How to integrate Thunderbird with Tor on Linux

Want to secure the emails you send on Linux through the Mozilla Thunderbird app? Thanks to the Torbirdy extension, you can! Torbirdy works well on Linux and is an excellent add-on for those looking to secure their email and route it through the Tor network when using Thunderbird. Today, we’ll show you how to install the extension and use it to integrate Thunderbird with Tor. We’ll also go over how to set up the Tor browser bundle on Linux.

Note: in this guide, we work extensively with the Thunderbird email client on Linux. If you don’t already have the application set up on your Linux PC, visit this page on Pkgs.org to get it going.

Use a VPN with Thunderbird and Torbirdy

Tor is the leading privacy-first system for those that care about avoiding censorship and persecution from governments, etc. With that said, Tor isn’t always the safest thing, so it’s a good idea also to use a VPN with the service.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s safe to use a VPN while connected to the Tor network.In fact, we’ve covered how to do that on Addictivetips in the past in this post.

ExpressVPN takes the top spot as the best VPN reviewed by our security experts. It works well on Linux and has an excellent client for download. Better still, they offer fast download speeds with 256-bit AES encryption and perfect forward secrecy across 94 different countries. Also, they have an exclusive offer for AddictiveTips readers: 3 months free on the annual plan, a 49% discount.

Install Tor browser bundle

The Torbirdy extension for Mozilla Thunderbird doesn’t provide a way to connect to the Tor network on its own, and it probably won’t be able to any time soon. So, before you can use the extension, you must first download and install the Tor browser bundle for Linux.

When installing Tor on Linux, you should always get it directly from the project’s website. They have a complete bundle that is easy to get going. Don’t be tempted to grab it from your distro’s repository; it won’t be as easy to configure.

To download the latest Tor bundle, head over to the download page on the website. Once there, look for the GNU/Linux column and download the TarGZ archive for either 32-bit or 64-bit. Then, when the file is done downloading, launch a terminal window with Ctrl + Shift + T or Ctrl + Alt + T.

In the terminal window, move the session from your home directory (~/) to the new ~/Download folder.

cd ~/Downloads

Then, once in the folder extract the Tor browser bundle using the Tar command.

tar xJvf tor-browser-linux64-*_en-US.tar.xz

or

tar xJvf tor-browser-linux32-*_en-US.tar.xz

When the extraction is done, use the mv command and move the Tor browser files from the download folder to a better location (such as ~/Documents).

mv tor-browser_en-US ~/Documents

Finally, close the terminal window and open up your file manager. Once it’s open, click on “Documents,” then “tor-brower_en-US.”

Inside the Tor browser folder, double-click on start-tor-browser.desktop to launch the connection tool.

In the Tor browser connection tool, use the UI to log into the Tor browser. Be sure to do this each time BEFORE accessing Thunderbird via Torbirdy.

Get Torbirdy on Thunderbird

Getting Torbirdy is just like installing any other add-on into Thunderbird. To get it working on your setup, launch the Thunderbird email application. Then, click the menu and click “Add-ons,” followed by “Add-ons” to launch the extension area.

In the extension area of Thunderbird, look for “Get Add-ons” and select it with the mouse. Selecting the “install” button will take you to the official Mozilla Thunderbird extension page.

Make your way to the “Up & Coming menu” and click the “see all” button to get to the search page.

On the search page, type in “Torbirdy” and press the enter key. Click the “Add to Thunderbird” button to add it to the app.

Click the icon that appears on screen in Thunderbird and read the message. It’s a warning about installing the extension.

When you’ve gone over the warning, click the “Install” button and add Torbirdy to your Thunderbird client. Then, go back to the add-on manager via Add-ons > Add-ons in the menu and click the “Restart” button that appears under the Torbirdy extension.

After the Thunderbird Email client re-launches, ensure that the Tor connection software tool is running and connected to the network. Assuming it is, you’ll be able to send your emails directly over the Tor network.

Remove Torbirdy

Don’t like using the Torbirdy extension? You can remove it just as easy as it was installed! To do it, go to the extension menu. Then, locate Torbirdy in the app list.

Once you’ve found the app in the list, click the “Remove” button to uninstall the extension. Alternatively, disable the extension by clicking “Disable”.

