Counter-Botnetting: Honeypot @ Home

Here’s an idea for aspiring anti-botnet researchers:

Hook up with someone like the OpenBox creators or VMware and perhaps the guys at Malware Bytes.¬†Create some Virtual Machine environments with all the security ripped out, that can be distributed with the intent of remotely (and deliberately) getting botnetted “in the wild”, but under controlled circumstances while running like one of those “@ Home” applications on volunteer systems.

A decent virtual Linux

In my quest to get a decent dual-OS box (without dual booting), I gave the free VMware server a spin instead of Workstation. The experiment was short lived and lead me back to Workstation with a slightly different approach, and I’m pretty pleased with the resulting Ubuntu virtual machine.

Virtual? Actual bloody difficult.

I guess virtualization just isn’t all that yet.

I want to do something that seems fairly simple to me. I want to turn my dual-boot Linux/Windows machine into a single boot Linux+Windows or Windows+Linux machine. The trouble is, I want bare-metal performance on both. Fedora, Ubuntu (or Gentoo or Debian) don’t run nearly as well under VMware Workstation (or Virtual Box or …) as they do when you boot straight into them.

I looked at VMware ESXi (free) which sounded like the ticket, except you need a remote machine to configure it, and it it didn’t like my Ethernet (Realtek PCIe GBE): ESXi is more server oriented. So, I’m guessing that it probably wouldn’t get the graphical performance I’d be looking for.

For a while, the Xen live CD had me hopeful. I failed at setting up a Windows 7 machine with it. I got a Windows XP box sort of running, but it wasn’t good for much more than web browsing and email because, of course, the graphics hardware was virtualized.

I looked at Parallels, but it didn’t want to know about operating systems on the local machine :(

That said, Parallels Workstation Extreme sounds like a future possibility. But it’s probably cheaper to bring my spare-parts box home from the office and set that up.

I have a spare GeForce 8800 or something lying around somewhere. That ought to be good enough to run a Linux. But it looks like Workstation Extreme is the only solution at the moment capable of dedicating graphics hardware to a machine, and I don’t want a second monitor.

In my ideal little dream world, something out there would give me an Amiga-like system for switching “screens”, so that I can have both OSes running in full screen mode.

I think what I’m gonna do is just install VMware server, run Ubuntu at init level 3 (non-graphical), install XMing and send the GUI apps I use to my self via X.

Shame … Because Ubuntu as a desktop really kicks ass … But I’ve gotta have native access to some Windows stuff like Visual Studio etc, and Wine just isn’t all that yet either :)

Wish I’d started here…

Apparently there is a Debian-based Xen LiveCD.

Xen and Ubuntu vs Ubuntu

I’ve been running a virtual Ubuntu under my Windows 7 install for a while now, and I’ve been really pleased with it. Honestly, I get a little warm fuzzy feeling when I boot Windows 7 up, I’m really pleased with it.

I had a 280Gb partition spare and a 4Gb USB drive. So I installed Ubuntu 9.10 32bit onto the partition, and used the “Advanced” box at the end of the install sequence to tell it to use the USB drive for GRUB. The benefit of this is that to boot windows without fiddling around trying to catch the boot selector, I just reboot without the USB drive.

Building the Battleground Europe game servers under VM Ubuntu takes about 2-4 minutes with -j3, which gave me the best time. Building them under native Ubuntu with -j4 or -j8 takes 1 minute 24 seconds.

Best of all, most of my important stuff is on my Windows 1/2Gb “Common” drive, in particular my ThunderBird profile files (Start -> Run > ThunderBird.exe -ProfileManager). I mounted the common drive as /windows/common, installed TB 3.0 under Ubuntu, ran thunderbird -ProfileManager, pointed my profile at /windows/common/ThunderBird/ and bingo: both oses comfortably share my mailboxes!