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Not knowing whether the underlying operating system (Windows 7) is infected or not, is it safe to use LiveCDs to shop, bank, etc online without having to configure the firewall (e.g. iptables), antivirus, etc

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

When you boot from a LiveCD in a PC, you are stopping the operating system installed on any of the hard disks in a PC from booting. It never becomes active, and so no viruses (which are just applications that run under an operating system) can run.

If the environment is untrusted, then you are more at risk from other devices on the same network than you are the actual PC you are using.

Having said that, linux is largely immune to Windows based viruses - there are very few cross-platform examples of malware.

Having said that again, adding a quick rule to iptables dropping any incoming connections from the local network can't hurt.

Update If you want to ensure the livecd environment is secure in itself, then consider a Secure Desktop live cd.

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Thanks Paul however I was keen to understand if the LiveCD itself needed to be configured in a particular way to ensure maximum security when banking, shopping online, etc – PeanutsMonkey Nov 23 '11 at 3:13
If the banking site is using https (which all I've ever seen are) and you inspect the certificate to ensure it's valid then you shouldn't have much to worry about from the local network. – Matthew Lock Nov 23 '11 at 3:24
@PeanutsMonkey Are you planning on creating a LiveCD yourself (with your own set of applications)? Or using a default one that is available for a distribution? – iglvzx Nov 23 '11 at 3:40
@Matthew Lock - Thanks Matthew. I am sure all banking websites use HTTPs however am trying to understand what I need to do to secure the LiveCD to ensure that it does not get infected whilst browsing a banking website for example, or say someone attempting to run a scan against the PC in an attempt to find out what services are running, etc. – PeanutsMonkey Nov 23 '11 at 3:44
@iglvzx - A default one for now e.g. Linux Mint Debian as an example – PeanutsMonkey Nov 23 '11 at 3:44

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