Read How to integrate Thunderbird with Tor on Linux by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to disable security questions on Windows 10

Losing the password to your desktop system is never good. With desktop systems, it’s important that a password isn’t easy to reset. This is great if you want to keep your system secure, but not so great if you’ve forgotten your password. To get around this, Windows 10 allows users to set security questions for recovering a forgotten password for local accounts. This may not be the greatest or the safest way to recover your password. If you want to disable security questions on Windows 10, you can.

This trick was covered by Lifehacker and it uses a simple PowerShell script to get the job done.

Disable security questions

Download the PS1 file from this Github repository. Save it to a separate folder. Don’t just leave it on your desktop or in your Downloads folder.

After you download the file, open PowerShell with admin rights. Use the CD command to move to the folder that you downloaded the PowerShell file to.

Once you’re in the folder, run the following command to disable security questions.

Update-AllUsersQA

This script can run with one parameter; -answer. The syntax is as follows;

Update-AllUsersQA -answer SecretAnswer

You will need to replace SecretAnswer with an answer of your own choice and that will set the same answer for all questions.

If you need to enable security questions again, the script doesn’t give you a direct way to do it. The first command listed above will disable the feature and any time you try and set a security questions, you will get a message telling you that the feature has been disabled. To enable it again, run the command with the -answer parameter. Use it to set the same answer to all questions and then go to the Settings app to change the answer to the questions. You can change the security questions from Account>Sign in options. Click the Change button under password and you will get an option to change the answer to your security questions.

This will not work for user accounts connected to your Microsoft account. The security questions are only available for local users since they have no other way to recover a forgotten password. Users who have forgotten their Microsoft account password can reset it from the Microsoft website using either their phone number or their email to recover it.

Be warned that if you disable security questions on Windows 10 and later forget your password, you will make it harder on yourself to get back into your system.

Read How to disable security questions on Windows 10 by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to check for rootkits on Linux with Tiger

Concerned that you may have a rootkit on your Linux server, desktop or laptop? If you want to check whether or not rootkits are present on your system, and get rid of them, you’ll need to scan you system first. One of the best tools to scan for rootkits on Linux is Tiger. When run, it does a complete security report of your Linux system that outlines where the problems are (including rootkits).

In this guide, we’ll go over how to install the Tiger security tool and scan for dangerous Rootkits.

Install Tiger

Tiger doesn’t come with any Linux distributions out of the box, so before going over how to use the Tiger security tool on Linux, we will need to go over how to install it. You will need Ubuntu, Debian, or Arch Linux to install Tiger without compiling the source code.

Ubuntu

Tiger has long been in the Ubuntu software sources. To install it, open up a terminal window and run the following apt command.

sudo apt install tiger

Debian

Debian has Tiger, and it is installable with the Apt-get install command.

sudo apt-get install tiger

Arch Linux

The Tiger security software is on Arch Linux via the AUR. Follow the steps below to install the software on your system.

Step 1: Install the packages required to install AUR packages by hand. These packages are Git and Base-devel.

sudo pacman -S git base-devel

Step 2: Clone the Tiger AUR snapshot to your Arch PC using the git clone command.

git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/tiger.git

Step 3: Move the terminal session from its default directory (home) to the new tiger folder that holds the pkgbuild file.

cd tiger

Step 4: Generate an Arch installer for Tiger. Building a package is done with the makepkg command, but beware: sometimes package generation doesn’t work due to dependency problems. If this happens to you, check the official Tiger AUR page for the dependencies. Be sure also to read the comments, as other users may have insights.

makepkg -sri

Fedora and OpenSUSE

Sadly, both Fedora, OpenSUSE and other RPM/RedHat-based Linux distributions do not have an easy to install binary package to install Tiger with. To use it, consider converting the DEB package with alien. Or follow the source code instructions below.

Generic Linux

To build the Tiger app from source, you’ll need to clone the code. Open up a terminal and do the following:

git clone https://git.savannah.nongnu.org/git/tiger.git

Install the program by running the included shell script.

sudo ./install.sh

Alternatively, if you’d like to run it (rather than install it) do the following:

sudo ./tiger

Check for rootkits on Linux

Tiger is an automatic application. It doesn’t have any unique options or switches that users can use in the command-line. The user can’t just “run the rootkit” option to check for one. Instead, the user must use Tiger and run a full scan.

