Which is the preferable Linux-distribution for the main purpose of highest security online activity such as online banking, checking e-mail and login to online accounts, and how to install?

Which is the preferable Linux-distribution for the main purpose of keeping highest security for online activity such as online banking, checking e-mail and login to online accounts?

I have an almost new Dell R15 Inspiron with Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit now, which I would like to use only for translating and translation software plus do many searches on google when translating. Then I want to be able to quickly switch to Linux when needed to do online banking, check e-mail and login to online accounts.

So I wonder which would be the optimal solution, and which Linux-distribution to choose?

Either I could install Linux in a virtual box within the existing Windows-installation, or I could create a separate partition with a separate boot for Linux. I'm not sure, for example, what happens when my Windows get infected or just problem with hardware or software: Wouldn't a Linux in a virtual box also be affected if there is software or hardware problems, or problems with drivers, for that Windows-partition with Linux in virtual box?

So that the absolute safest would be to create a separate partition for Linux. Whenever there is any problem with Windows (hardware, software, drivers, infections), I will always be able to use Linux on another partition so I can do online banking for paying monthly bills, keep communication lines open by checking e-mail, do maintenance of my website etc.

In short, the main purposes with this Linux would be to always have access to online activity when problems with Windows, and to always use for as much online activity as possible in the most secure environment (leaving only those things to Windows that can't be dealt with by Linux).

Doesn't matter if there is a learning curve to learn this Linux-distro, as long as above main purposes are fulfilled.
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hermesalphaAsked:
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rindiCommented:
Liberte Linux is probably very good for this, but actually many Linux distro's that aren't specifically built for security are still very secure:

http://dee.su/liberte

One of the big advantages of many Linux distro's is that they often come as a LiveCD/DVD/USB and you can test them extensively without having to install anything. You can even use them in that way, which would in itself reduce your risks, as files can't be changed or written to on a LiveCD/DVD, which means after every reboot the OS is in the same state it was in before booting. Check the distrowatch site for further Linux distro's. Personally I like Linux Mint which is very easy to use even without having Linux pre-knowledge:

http://distrowatch.com/

Most distro's run fine as a VM, but I prefer VMware Player over VirtualBox, in my opinion it performs better, and like VBox is free:

https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/free#desktop_end_user_computing/vmware_player/5_0
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CSI-Windows_comCommented:
Use a free VM browser appliance.  For maximum security you can reset it after every browsing session.  You can also suspend it to preserve cookies and speed startup time.
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CSI-Windows_comCommented:
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
rindi, your Linux would be perfect for me, will definitely go for that! What are your thoughts about this?:

1. I use a Live USB instead of a virtual machine according to your suggestions, so that files can't be changed or written to (everything stays the same on the media after each reboot, nothing can be changed).
2. I use Live USB instead of Live CD-ROM/DVD as USB should be least breakable (most durable media).
3. No need to have any backup: Nothing can be saved or changed on this Linux, just use it for communication and login to online accounts with user credentials that are never saved anywhere.
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CSI-Windows_comCommented:
VMWare player virtual machines can be set to revert upon shutdown - all the benefits of read-only media with none of their limitations.
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rindiCommented:
With USB, as it is a writeable media, you can still store files on it, although as long as it is LiveUSB you can't save changes directly to the Linux system itself. It is also easily possible to install Linux to USB sticks, and that would then not be Live, but rather like any Linux installation to which you can write anything. So make sure you do make a LiveUSB system. The tool to use to create such a live USB stick from a LiveCD/DVD iso is unetbootin:

http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/

onto a LiveCD or DVD you wouldn't be able to save anything as either are read only media.
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
Ok, and that is nothing any infection can change? If I set the virtual machine to revert upon shutdown, it's 99 % certain it will? Nothing that can be altered by any virus?
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
But Live USB, can't the data on that be changed (but can not be changed/written to a CD-ROM/DVD)?
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rindiCommented:
The data can't be changed directly, you have to manually mount the partition and then you can write data to the mounted partition. If you don't manually mount the partition, you can't save data to it.
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
Will any USB-stick (size, model) work to create a Live USB? For this Linux, would a 40 GB USB-stick be enough?
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
Or could I buy Kingston's 256 GB USB stick and install several different Linux-distros on the same Live USB? Just to be able to try a few others.
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rindiCommented:
I use a 4GB stick for most of my distros. Some large distro's might require an 8GB stick. You can generally look at the download size of the iso file. The stick doesn't have to be much larger. Since you also won't be saving files to it I wouldn't buy a large stick anyway, as you'd be wasting space and money then.
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CSI-Windows_comCommented:
Hmmmm.... not sure why you would want to spend all the time building something yourself when you can download the free Browsing appliance and use it in the free VMWare player in less than 10 minutes - with all of the above discussed benefits and more.

Unless  you REALLY enjoy suiting your needs by your own handy craft ;)
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
Wouldn't a Linux in a virtual machine also be affected if there are any software or hardware problems, or problems with drivers, for that Windows-partition with Linux in virtual box?

And also, the Live USB I can always use on almost any other computer. If I get my ordinary laptop stolen, damaged, software or hardware problems, problems with drivers etc. I would have to get that fixed to be able to use the virtual machine with Linux. With the Live USB I can immediately rent a laptop or buy a new cheap one and get started at once, or maybe even use it on an internet café.
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
rindi, is it the "Burnable ISO image"-option I should download from your link?:

http://dee.su/liberte
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rindiCommented:
Yes, and then use the unetbootin tool to get it on the USB stick. Unetbootin works for many Linux distro's but not all and I haven't tried it with that particular one. So I can't say whether it will work.
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hermesalphaAuthor Commented:
The ISO for Liberté is on only 143 MB, is it possible to use my 4 GB USB stick and install several ISO:s for several different Linux-distros? Or is it the same as with CD-ROM/DVD?: Once I've burned the ISO on the disc it's finalized and no more ISO can be written on it. So once I've put the ISO on the Live USB-stick, I can't put any more ISO:s on it?
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rindiCommented:
Using more than one live distribution on one stick makes their installation more complicated. Although it should be possible at the moment I don't know how it would best be done.

For that distro you could use a smaller stick, 1GB for example.
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Darr247Commented:
From windows, I usually use the LiveUSB Creator from the fedora team, so I'm not sure about unetbootin, but it should have a way to leave the unused space writeable as a 'persistent overlay'.

OK... I just looked at UNetbootin's page, and it appears their persistent overlay works only with Ubuntu, though I'm not sure why that would be.
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