Linux for Travelers

This web site is about how to protect yourself from spyware and identity theft while traveling by using Linux live CDs.

What is Linux?

Linux is a free operating system that runs from a CD, bypassing spyware-infested public hard drives. Linux live CDs are good for all types of travelers, from backpackers to business travelers, and it is also a great way to do secure computing at home. Your Linux live CD cannot get viruses or spyware because it runs from a CD-R and cannot be modified once it has been created.

The dangers of public computing

Personal computers are often riddled with spyware, viruses, and trojans. Based on a study done by American Online and the National Cyber Security Alliance [PDF document] it is estimated that 80% of PC users have spyware on their computers. Almost half of the people surveyed didn't know that they have spyware.

Would you trust typing your bank account information or credit card numbers into a public computer with an unknown history?

There is a solution

Linux can run directly from a CD without installing to the hard drive. You can boot into Linux, surf the Web, check your email, edit your travel photos, and do your online banking without having to use someone else's possibly infected operating system. When you take out your Linux live CD and reboot the computer, the computer is back to the way it was before with nothing changed.

Is Linux 100% secure?

No operating system is 100% secure. But by using a Linux live CD, you bypass using a public computer's operating system that is possibly infected with spyware, viruses and/or trojans. If your Linux operating system is running from a CD-R it cannot be modified and can never have a virus installed on it. So you will know that the operating system is clean on every boot.

Get started...

Getting a portable Linux live CD involves the following 3 easy steps:

  1. Download Linux (free)
  2. Burn Linux to a CD-R
  3. Boot your computer with the new Linux CD in your CD drive

Click here to get started.

mention USB flash drives also

These are more handy to carry, but the computer has to be recent enough to boot off a USB drive.

Also see

Good idea

PortableApps are great. I've added a post about them, and will be adding more information soon.

I usually boot Damn Small Linux from a USB thumb drive but some computers don't support it. With the low cost of thumb drives now it should be possible to get a 1GB or 2GB drive, and run a full operating system as well as store other files on it.

What if a live CD is not an option?

The (free, non-commercial) service at lets you log into popular web-based email sites (hotmail, yahoo, gmail, and others) using a one-time code instead of your usual password. This protection against spyware/keyloggers that try to illegitimately capture your password is even more effective that a live CD, because your password is *never* disclosed to the computer in use.