When the only USB-A magnetic breakaway coupler on the market became out of stock and EOL'd, we raised $18,507 on CrowdSupply in early 2022 to manufacture our own injection-molded cable. One thousand logistics challenges later, Mouser started shipping BusKill cables to our backers in October 2022.
Now that the hardware is out the door, we're hard at work on new features for the BusKill app. Our top goal is to add a soft-shutdown trigger to the existing lock-screen trigger. At the time of writing, this is functional on Linux and Windows. We're just working out the kinks of privilege escalation on MacOS.
While you could use the BusKill Linux .AppImage release with a second USB drive while using TAILS, the recommended solution for security-critical users is to just use the BusKill cable in-line with the TAILS live USB drive. This takes advantage of
Due to the design of QubesOS (dom0, sys-usb, etc), the BusKill GUI app does not support QubesOS. Instead, QubesOS support is implemented using the qubes-rpc and a set of scripts stored in sys-usb and dom0.
Are you a security researcher, journalist, or intelligence operative that works in TAILS--exploiting TAILS' brilliant incognito & amnesic design that forces all of your network traffic through the Tor anonymity network? Great! This post is for you.
TAILS is amnesic; it's designed to leave no trace of the fact that it was used on your laptop. But what if someone literally steals your laptop while you're working with classified information in TAILS? Not only will they get access to all of the tabs open in your Tor Browser (gaining access to your accounts for any sites you're currently logged into, gaining the ability to impersonate and send messages as you, etc), but they'd also be able to access the contents of your decrypted persistent drive!
Let's say you're a journalist, activist, whistleblower or a human rights worker in an oppressive regime. Or an intelligence operative behind enemy lines doing research or preparing a top-secret document behind a locked door. What do you do to protect your data, sources, or assets when the secret police suddenly batter down your door? How quickly can you actually act to shutdown your laptop and shred your RAM and/or persistent volume?
What if you had a magnetic trip-wire tied from your body to your laptop such that it would trigger the TAILS emergency shutdown if the cable got disconnected by you jumping to your feet or falling off your chair at the sudden bang of your front door being reduced to splinters?
Using a BusKill cable with your TAILS drive can help shave off those precious seconds needed to trigger an emergency shutdown that will help keep you, your data, and your contacts safe.
This post will describe how to use BusKill as a dead man switch to trigger your laptop to self-destruct if it's physically separated from you. This guide is specific to QubesOS users.
What if someone literally steals your laptop while you're working with classified information inside a Whonix DispVM? They'd also be able to recover data from previous DispVMs--as Disposable VM's rootfs virtual files are not securely shredded after your DispVM is destroyed.
I'm sure your QubesOS laptop has Full Disk Encryption and you're using a strong passphrase. But what if someone literally steals your laptop while you're working with classified information inside a Whonix DispVM? Not only will they get access to all of your AppVM's private data and the currently-running Whonix DispVM's data, but there's a high chance they'd be able to recover data from previous DispVMs--as Disposable VM's rootfs virtual files (volatile.img) are not securely shredded after your DispVM is destroyed by Qubes!
Let's say you're a journalist, activist, whistleblower, or a human rights worker in an oppressive regime. Or an intelligence operative behind enemy lines doing research or preparing a top-secret document behind a locked door. What do you do to protect your data, sources, or assets when the secret police suddenly batter down your door? How quickly can you actually act to shutdown your laptop and shred your RAM and/or FDE encryption keys?
BusKill utilizes a magnetic trip-wire that tethers your body to your laptop. If you suddenly jump to your feet or fall off your chair (in response to the battering ram crashing through your door) or your laptop is ripped off your table by a group of armed thugs, the data bus' magnetic connection will be severed. This event causes a configurable trigger to execute.
This post will describe how to add a trigger that initiates a "self-destruct" sequence when your BusKill laptop kill cord's connection is severed--rendering your data permanently & irrevocably destroyed in the event that your laptop were physically separated from you (ie: by a snach-and-run thief).
Many people were disappointed when the original post introducing BusKill only alluded to a self-destruct trigger, without actually describing how to use it with BusKill. This was done for two reasons:
Most people probably don't actually want an accidental false-positive to destroy all their data and
A self-destruct sequence should be taken seriously. Its implementation should be thoroughly thought-out, tested, and forensically analyzed
This article will provide that thorough analysis and explain to the reader how to implement a self-destruct trigger with BusKill on linux machines that have FDE with LUKS.
Besides the obvious anonymity benefits--allowing our customers to purchase our products anonymously--we chose to make our website accessible at the above .onion address to take advantage of tor's superior Public Key Infrastructure to the clearnet's flawed x509 model (read: it's more secure).
In short, users are much safer when communicating directly to a website using a .onion domain than its clearnet domain.
We've always made sure that our site's content was fully accessible to Tor Browser on strict mode. Unlike other popular websites, we would never use Google reCAPTCHA or blanket block Tor exit nodes.
We want and encourage our customers to be able to use all of our services over Tor. And by adding our service over an Onion Service, our customers with a healthy distrust for the X.509 PKI can take comfort in knowing that accessing our website through our Onion Service address will give them end-to-end encryption using our Tor-generated certificate.