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I'm planning on running some bitcoin wallets I would like to be extra resilient to hack attempts. I plan on installing them on an encrypted usb stick and only interacting with the stick with linux commands, decrypting and mounting through the wsl2 interface.

So is running a linux-version wallet under emulated linux with wsl2 any more secure than running the windows version of the same program?

Or if someone was to get access to windows through some security vulnerability, would they just as easily be able to hijack my linux shell to read my actions or get the contents of my usb (assuming I am actively using the computer and have unlocked the usb to use the wallet myself normally through linux)

Am I wasting my time here?

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Does linux in windows with wsl2 carry the usual security advantages of linux

I don't know which "usual security advantages of linux" you specifically refer to, but there is a deliberately tight integration between these systems. This includes access to the other systems file system, accessing environment variables from each other, executing programs from the other subsystem etc - see Windows and Ubuntu interoperability on WSL2 for more.

If you want proper separation on the same system then use a real virtual machine instead, not a deliberately deeply integrated subsystem.

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  • A VM doesn't really help here either, unless you mean reinstalling to make Linux the host and Windows the guest. VMs can only protect the host from the guest, not the guest from the host. Jun 16 at 22:56
  • @JosephSible-ReinstateMonica There are some techniques that allow a VM guest to be protected by the host on hardware that supports it, e.g. AMD SEV.
    – forest
    Jun 16 at 23:12
  • @forest But SEV doesn't actually seem secure (see, e.g., arxiv.org/abs/1908.11680), plus it's a lot of extra work to set up, so even if it were perfectly secure, getting its benefits is a lot trickier than just using a normal VM. Jun 17 at 2:09
  • @JosephSible-ReinstateMonica That's just the remote attestation which is broken due to the firmware rollback attacks being possible, it looks like (so their mitigation can be bypassed). But either way, my point is only that it's not fundamentally impossible to protect a guest from the host.
    – forest
    Jun 17 at 2:10

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