What is BitBox?
BitBox is a cost free (for private usage) secure Internet browser, based on a reduced and hardened Linux Debian OS inside a virtual machine (the 'box') and on an integrated Firefox or Chrome web browser. It can be used easily with Windows, where it will access the Internet completely separated from the host PC.
All happening inside the box, stays inside the box. Additionally, when closing the browser all transferred data will be erased and the virtual machine set back to a certificated initial state. Only if specified while installing, downloaded files as well as configuration data will be saved on the host computer.
You can download a Firefox or Chrome BitBox on the German website of Rohde & Schwarz. Also available is the source code, so anybody with enough knowledge can compile her or his own browser. An instruction is laid down as well.
Start installation with a double click on the setup file and take some action on the options offered.
Since BitBox is based on a modified version of the virtualization-software VirtualBox, a possible already existing VirtualBox installation will BE EXCHANGED, and although existing virtual machines will stay intact, they can't be used with the modified BitBox version of VirtualBox. For that you need to remove BitBox and re-install VirtualBox. There will be no automatic recovering!
Installation can be done either in default or expert mode, while only the latter allows to adapt some important options, which won't be accessible any more, once BitBox is copied to your system:
These options are:
- Interaction between browser and the host computer: If the BitBox should be separated 100 % from the host system, all 4 security settings need to be disabled, meaning: no common data inside the clipboard, regardless of the direction (browser to host or host to browser) and no downloaded files. Alternatively you can configure the BitBox to be asked, before any data is transmitted.
- Saving of configuration data and/or bookmarks.
- Usage of a proxy.
- Setting up a Domain Name Server, such as a CyberGhost server (188.8.131.52) or the pre-configured Google DNS.
This goes for all options: If you want to change one of them, you can do so only by re-installing the BitBox.
Start BitBox and either define it as default browser or leave your old browser in charge - which might be necessary, since the virtual machine needs some time to come to life and access to the Internet will not be right at hand. However, the the surfing process itself will be as fast as usual.
The most obvious advantage of the BitBox is its security. It prevents malware from attacking the host system by keeping viruses, Trojans and other malicious code inside the virtual machine. When closing the browser they simply get deleted.
Also deleted with each session get cookies, and even tracking attempts by identifying browser and operating system won't be as easy as usual, because the virtual machine presents itself as a Linux system, while hiding identity marker such as graphic card and resolution and giving out a different Canvas signature.
The secure BitBox behaves such as any other Chrome resp. Firefox browser, it even allows to save bookmarks and settings, if advised to do so while installing the software.
What it doesn't accomplish, is anonymizing your online identity properly. It neither hides your IP address nor suppresses social media tracking elements such as the Facebook Like button nor encrypts your Internet traffic nor does it protect any other Internet connection other than its own. If, for example, a click on a Torrent files starts your download manager, the download takes place in public, open for anybody interested.
BitBox plus CyberGhost
For stronger security, anonymity and privacy reasons it's recommended to partner up BitBox with CyberGhost. While surfing with BitBox CyberGhost takes care of your privacy, blocks ads and trackers, and additionally prevents your from malware.
VPN experts therefor connect CyberGhost with BitBox via the automatically initiated CyberGhost app protection.
For that click on the menu entry 'Settings', move to 'App Protection', and follow the needed steps to add your BitBox to the list of protected programs:
- Activate app protection.
- Click on 'Add App‘, mark the file 'C:\\Program Files (x86)\Sirrix AG\BitBox\bin\BitBoxClient.exe' and click on 'Open'.
- Choose the connection profile to be used, when starting BitBox. Please note that each possible profile will be equipped with the settings last used, e. g. you decide for 'Surf Anonymously', the program will activate the last used server and the last used settings for ad blocker etc.
If you now start BitBox, a secure CyberGhost connection will be initiated beforehand, and downloads such as any other Internet connections are fully protected - including those of the virtual machine, your hardened browser is running in.
Any inspirations, additions, questions, and/or comments? Discuss it with other CyberGhost users and leave a post below.