Each time the program runs, it does a scan of many different types of security threats on the system. You’ll be able to see everything it’s scanning. Some of the things that Tiger scans are:

  • Linux password files.
  • .rhost files.
  • .netrc files.
  • ttytab, securetty, and login configuration files.
  • Group files.
  • Bash path settings.
  • Rootkit checks.
  • Cron startup entries.
  • “Break-in” detection.
  • SSH configuration files.
  • Listening processes.
  • FTP configuration files.

To run a Tiger security scan on Linux, gain a root shell using the su or sudo -s command.

su -

or

sudo -s

Using root privileges, execute the tiger command to start the security audit.

tiger

Let the tiger command run and go through the audit process. It will print out what it’s scanning, and how it is interacting with your Linux system. Let the Tiger audit process run its course; it’ll print out the location of the security report in the terminal.

View Tiger Logs

To determine if you have a rootkit on your Linux system, you must view the security report.

To look at any Tiger security report, open up a terminal and use the CD command to move into /var/log/tiger.

Note: Linux will not let non-root users in /var/log. You must use su.

su -

or

sudo -s

Then, access the log folder with:

cd /var/log/tiger

In the Tiger log directory, run the ls command. Using this command prints out all the files in the directory.

ls

Take your mouse and highlight the security report file that ls reveals in the terminal. Then, view it with the cat command.

cat security.report.xxx.xxx-xx:xx

Look over the report and determine if Tiger has detected a rootkit on your system.

Removing rootkits on Linux

Removing Rootkits from Linux systems — even with the best tools, is hard and not successful 100% of the time. While it is true there are programs out there that may help get rid of these kinds of issues; they don’t always work.

Like it or not, if Tiger has determined a dangerous worm on your Linux PC, it’s best to back up your critical files, create a new live USB, and re-install the operating system altogether.

Read How to check for rootkits on Linux with Tiger by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Remove ‘Protected View’ Status From A File In Microsoft Office

Files downloaded from the internet aren’t always safe. While this usually means EXE files, documents too can be dangerous. This is why apps that can open documents, spreadsheets, or presentations, etc., are weary of items that were downloaded from the internet or copied from a different system. Microsoft Office will open files that came from the internet but it won’t enable editing unless you explicitly allow it to. While this is for your own protection, it also applies to documents you downloaded from your own email. If you want, you can remove the ‘Protected File’ status from a file.

Remove ‘Protected View’ Status

Open the folder containing the file that has ‘Protected View’ status. Right-click it, and select Properties from the context menu. In the Properties window, on the General tab, look for a Security section at the very bottom. Select the Unblock box and click the Apply button.

Open the file and you will no longer see the Protect View bar at the top. If you do see it, close the file, and open it again. On the second attempt, the bar ought to be gone.

This will apply only to that file alone. All other files that were copies of this file, or that you downloaded, or copied from a different system will still open in Protected View. You have to remove the ‘Protected Status’ from each file individually.

This works for all sorts of files that any of the apps in the Microsoft Office suite can open. If you have a spreadsheet or a presentation that opens in protected view, this will disable it.

If you have other apps that open files in some similar protected mode, this will likely disable it as well. If it doesn’t, it’s likely that the app is using its own protection mode to keep you safe. Check the app’s settings, or the file’s security settings to see if there’s an option to disable it.

Once removed, the protection can’t be added back. What you’re basically doing is editing the properties of a file so that it is no longer recognized as one downloaded from a different system. If you need to add some sort of protection to the document, you can check some of the options that Microsoft Office apps offer. There are ways to restrict people from editing a file and you can always add a password to make sure that no one without it can make changes to it.

Read How To Remove ‘Protected View’ Status From A File In Microsoft Office by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Check The Security Of A Linux PC With Lynis

If your Linux security is lacking, a good idea is to audit your system. A great way to run an audit is to use a program that tests security and offers concrete solutions. One such auditing tool is Lynis. It’s a a tool that can check the security of a Linux PC. It scans any Linux PC, tests its security, and prints out a list of possible issues and fixes. The best part of this tool is that it’s very simple to use and anyone can use it.

Ubuntu/Debian

Lynis has excellent support for Debian and Ubuntu through their own software repository. Enabling this software repository is a little different from other software sources, as it’s a traditional software repository. There are no PPAs or anything. This is so that Lynis works on both Debian and Ubuntu without issue.

To start the installation, launch a terminal window and download the correct GPG key.

