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Is Real Security Even Possible?

Qubes OS: An Operating System Designed For Security

Alan: Last question; a philosophical one. After the Brighton Bombing in ’84, the IRA released a statement that included the line “…remember we only have to be lucky once. You have to be lucky always.” When it comes to computing security, it’s the same problem, only worse. You can’t negotiate with the bad guys, and you’ve got attacks going for the data in the cloud, where the end-user is at the mercy of the e-tailer or cloud provider, and then you have attacks going after vulnerabilities on the user’s own desktop. Do you think we can actually win this war or are we just hoping to minimize our losses?

Joanna: If we didn't believe that we could build a reasonably secure system, significantly more secure than others, we would not be investing all those efforts into building Qubes OS. And personally, I would not be sacrificing the sexiness of Apple hardware and software ;) Yup, you heard me right; I admit I'm an Apple fangirl. Yet, I was willing to replace my primary laptop with a non-Mac one. I guess this is what you call a sacrifice!

Alan: Believe it or not, I just switched back to Windows 7 after using a Mac for a few years (a Lenovo ThinkPad X220). Are you running Qubes as your primary system now? Or dual-booting that and something else?

Joanna: Of course I use Qubes as my primary system! In fact, I completely switched to Qubes back in March 2010 (even before the first public "Alpha 1" release in April 2010), which made me the proud #1 full-time user of Qubes (with Rafal taking second place).

Alan: Are you running Qubes on a MacBook Pro using Boot Camp? Or are you really running it on a PC now?

Joanna: I'm currently using a Sony Vaio Z as my primary laptop for Qubes. It has some advantages over MacBooks, such as support for Intel VT-d in the BIOS, and better support in Linux drivers for various devices.

Just a few months ago, however, I also bought myself an iPad 2, which I use for personal, non-sensitive stuff, such as task/shopping lists (I love things from Cultured Code) and calendar, photos, and news reading, as well as making my public conference slides (I love Keynote, and I really hate Open Office!).

I love my iPad, of course, and I dream sometimes that we could have Qubes for ARM (e.g. iPad) that would be using iOS-based domains. That’s absolutely doable, technically, but unfortunately not possible because of other, non-technical reasons, such as licensing.

Alan: On the topic of tablets, maybe that would be good for the "enterprise"-grade tablets from Cisco or HP.

Joanna: Maybe we will release Qubes for ARM one day and use Android for domains.

Alan: Sounds interesting. Thanks a lot for taking the time to talk to us about Qubes-OS. Please keep us updated with its progress.

Joanna: My pleasure, as always.

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