# Wasabi Setup Using Whonix


# Whonix Overview

Whonix is a free and open-source desktop operating system (OS) that is specifically designed for advanced security and privacy. Based on Tor, Debian GNU/Linux and the principle of security by isolation, Whonix realistically addresses common attack vectors while maintaining usability. Online anonymity and censorship circumvention is attainable via fail-safe, automatic and desktop-wide use of the Tor network, meaning all connections are forced through Tor or blocked.

The Whonix OS consists of two virtual machines (VMs): the Whonix Gateway and the Whonix Workstation. The former runs Tor processes and acts as a proxy, while the latter runs user applications on a completely isolated network.

# Getting and Using Whonix

To use Whonix, it is necessary to install either VirtualBox or Qubes. Qubes is a free-standing VM-based OS, designed for the best possible security. Whonix can be added to Qubes as an option during the installation process.

VirtualBox is a lightweight VM manager that can be installed on Windows, Linux, or MacOS. Whonix is added to VirtualBox by downloading and importing the Whonix installation .ova file.

Depending upon which of these two options is chosen, there is detailed information available on the use of Whonix in Qubes here, and the required downloads and information for using Whonix in VirtualBox here.

Caution

Unlike other operating systems in which a username and password are created during the installation process, Whonix installations come with the default username: "user", and default password: "changeme". The default user has administrative privileges.

At a minimum, the password should be changed when first starting Whonix. To change the password:

  • Open a terminal window.
  • Type: passwd and hit 'Enter'.
  • Follow the ensuing directions on the screen.

# Creating A Wasabi-Only VM

A Wasabi-Only Whonix VM requires a very small amount of disk space. This allows the luxury and security option of being able to create and dedicate a Whonix Workstation VM for the exclusive purpose of safely holding the Wasabi Wallet.

To avoid the risk of the wallet VM being compromised by malicious software or websites, do not install any applications in this VM other than those required by the Wasabi Wallet, or direct the Tor browser to any URL that is not necessary to install Wasabi.

For an advanced layer of security, it is possible to install and run the Wasabi Wallet VM using a removable storage medium e.g., USB drive or SD card. This allows the wallet to be stored in a safe place away from the computer.

As this is beyond the scope of this tutorial, consult the Qubes, VirtualBox or Whonix user guide for details. The Whonix documentation in particular offers multiple pages on security, hardening and privacy techniques.

# Qubes Users

Start Qubes and update all templates using the "Qubes Update Tool", which can be found in the "System Tools" menu.

In Qubes, the first step is to create a copy of the Whonix Workstation VM template, into which the Wasabi Wallet will be installed.

Qubes refers to this type of VM as a "AppVM".

To create a Whonix Workstation AppVM:

  1. Click on the blue "Q" icon on the top/left panel.
  2. On the resulting pull-down menu, select "Create Qubes VM".
  3. In the Settings window that opens, give the VM a descriptive name, such as "Wasabi-Wallet-Whonix", and select a label color.
  4. Select "AppVM" as the "Type".
  5. Select "whonix-ws-15" as the "Template".
  6. Select "sys-whonix" for "Networking".

These steps will create a lightweight copy of the Whonix Workstation VM template. All of the vital system files remain on the template in read-only mode and therefore cannot be altered by malware.

The newly created VM will be used to install and run the Wasabi Wallet files, and it will interact with the system files on the template VM to run seamlessly.

When the new AppVM is started, Qubes will automatically use a Whonix Gateway VM to connect to the Tor network, and will feed that connection to the AppVM through the "sys-whonix" connection that was chosen for the VM network.

Now is the time to change the user password, as described earlier in the yellow "Caution" section.

# VirtualBox Users

After importing the Whonix installation .ova file into VirtualBox, find and click the Whonix Gateway and the Whonix Workstation "Start" buttons on the VirtualBox Manager.

It will take a minute or two for the Tor network to become operational.

