Month: January 2017

Building a Raspberry pi kiosk

One thing many people want to achieve with a Raspberry Pi is a functioning simple web kiosk. Combined with a touchscreen, it could potentially replace ATM machines. Yes, it’s high time we switched to low cost, secure ATM kiosks based on easily available commodity hardware. ATM machines and Kiosks mostly run a Windows XP (!?) on a machine that’s configured to launch only one application and in the event the application crashes, the system shuts down and sends an alert to the bank staff. This can easily be done with a Raspberry Pi. The system should have no problem delivering the complete set of functionality, should be fairly easy to deploy, maintain and secure on a large scale and hey, Raspberry Pi is so tiny, we’ll be spoilt for space inside the ATM machine. (More cash, Yay!). I’m not even going to elaborate on the savings on electricity (go figure!).

RPi awesomeness
By Chris Sheppard on Flickr

The idea of this exercise is simple. You start the system and you get dumped onto a web browser with a specific site loaded. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. If the web browser crashes, the system attempts to restart the browser or dies trying >:D

We also need this kiosk thing to be gentle on system resources. So we’ll use lightweight (albeit effective and powerful) applications. The ingredient list is as follows:

  1. Auto Log-in: nodm
  2. Auto X start: we use a simple .xsession file
  3. Window Manager: We’ll be using the full awesomeness of matchbox
  4. Browser: uzbl. Haven’t heard of it? You should totally check it out.
  5. Splash screen: fbi. Yea I know how that sounds. 😛

Let’s see how to set each one of these babies up

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ClamAV – The antivirus you are looking for!

Funny names! why, oh why?

I use ClamAV on my workstations. So what is ClamAV and why is it a big deal? ClamAV [site] is a powerful Free/Open source software cross platform anti-virus framework that is licensed under GNU GPL. It is based on the libclamav library and hence it’s more a framework than a product.

Do I need an anti-virus?

Now some of you *nix users may be asking yourself the obvious question

I’m running Do I need an anti-virus at all?

The short answer is “YES”. The long answer? It depends. While there are not many Linux viruses (virii?) in the wild, that’s only because the authors of malware are only interested in targeting systems with a large user base. Windows desktop user base is larger than Linux currently. That could change if the user-base of Linux increases in size significantly.

There is no silver bullet to security. Security is a mindset. It’s a practice. Having a system that detects and quarantines viruses is a single part of the set of good security practices. Although Linux isn’t prone to virus infections much, it’s a good idea to have a strong anti-virus running for these reasons:

  1. Your system might inadvertently play host to viruses from flash drives
  2. You might have a file server or a NAS server that Windows users connect to
  3. You might be running a mail server.

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