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Updated on GitHub 4 months ago (see history)

How to setup hardened Ubuntu environment on Intel computer


The following hardware is required.

  • Computer compatible with Ubuntu 22.04.1 LTS
  • USB flash drive (used to create Ubuntu for desktops bootable installer, 4GB min)
  • USB flash drive (used to install Ubuntu for desktops, 16GB min)


Physically removing internal disk(s) and wireless interface(s) if not soldered to motherboard or disabling interface(s) using BIOS if soldered is recommended to strengthen data persistence and air gap hardening.

Installing Ubuntu for desktops on datAshur PRO² USB flash drive is recommended to enforce access control, data persistence and tamper resistance hardening.

Bootable installer creation guide

Step 1: install Raspberry Pi Imager


Go to, download and install Raspberry Pi Imager.

Ubuntu (or other Debian-based OS)

Heads-up: depends on Qt.

$ sudo add-apt-repository -y universe
$ sudo apt install -y rpi-imager

Step 2: disable Raspberry Pi Imager telemetry


$ defaults write org.raspberrypi.Imager.plist telemetry -bool NO

Ubuntu (or other Debian-based OS)

$ mkdir -p ~/.config/Raspberry\ Pi
$ cat << "EOF" > ~/.config/Raspberry\ Pi/Imager.conf

Step 3: download Ubuntu for desktops

Heads-up: for additional security, verify Ubuntu for desktops download.

Go to and download Ubuntu 22.04.1 LTS.

Step 4: create Ubuntu for desktops bootable installer

Open “Raspberry Pi Imager”, click “CHOOSE OS”, then “Use custom”, select Ubuntu for desktops .iso, click “CHOOSE STORAGE”, select USB flash drive and, finally, click “WRITE”.

Raspberry Pi Imager


Installation guide

Step 1 (optional): physically remove internal disk(s)

Step 2 (optional): initialize datAshur PRO² and enable bootable mode (see product documentation for instructions)

Step 3: insert both USB flash drives into computer

Step 4 (if applicable): enable “Secure Boot” and disable “Boot Order Lock”

Secure Boot

Boot Order Lock

Step 5: boot to Ubuntu for desktops bootable installer and select “Try or Install Ubuntu”

Try or Install Ubuntu

Step 6: connect Ethernet cable or connect to Wi-Fi network

Step 7: install Ubuntu

Click “Install Ubuntu”

Install Ubuntu

Choose keyboard layout and click “Continue”

Keyboard layout

Select “Minimal installation” and click “Continue”

Updates and other software

Select “Something else” and click “Continue”

Installation type

Delete all partitions on USB flash drive on which Ubuntu for desktops is being installed

Delete partitions

Create 512MB EFI partition on USB flash drive on which Ubuntu for desktops is being installed

EFI partition

Create ext4 partition and set mount point to / on USB flash drive on which Ubuntu for desktops is being installed

ext4 partition

Choose “Device for boot loader installation” and click “Install now”

Install now

Confirm changes about to be written to disk and click “Continue”

WARNING: make sure changes only apply to USB flash drive on which Ubuntu for desktops is being installed.

Write the changes to disk

Choose timezone and click “Continue”

Where are you

Choose credentials, select “Log in automatically” (optional) and click “Continue”

Who are you


Configuration guide

Step 1: disable telemetry

Help improve Ubuntu

Step 2: run update-manager and click “Install Now”

Software Updater

Step 3: reboot

Step 4 (if applicable): enable “Boot Order Lock”

Boot Order Lock

Step 5 (optional): center new windows

$ gsettings set org.gnome.mutter center-new-windows true

Step 6 (optional): enable dark mode

$ gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface color-scheme prefer-dark
$ gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface gtk-theme Yaru-dark

Step 7: disable auto-mount

$ gsettings set automount false

Step 8: add universe APT repository

$ sudo add-apt-repository -y universe

Step 9: install curl, libfuse2, overlayroot and zbar-tools

$ sudo apt install -y curl libfuse2 overlayroot zbar-tools

Step 10 (if applicable): download Superbacked and allow executing superbacked.AppImage as program

Download Superbacked

Heads-up: replace ABCDEFGH with your license code.

Heads-up: for additional security, verify Superbacked download.

$ curl --fail --location --output ~/Desktop/superbacked.AppImage ""

Allow executing superbacked.AppImage as program

Right-click “superbacked.AppImage”, click “Properties”, click “Permissions” and, finally, select “Allow executing file as program”.

Allow executing file as program

Step 11: set ext4 and vfat filesystems to read-only

$ sudo sed -i 's/errors=remount-ro/errors=remount-ro,noload,ro/g' /etc/fstab
$ sudo sed -i 's/umask=0077/umask=0077,ro/g' /etc/fstab

Step 12: disable

$ sudo sed -i 's/quiet splash/quiet splash' /etc/default/grub
$ sudo update-grub

Step 13: set overlayroot to tmpfs

$ sudo sed -i 's/overlayroot=""/overlayroot="tmpfs"/g' /etc/overlayroot.conf

Step 14: clear Bash history

$ history -cw

Step 15: reboot

Heads-up: filesystem will be mounted as read-only following reboot.

$ sudo systemctl reboot

Step 16: shutdown

Heads-up: filesystem is ready for optional hardware read-only hardening.

$ sudo systemctl poweroff

Step 17 (optional): physically remove internal disk(s) and wireless interface(s) if not soldered to motherboard or disable interface(s) using BIOS if soldered

Disable interfaces

Step 18 (optional): enable datAshur PRO² global read-only (see product documentation for instructions)


Contributors: Sun KnudsenSun Knudsen
Wish to contribute or need help? Read the docs.
Copyright (c) Sun Knudsen
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