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I use Chrome browser in XP to prepare Powerpoint presentations in Office 2007 for University. LibreOffice is less than satisfactory at my University. Am I safe surfing Net in Chrome on XP in VirtualBox under Ubuntu 14.04?

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Might want to change the title to say "am I safe browsing", as some folks skip your actual question and just look at the top answer. Since you ask both "am I safe" and "am I vulnerable" this could be misleading to some. I made a suggested edit, but I think it was declined. :-) –  kmort Apr 30 at 21:13
    
Installing XP in virtualbox will protect your Ubuntu from XP problems to a large extent but your XP will be just as unprotected as any XP would be installed directly on the machine. –  Warren Hill May 1 at 7:53
    
To close voters: why offtopic? He is asking if his Ubuntu 14.04 is safe. It is a fair question (though the answer is guessable ;)). –  Rinzwind May 1 at 8:53

3 Answers 3

No. It's a real install of Windows XP. That isn't safe.

Consider that if you also share things between it and the host, the host isn't safe either. Mapping a network drive in? That isn't safe now and anything that trusts that also now isn't safe.

Even if your browser itself is kept up to date, the software it uses plugins, system libraries, the network stack, etc... They're all slowly becoming abandoned by their developers. That means eventually any exposure to the wild will eventually become hazardous.

I would strongly recommend only using XP in an offline-only setting, if at all. I don't understand why you can't just use Chrome in the host. And there are more options for editing Powerpoint slides than just {Libre,Open}Office and full install of Microsoft Office:

There are options out there... Many better than Powerpoint-proper. Most free to some degree.

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Windows XP has reached End-of-Line and there are already security vulnerabilities surfacing which won't be fixed for Windows XP. So, using XP with internet access wouldn't be secure at all.

Since the only need for running Windows in Virtualbox is Office 2007, you can install Office 2007 in Ubuntu using Wine and PlayOnLinux. Follow the following question on how to do that:

And Chrome is already available on Ubuntu. But I am not really sure how you use it "in XP to prepare Powerpoint presentations in Office 2007" :-)

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I have XP-specific applications that won't run under wine or any later windows, as well as some windows-only applications, so for me an XP VM is an absolute requirement, which I've given some thought to.

You are at risk, but you can bring the risk down to an acceptable level by:

  1. Not browsing in the VM - do that in the host, copy files across as required.
  2. If there's some bizarre reason why you really must browse in the guest, throw all the browser-based security you can at it (strict noscript etc.) and only for the sites you really have to (and see item 4.).
  3. Cutting out all non-essential services from XP (especially network-related ones, but note that networking is used to share folders to the host.
  4. Running your VM from a file system that appears to be called immutable in the docs - it's reset to the starting conditions on shutdown. I asked about this here.
  5. or running still-supported security software on the guest (it's no use if you can't keep it up-to-date, which you can't if loads from immutable storage).
  6. Firewalling the VM on the host (which I haven't done properly yet, so can't go into more detail, but basically close all the ports to start with).
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