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Simple Whonix Installation Tutorial

Whonix is an operating system focused on anonymity, privacy and security. It’s based on the Tor anonymity network and security by isolation. DNS leaks are impossible, and not even malware with root privileges can find out the user’s real IP. This makes it a safer way to access the Deep Web opposed to just using Tor on your current operating system. It is especially discouraged to be using Tor with a Windows operating system because of the direct access that the NSA has to Microsoft’s systems and the information that Microsoft is willing to hand over to them.

(Read more about the NSA and Microsoft)

whonix

(Diagram above showing how Whonix Works.)

Before using Whonix, it is helpful to understand how exactly it works. Whonix is made up of two parts. There is one that solely runs Tor and acts as a gateway, aptly called Whonix-Gateway. The second part which the user actually uses is called the Whonix-Workstation. It is on a completely isolated network that only allows connections through Tor. Both of these parts are run in their own virtual machines on your computer and this keeps what you docontained within Whonix.

To start you will first want to download VirtualBox. This will allow you to create the virtual machines for running Whonix on your computer. Then download both Whonix-Gateway and Workstation. There are a couple download options and you can choose which one you think is best. It is also suggested that you verify the images using the Signing Key if you understand how to do so. If not, you may want to learn how with the guide on PGP encryption.

After installing VirtualBox, open up the program and just follow a few simple steps:

  1. Click File > Import Appliance…
  2. Click “Choose” and select the downloaded Whonix-Gateway.ova file.
  3. Click next and then “Import” without changing any of the settings.
  4. Wait for the progress bar to complete the import.
  5. Repeat those steps for the Whonix-Workstation.ova file.
  6. Now start both the Whonix-Gateway and Whonix-Workstation.

For your first use you will have to go through a quick setup process and then wait for Whonix to search for and install any necessary updates. Keep in mind you will need to keep Whonix-Gateway running but you don’t actually use it for anything besides updating. You will conduct all your activities within the Whonix-Workstation virtual machine window.

Now you can use Whonix to browse in a safer and more secure way, all without having to make drastic changes to your computer.

This article is added in our security tutorials section.

16 comments

  1. How does this compare to Tails? Better, worse?

    • John Smith

      Tails is a stripped-down OS designed for high-risk activity, which runs in an ugly Debian environment. Whonix on the other hand is a very secure OS designed for general use, i.e. a full desktop replacement, which (once you’ve endured the headache of installing/configuring the blasted thing!) looks nice and has more functionality. So it’s probably fair to say that Whonix is a better compromise between security and usability. But it all depends on your threat model. Tails is ‘amnesic’, reverting for each session to defaults which make all users look identical – and Tails is also configured to make its users look similar to other Tor Browser users, providing a high degree of anonymity. However the way Whonix isolates the Workstation probably makes it more secure against direct/targeted attacks. Which is “best”? Nobody can give you a straight answer.

    • Armagiddy

      I actually can give you a straight answer: if you have to ask the question, Tails is the “best” solution for you. Why? Because installing a safe, working Whonix is complicated (even the “simple” guide above assumes a lot of knowledge) and there are serious mistakes that can be made, compromising your security. What’s so good about Tails is that it’s a complete, out-of-the-box solution. Verifying the ISO image is about as difficult as it gets! The system is pre-configured for security/anonymity so you don’t have to worry about it.

  2. IT IS NOT THE SAME ON A MAC! EITHER POST AN ARTICLE SAYING “THIS IS ONLY FOR WINDOWS” OR FIND THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR BOTH COMPUTER SYSTEMS!!!! YOU SEEM TO ALWAYS DO THIS AND AS ONE OF THE ONLY REPUTABLE TOR/DARKNET/BTC WEBSITE BLOGS I EXPECT FUCKING MORE OF YOU AND WHATEVER STAFF YOU HAVE!!! IM SO DISAPPOINTED AND TIRED OF THIS. EVERYBODY ISNT A FUCKING POOR WORKING MINIMUM WAGE EARNER AND CAN ONLY AFFORD SHITTY DELL, ACER COMPUTERS ETC. PEOPLE HAVE FUCKING MACS TOO AND WE WANT PROPER INSTRUCTIONS TOO!!!!

    • IF YOU STUPID ASSHOLE IS STUPID ENOUGH TO BUY THE SAME SHITTY COMPUTER AS EVERYONE AND PAY IT HUNDREDS BUCKS MORE BECAUSE THERE’S A APPLE ON IT AND MOREOVER TO BE PROUD OF IT, PLUS IF YOU ARROGANT DUMBASS ISN’T CLEVER ENOUGH TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO USE A FUCKING VIRTUAL MACHINE (AND VIRTUALBOX IS WORKING EXACTLY THE SAME ON EVERY OPERATING SYSTEM, DICKHEAD), YOU JUST DONT DESERVE TO USE THE FUCKING DARKNET, YOU SON OF A BITCH.

      • Koala Akbar

        he’s illiterate and wants to buy his way to literacy by insult half (or more) of the people who can help him to watch “dog fucks man” videos on the dark web which he heard about on youtube/google … smh stay in the clearnet macfag you belong there !

    • Allison Reagan

      It works on Linux and OS X, apple-biter.

    • This comment shows the average mentality of a Fruit based product user – Narcissistic personality disorder and probably also a virgin.

  3. damn jake baxter you are a f’ing dumbarse. do us all a favor and stay far away from darknet, the internet, and the entire rest of society you blind brainwashed mf’er. OR go to prism-break.org and stop sucking proprietary dong you foolish hypocrite.

    to the author of this article, on whonix.org it says that if the host machine is compromised, then whonix is compromised (so, in such case it is not an improvement over tor browser bundle anyway). In other words don’t use windows or mac as the host machine. If you’re a linux noob start with ubuntu as the host os and go from there.

  4. Thank you very much!

    Great article, but only have a doubt…
    The Whonix can only starting just with the VirtualBox? It’s because I was wanting to run it with VMware.
    So, has how, or is it just the virtualbox same?

    • responder

      To JOÃO PEDRO, VMware does not support ip spoofing I think. In the case you want to use VMware, it support virtualBox files like Whonix-Gateway.ova or you can also choose to convert them to vmdk files.

  5. cant import whonix using vmware workstation 11 this error shows up “Whonix-Gateway-11.0.0.3.0\Whonix-Gateway-11.0.0.3.0.ovf did not pass OVF specification conformance or virtual hardware compliance check” pls any help/workaround wud be nice

  6. I know this is an old thread, but hopefully I can get some help here. Running VirtualBox on a Win7 host.

    Whonix gateway is connecting, the time syncs, etc. I can’t ping google or anything from the Konsole, but I can successfully perform apt-get update.

    On the Whonix workstation, I can also perform apt-get update so it IS connecting. But that’s it. I’ve spent three days trying to download the f*****g browser, and it times out each time. I increased the timeout to 3600 from 180, still no good.

    And, I installed Debian, just to see. Using Tor as the network adapter, I can’t browse at all.

    What am I missing here, besides what’s probably an obvious answer? BTW, the host is on a LAN behind a consumer router (optonline). Thanks.

  7. baxter is a dogs name

    I believe jakebaxter’s creds are posted on a .onion.top site … too bad he can’t see them :(

  8. i got error when i use whonix-gateway.It says tor circuit not established. what can i do?

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