Question Is It Safe to Run My OS From a Bootable USB on Foreign Computers?

Regev

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Jul 3, 2020
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I'm going abroad for a month. Thought, instead of carrying a laptop, of just installing an OS on a USB key, with my email client, passwords, etc, all of that in it, and just plug that USB onto my friends or hotel computers and use it there for 15 minutes or so at the end of each day to do my stuff.

Is there any chance for contamination from their hard drive / memory / etc, or data leak from my USB onto their hardware?

(If that matters, it will be Linux installed on that USB, which uses the ext4 file system)

Thanks a lot :)
 
You are assuming the location/owner in question will have no issues with your rebooting from a USB drive into an alternate OS?

There are no issues, however, with things magically copying/jumping over to your USB drive, or vice versa...
 

Regev

Prominent
Jul 3, 2020
118
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585
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Maybe the hotels will have an issue with it? Anyway my friends (who I'll be around most of the time) will surely have no problem.

I'm more concerned with my passwords or credit card details getting leaked out to the rest of the hardware. Is that even a possibility?
 
As the rest of the hardware is just 'sitting there', what is on your USB and entered into that browser is safe, ...assuming the router is ssafe and you are using a VPN, barring some a very high tech NSA and/or Mossad operation and capture hardware installed on/in conjunction with keyboards, etc....
 
I'm going abroad for a month. Thought, instead of carrying a laptop, of just installing an OS on a USB key, with my email client, passwords, etc, all of that in it, and just plug that USB onto my friends or hotel computers and use it there for 15 minutes or so at the end of each day to do my stuff.

Is there any chance for contamination from their hard drive / memory / etc, or data leak from my USB onto their hardware?

(If that matters, it will be Linux installed on that USB, which uses the ext4 file system)

Thanks a lot :)
You're assuming the UEFI will allow USB boot
 
I'm going abroad for a month. Thought, instead of carrying a laptop, of just installing an OS on a USB key, with my email client, passwords, etc, all of that in it, and just plug that USB onto my friends or hotel computers and use it there for 15 minutes or so at the end of each day to do my stuff.

Is there any chance for contamination from their hard drive / memory / etc, or data leak from my USB onto their hardware?

(If that matters, it will be Linux installed on that USB, which uses the ext4 file system)

Thanks a lot :)
No, there's no risk of contamination because as far as the live-installer is concerned, those drives are just data disks and contain nothing it should execute from right away. Plus chances are they're running Windows, so the executables won't even run.

However, you're more likely to get away using a friend's computer than the hotel computer.
 

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