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The Air Force's secure Linux distribution

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#1 TheSentinel


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Posted 05 October 2011 - 10:26 AM

The Air Force's secure Linux distribution

By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols | September 26, 2011, 10:07am PDT

Summary: Linux has long had a close, working relationship with governments, but Lightweight Portable Security (LPS) is the first official U.S. Linux distribution.

Outside of the U.S., there are several ?national? Linux distributions. These include China?s Red Flag Linux; Turkey?s Pardus, and the Philippines? Bayahnian. Other countries, like Russia, are on their way to moving their entire IT infrastructure to Linux and open-source software. In the U.S., the government, especially the military, makes use of Linux all the time. Indeed, Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux), the most popular software set for hardening Linux against Linux is sponsored by the National Security Agency. But, there hasn?t been a national American Linux desktop distribution? until now.

The Software Protection Initiative (SPI) under the direction of the Air Force Research Laboratory and the US Department Of Defense recently created Lightweight Portable Security (LPS). Like the name indicates, this is a small Linux desktop distribution that?s designed for secure use.

LPS is designed to boot from a CD or USB pen-drive on any Intel-based computer. It doesn?t install anything. It?s designed solely to run solely in memory and to leave no traces behind when you?re doing running it.

According to the SPI, LPS ?allows general Web browsing and connecting to remote networks. It includes a smart card-enabled Firefox browser supporting Common Access Card (CAC) and Personal Identity Verification (PIV) cards, a PDF and text viewer, Java, and Encryption Wizard - Public.? With it you can turn your untrusted Windows or Mac home or public system into a trusted network client. ?No trace of work activity (or malware) can be written to the local computer.?

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