Everything is ready to go when the small globe icon on the bottom-right side of both VMs turns green, as shown here:

Change the Whonix user password for both VMs, as described earlier in the yellow "Caution" section. Then, run any needed updates for both the Gateway and Workstation VMs. To do so, open the terminal in both VMs by clicking on the small monitor icon on the bottom panel of each.

Run the following commands in each.

TIP

For better security and privacy, you can onionize the Debian and Whonix repositories.

[user@your-whonix-vm ~]$ sudo apt-get update
[user@your-whonix-vm ~]$ sudo apt-get upgrade
[user@your-whonix-vm ~]$ sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Now it is time to create the Wasabi Whonix VM.

  1. If the Whonix Workstation is currently running, shut it down.
  2. Open the VirtualBox manager and click once on the Whonix-Workstation tab on the left.
  3. Find and click on the "Clone" button on the top toolbar of the VirtualBox Manager.
  4. In the Settings window that opens, give the VM a descriptive name, such as "Wasabi-Wallet-Whonix".
  5. For "MAC Address Policy" select "Generate new MAC addresses for all network adaptors".
  6. Click the "Next>" button.
  7. Select "Linked clone" and then click on the "Clone" button.

These steps will create a lightweight copy of the Whonix Workstation VM template. All of the vital system files remain on the original, or template VM in read-only mode and therefore cannot be altered by malware. The new cloned VM will be used only to install and run the Wasabi Wallet files.

NOTE: From here on, the "original" Workstation VM that was cloned, will be referred to as the "template" VM.

Tip

If it is desired to use Whonix for purposes other than Wasabi, a new clone of the template VM should always be created for that purpose, rather than simply using the template VM. This keeps the template VM clean and free of any possible malware.

# Installing Wasabi on Qubes or VirtualBox

# Installing The Latest Release

To install and run the latest official Wasabi release on a Whonix VM, follow the detailed instructions found here. When the browser loads that link, click on the "Debian and Ubuntu" link under the "install package" heading, and follow that set of resulting instructions.

When finished, to start the Wasabi Wallet open a terminal window and enter:

[user@your-whonix-vm ~]$ wassabee

# Installing from Source Code

If it is desired to see and/or test the very latest Wasabi Wallet development features (using testnet is recommended), that may also be done in the Wasabi VM. The process for installing Wasabi from source code is the same for either Qubes or VirtualBox.

First, it is necessary to install the required dependencies for compiling and running Wasabi from source. This will be done in the "template" Workstation VM.

Start the template VM and open a terminal window. Then, make sure that the VM is updated.

[user@whonix-template ~]$ sudo apt-get update
[user@whonix-template ~]$ sudo apt-get upgrade
[user@whonix-template ~]$ sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Install .NET Core 3.1 SDK for "Building Apps" in the whonix-template.

Optional for privacy

To disable .NET's telemetry, which sends some usage information to Microsoft:

[user@whonix-template ~]$ export DOTNET_CLI_TELEMETRY_OPTOUT=1

In the future, when it is necessary to update .NET Core, then do it in this VM.

Now, shut down this VM.

Start the Wasabi-Whonix Workstation VM

Run the following commands:

[user@your-whonix-vm ~]$ sudo apt-get update
[user@your-whonix-vm ~]$ sudo apt-get install git
[user@your-whonix-vm ~]$ git clone https://github.com/zksnacks/walletwasabi.git
[user@your-whonix-vm ~]$ cd walletwasabi/WalletWasabi.Gui
[user@your-whonix-vm ~]$ dotnet run

Add the development branches to git.

[user@source-wasabi ~]$ git remote add nopara73 https://github.com/nopara73/WalletWasabi
[user@source-wasabi ~]$ git fetch nopara73
[user@source-wasabi ~]$ git checkout <development branch>

Pull the latest commits.

[user@source-wasabi ~]$ git pull

This concludes the tutorial on installing and running Wasabi Wallet in Whonix.

Following the steps in this tutorial will create an isolated, completely Tor-ified online environment in which a user may:

  • Run the currently released Wasabi Wallet as their primary wallet.
  • Check out and test a development branch or pull request.
  • Create additional VM's for specific testing and development purposes, if desired.