite secure compared to the alternatives, but you'll need a few additional steps if you really want to lock it down. We'll introduce you to some practical tools for antivirus protection, firewall configuration, and sandboxing.

It occurred to me recently that the laptop I devote to my personal use did not have the same add-on protections I routinely expect from systems I use at work. In one sense, this is understandable. (No one gets paid for integrating my personal laptop into a comprehensive security infrastructure, and no one will get fired if I get hacked.) However, the threats posed by Internet activity are very real, especially for a laptop computer that operates in public spaces behind low-tech coffee house firewalls that someone else configured. When I read about the Infostealer malware targeting Linux [1], I decided it was a good time to explore the options for using security sandboxing techniques to isolate applications. And while I was at it, I took a closer look at antivirus options and local firewall tools that would make me less dependent on the security of whatever subnet I happen to have landed in.

Of course, users expect convenience and simplicity for their home systems. Tools that are too elaborate or complicated are often ignored – or set up once and then forgotten. For my system, I set out to find convenient yet powerful tools that could provide virus protection, firewalling, and sandboxing support. Eventually I settled on the following cocktail:

  • ClamAV for virus protection
  • UFW for firewall configuration
  • Firejail for sandboxing


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