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Qubes Overview

Qubes is an open-sourced, security-centric operating system. Qubes effectively utilizes Xen-based virtualization for the creation of isolated virtual machines using Paravirtual (PV) or Hardware Virtual Machine (HVM) virtualization. These virtual machines (VMs), referred to as “qubes,” aim to decrease the damage done if one of them becomes compromised by dividing them into separate security domains.  For example, you would have a separate qube (VM) for insecure browsing, another for work-related tasks, and personal use and data, with each one  having its assigned level-of-trust. Some other features offered include:

  • Use of multiple operating systems (Debian, Fedora, and Windows 7)
  • Creation of disposable VMs
  • Whonix integration
  • Private key security with Split GPG

For more information please refer to the Qubes website here

 

Verify Hardware Requirements

Qubes has very specific hardware requirements which can be found here Successful install has been accomplished on our FW6s  which support VT-d and VT-x.

Note: With UEFI BIOS, legacy mode must be selected. Coreboot is also supported by Qubes.

 

Install Qubes

Qubes 4.0.3 is the most recent release and can be downloaded here

Burn the Installation Image to a USB Drive

An easy way to create a bootable USB device is to use software such as Etcher or Rufus. With Rufus, please note that it must be written in DD image mode.

Note: For a link on how to create a bootable USB please refer to our Knowledge base Article here

DD Image Mode

Install the Operating System on the Vault

Once the Qubes installation image is properly burned to the USB drive, it is ready to be installed on the Vault.

  • Verify the Vault is powered down.
  • Verify the monitor is connected.
  • Verify the USB keyboard is plugged in.
  • Verify an Ethernet connection is in the “WAN” port that is connected to a DHCP server.
  • Insert the USB install drive into the other USB port on the Vault.
  • While powering up the Vault, press “F11” key until it boots to the BIOS and you see the boot options screen.
  • Select the USB drive to boot from.
  • On the boot screen, select the Test this media & install Qubes option.
  • On the installer screen appears, select your language preference.
  • On the Installation summary screen, select appropriate installation configuration settings for Localization, Software, and System for installation destination. Select Done after making selections.
  • Enter a passphrase for disk encryption.
  • Select Begin Installation.
  • During the installation process, you can then create a user account.
  • After installation is complete, select Reboot.
  • Enter your encryption passphrase when prompted.
  • At the Initial Setup screen, select Qubes OS. This creates the initial qubes. There are a number of defaults already selected. For an option description, please refer to the Qubes Install Guide here
  • Select Done after making configuration selection and this will start the final process. (Note: Installation appears to hang up on a final stage of the initial setup after reboot. It will finish, just takes a bit of patience.)
  • After the configuration is done, this ends the final Qubes installation process, login and play!
Qubes Home screen

*The Qubes website provides additional information for install and can be found here

Qubes Compatibility

Qubes has been successfully installed on the Protectli FW6 platform.

VaultLatest Version Tested
FW1Not supported
FW2Not supported
FW2BNot supported
FW4ANot supported
FW4BNot supported
FW6AQubes Release 4.0.3
FW6BQubes Release 4.0.3
FW6CQubes Release 4.0.3