I am going to try some Linux live CDs made by individuals. I want to make sure that it doesn't contain malware. How do I do it?


I am going to try some linux live CDs made by individuals, I want to make sure that it's not malware contained, how do I do it?

You can't. You're running arbitrary software on your machine; it could do anything at all, and there's simply no way to check for that in advance. They intentionally have the ability to overwrite your hard drive, for example, because that's the fundamental point of them. If you don't trust the source, don't trust the disc.

If you want to try them out (reasonably) safely, you can use a virtual machine such as VirtualBox or VMWare, which will isolate the running code from your real machine. There are several questions here and on SuperUser about setting those up.

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  • Thanks for answering my question, that live CD was packaged and well configured, probably will save me lots of time since I am not a experienced linux user. I would like to use it, but before that I hope that there will be a virus scan on it. – ChaoYang Feb 2 '15 at 6:22
  • There won't be. The concept doesn't make sense; there doesn't have to be a virus for it to do harm by design (just like any piece of untrusted software). – Michael Homer Feb 2 '15 at 6:31
  • In general: if you want to be sure install it in a VirtualBox. @user3226059: If you have a lot of time to dedicate to it, it's possible to do an md5sum on each package and to do comparison with the ones of the distribution. It will remain not possible to do md5sum on the plan install files (the custom ones)...that you should check by yourself... + backup your data (this is a good practice in any case). – Hastur Feb 2 '15 at 6:39
  • @user3226059: Michael is absolutely right. For starters AV vendors can only detect stuff similar to what they know already (heuristics) or what they know (exact detections). This doesn't cover a lot of dual-use software. If the ISO supports a bunch of common file systems, automounts all your volumes and then goes ahead and issues an rm -rf /mnt your system is doomed either way. And that despite the fact that rm isn't a "virus". – 0xC0000022L Feb 2 '15 at 8:31

Get the md5 of the real live usb files, then see another website and see its md5 live usb. If it is different, then there could be malware. If it is EXACTLY the same, then its safe.

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