Use Webconverger For Secure Web Browsing

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 13, 2010
Updated • Dec 11, 2014

Internet users have a few choices when it comes to secure web browsing. It begins with modifications in the web browser they are using, like installing the NoScript add-on to block all scripts from loading on websites, over sandboxing the browser with programs such as Sandboxie, to virtual machines and Live CDs.

Webconverger belongs to the Live CD group but with a few differences. The software has been designed initially for kiosk usage but can be used for all web browsing needs. The software is derived from Debian and uses Firefox with Adobe Flash and pdf reading support.

The distribution has been hardened in several ways. It boots for instance directly into the web browser ignoring any hard drives on the computer system it is booted from. The web browser and underlying operating system are stored in memory which means that no data can be passed on to the local system.

This environment is ideal for Internet banking, financial transactions, shopping and business related web browsing.

Webconverger limits the possibility to fall pray to certain attack forms on the Internet. It is for instance not possible to be infected (permanently) with a trojan or worm considering that the malicious code cannot store itself in another location but the computer memory.

The usual precautions still have to apply though as it is for instance still possible to snoop on the network traffic in a browsing session. Users who only open the secure websites of the services they want to interact with should be save however (unless the site has been hacked).

Webconverger should run on most computer systems that have a CD-ROM drive. The software runs for example on a Pentium 3s with 128MB of RAM. Webconverger is available for download at the official project website. The distribution is offered in ISO format which means that users need to burn it to CD or DVD before they can use it.

It is also important to note that the computer needs to be configured to boot from optical drives or USB drives before internal hard drives as it is otherwise not possible to boot into the browser directly.

The Webconverger team released several videos that explain how to properly configure the computer and use the software. Here is one.

Update: The most recent version of Webconverger has a size of about 400 Megabyte which you need to download first.

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  1. Girish Kulkarni said on May 11, 2011 at 6:09 am

    If i use a USB Internet Data card & have its installation files, how to configure the Webconverger for this internet connection? i.e. from USB Broadband Data Card.
    Any advise will be really helpful.

  2. milithruldur said on December 13, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    There is a good idea behind webconverger, however this is only as good for strictly browsing sessions.

    I can see the use of this distro for people who have mostly their apps and data available in the cloud, who are not storing data locally and have no need for locally available apps.

    It is correct to point out that the environment is ideal for secure online transactions, or those involving secure site access, as it is wrong to think that anyone is _completely_ safe by using such environments.

    There are still online threats to be wary of like phishing attacks, CSRFs and other attacks that may hijack your data while browsing.

    Off topic: a little typo there: “save” should be “safe.” Nevertheless, thank you for shining light on its existence.


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