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys C80E383C3DE9F082E01391A0366C67DE91CA5D5F

With the key working, add the new Lynis software source to the system.

sudo -s
echo '#Lynis repo ' >> /etc/apt/sources.list

echo 'deb https://packages.cisofy.com/community/lynis/deb/ stable main' >> /etc/apt/sources.list

The Lynis software repo needs a special package. This package will allow Ubuntu (or Debian) to interact with HTTPS software sources.

sudo apt install apt-transport-https

or

sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https

With the Apt-transport-https package working on your system, it’s safe to refresh the software sources. Run update in the terminal.

sudo apt update

or

sudo apt-get update

Finally, install Lynis.

sudo apt install lynis

or

sudo apt-get install lynis

Arch Linux

Like most programs, Arch has the Lynis security tool in the AUR. To install it, launch a terminal and install Git and the Base-devel packages. Then pull the code down and generate a new Arch package.

Note: please understand that installing software directly from the Arch AUR, rather than the official software sources means that sometimes dependencies do not install. You may need to install these packages manually if this happens during the Lynis installation process. Dependencies can be found at the bottom of this page here.

sudo pacman -S git base-devel
git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/lynis-git.git

cd lynis-git

makepkg -si

Fedora

Lynis has support for Fedora, though it requires a third-party software source to install it. Enable the software source by launching a terminal and using the touch and echo commands.

sudo -s

touch /etc/yum.repos.d/cisofy-lynis.repo
echo '[lynis]' >> /etc/yum.repos.d/cisofy-lynis.repo
echo 'name=CISOfy Software - Lynis package' >> /etc/yum.repos.d/cisofy-lynis.repo
echo 'baseurl=https://packages.cisofy.com/community/lynis/rpm/' >> /etc/yum.repos.d/cisofy-lynis.repo
echo 'enabled=1' >> /etc/yum.repos.d/cisofy-lynis.repo
echo 'gpgkey=https://packages.cisofy.com/keys/cisofy-software-rpms-public.key' >> /etc/yum.repos.d/cisofy-lynis.repo
echo 'gpgcheck=1' >> /etc/yum.repos.d/cisofy-lynis.repo

Next, update the following packages on your system:

sudo dnf update ca-certificates curl nss openssl -y

Finally, install Lynis with dnf install.

sudo dnf install lynis -y

OpenSUSE

The Lynis tool has a software repository available for all versions of OpenSUSE. Turn it on with the following commands in a terminal window.

sudo rpm --import https://packages.cisofy.com/keys/cisofy-software-rpms-public.key
sudo zypper addrepo --gpgcheck --name "CISOfy Lynis repository" --priority 1 --refresh --type rpm-md https://packages.cisofy.com/community/lynis/rpm/ lynis

With the repo on Suse, it’s time to refresh the system.

sudo zypper refresh

Finish up the setup process by using Zypper to install Lynis.

sudo zypper install lynis

 Generic Linux

The Lynis auditing tool has a generic Tarball for those on Linux distributions that don’t have direct support from the developer. Thankfully, this downloadable Tar archive requires no compilation of any kind. Instead, users just download it and run the program as is.

To install Lynis via a downloadable  Tar archive, use the wget tool and download the package, then extract it.

wget https://downloads.cisofy.com/lynis/lynis-2.6.8.tar.gz
tar -zxvf lynis-2.6.8.tar.gz 

cd lynis

Run the Lynis tool with:

./lynis

Using Lynis

Lynis is a simple tool with a lot of options. For the average user, basic options will do. The most basic (yet comprehensive) operation that the program can do is to do a complete audit of the system. To run the audit, open up a terminal and enter the following command into it.

lynis audit system

Running the above command without any Sudoer privileges will scan many aspects of the system. However, it won’t get everything. Running a full scan requires sudo.

sudo lynis audit system --pentest

Need to save the results for later? Pipe them to a text file.

sudo lynis audit system >> /home/username/Documents/lynis-results.txt

Scan Docker File

Docker is becoming increasingly popular on Linux systems. With all of the pre-made Docker images out there, security breaches are bound to happen. Thankfully, Lynis allows users to scan Docker files and test them for issues. To run a test, try the following command.

lynis audit dockerfile /home/username/path/to/dockerfile

Quick Scan

Lynis can do many different types of scans. A scan that may be useful if you’re in a hurry is the “quick” scan mode. This mode tests basic areas of the system, for fasts results.

Run a quick system audit with:

lynis audit system -Q

Read How To Check The Security Of A Linux PC With Lynis by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter