Increasing online availability levels

Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability. The CIA acronym is always present in Information Security. The three key security properties that any piece of information has.

This post focuses on increasing availability in a specific scenario: We need to access the Internet and we do not trust the hard disks (maybe they are infected by a piece of malware, maybe there is a keylogger already installed...) of our computer.

Ubuntu releases (e.g. 8.10, 9.04 and 9.10) provide the possibility to create a Startup USB drive with some persistent space to store configuration settings and documents.

The drawback of being persistent is that the risk of infecting also the USB drive exists. However, the advantage of persistence is that we can configure it beforehand so that the Ubuntu installation on it is already aware of our router and network configuration. This is specially welcomed if the ultimate user of the USB drive will be an IT layman.

How to do it? Download the iso image preferred to be installed in the USB, go to System, Administration, USB Startup Disk Creator functionality (option present in Ubuntu 9.04 and 9.10) and configure the wizard similarly to this screenshot.

Keep the newly installed USB drive in a safe place and test it every regularly. One unexpected day, it could become the key to have Internet access available.

Happy New Availability (and 2010)!