Desktop Linux Security Review – Linux Mint
This post documents my testing results for the Desktop Linux distro Linux Mint. I performed the same testing on the following distros:
- [13 points] Elementary OS (results)
- [12 points] Ubuntu (results)
- [12 points] Manjaro (results)
- [10 points] MX Linux (results)
- [10 points] Garuda Linux (results)
- [9 points] Endeavour OS (results)
- [9 points] Pop!_OS (results)
The results are based on the methodology described here:
Linux Mint collected 13 out of 18 possible points – A very good result that shows the high level of maturity of this nicely polished distribution.
Distro Name: Linux Mint (https://linuxmint.com)
Tested Version: 20.3 (Cinnamon), downloaded on 2022-01-18
ISO MD5: 9f1e1cdefc445dfe8aec7e70283f0455
Total Score: 13 / 18
Summary of Installer – Security Features:
- [Y] Does the Installer offer to fully encrypt the main disk?
- [Y] Does the installer indicate the strength of chosen passwords?
Linux Mint’s graphical installer hides the option to fully encrypt the disk behind an advanced features button but still makes it easy to encrypt the full disk. The installer also comes with a password strength indicator, which is being used for the disk encryption password and the password of the main user.
Score: 2 / 2
Summary of Firewall:
- [Y] Is a host firewall installed by default?
- [N] Is the host firewall enabled by default?
- [N] Does the host firewall block all incoming/ingress traffic by default?
- [N] Does the host firewall filter outgoing/egress traffic by default?
Linux Mint installs UFW and GUFW per default. However, UFW is not enabled by default. Linux Mint does ask the user to enable the firewall in the graphical Welcome Wizard though.
Score: 1 / 4
Summary of Automatic Updates:
- [N] Are updates automatically downloaded during installation?
- [Y] Is the package manager configured to automatically download updates and notify the user about new updates being available?
- [Y] Are the package sources properly authenticated by default?
Linux Mint does not download updates during installation. The Update Manager is configured to notify the user about available updates by default. Signature checking for packages is enabled by default as well.
Score: 2 / 3
Vulnerability Scanning Results:
-  How many critical vulnerabilities are present right after installation?
-  How many high vulnerabilities are present right after installation?
-  How many critical vulnerabilities are present after a full software update run?
-  How many high vulnerabilities are present after a full software update run?
Nessus scans identified 0 critical and 0 high vulnerabilities right after installation.
Score: 4 / 4
Summary of User Privileges:
- [Y] Is sudo required to use root privileges?
- [Y] Does sudo require a password?
Linux Mint is using sudo for admin task elevation and protects the use of sudo with a password.
Score: 2 / 2
Summary of Default Browser:
- [Y] Is the default browser updated regularly?
- [N] Does the default browser warn about the execution of downloaded files?
Linux Mint is installing Firefox as the default browser. It is regularly updated. However, it does not warn about the execution of downloaded files.
Score: 1 / 2
Summary of Application Sand-boxing:
Linux Mint installs AppArmor by default and enables it. It also installs a great set of AppArmor profiles. Profiles for CUPS and LibreOffice PDF-Import are also included. Best use of application sand-boxing I have seen so far.
Score: 1 / 1
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