USB Key locking


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Nov 27, 2019
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Hello all, I've just recently started getting into computers buying my first one about 3 months ago. I've been learning slowly but surely and since starting I've learned just how vulnerable our lives are online. I have a VPN (Cyberghost) on a killswitch (simple script using easy firewall) using linux mint 19 and a hard drive that I can pull and take with me. I've got encrypted email and I just recently got rid of every google based piece of tech I can reasonably lose (I still occasionally use youtube without an account as all the other video platforms suck) but I'm trying to keep going and make sure that at every step there is something standing in the way of anybody wanting to get my information.

What I'm looking for now is a usb thumb drive I can use for booting my computer and laptop. I have a usb thumb drive and I'm hoping it's just a quick program but I'm open to buying a product if the price is reasonable and the security can be verified. Any help to point me in the right direction? I figure between encrypting the hard drive and requiring the usb stick to boot I should be fairly secure but If I'm missing anything please feel free to point it out as well. Thanks in advance

Just for absolute clarity what I want is a to require the usb to be plugged in to be able to log on to linux even if you know the desktop password.

Just for absolute clarity what I want is a to require the usb to be plugged in to be able to log on to linux even if you know the desktop password.
When you install your Linux to a hard drive, do not put the bootloader on the hard drive. Put the bootloader on your USB. "Back in the day" it was common to put the bootloader on a floppy disk... yeah, way back in the day. So I would guess this is still possible to do. You will probably need to have the USB plugged in from the very beginning of the install process though.... it may not recognize it if you plug it in at the last minute.

I just posted a long rant a couple of days ago about online security and privacy. You can take a look if you're bored, and take it for what it's worth. The general theme of the rant applies to you here too: security comes at a trade-off with convenience. Using a boot USB gives up convenience, but that's okay if it's important to you. For most people, encrypting the hard drive would be enough.

I don't use a VPN (but I have sometimes considered it). I don't even encrypt my hard drive. My password manager is the only thing important enough to need encryption, and it is not stored anywhere online.

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Great idea. I'm about to upgrade to an SSD so when I do that I'll reset my whole system and do exactly that on my laptop and computer. I read your post and agree wholeheartedly. I'm still trying to figure out how to secure a phone. I'm considering a linux phone but they're very expensive for garbage specs. I'm honestly thinking about buying a flip phone and a separate gps as that's really all I need a smart phone for

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