We are very pleased to announce that the Insurgo PrivacyBeast X230 has passed Qubes 4.0 Hardware Certification and is now a Qubes-certified Laptop!

What is Qubes Certified Hardware?

Qubes Certified Hardware is hardware that has been certified by the Qubes developers as compatible with Qubes OS. Beginning with Qubes 4.0, in order to achieve certification, the hardware must satisfy a rigorous set of requirements, and the vendor must commit to offering customers the very same configuration (same motherboard, same screen, same BIOS version, same Wi-Fi module, etc.) for at least one year.

Qubes-certified Laptops, in particular, are regularly tested by the Qubes developers to ensure compatibility with all of Qubes’ features. The developers test all new major versions and updates to ensure that no regressions are introduced.

It is important to note, however, that Qubes Hardware Certification certifies only that a particular hardware configuration is supported by Qubes. The Qubes OS Project takes no responsibility for any manufacturing or shipping processes, nor can we control whether physical hardware is modified (whether maliciously or otherwise) en route to the user. (However, see below for information about how the Insurgo team mitigates this risk.)

About the Insurgo PrivacyBeast X230 Laptop

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The Insurgo PrivacyBeast X230 is a custom refurbished ThinkPad X230 that not only meets all Qubes Hardware Certification requirements but also exceeds them thanks to its unique configuration, including:

  • Coreboot initialization for the x230 is binary-blob-free, including native graphic initialization. Built with the Heads payload, it delivers an Anti Evil Maid (AEM)-like solution built into the firmware. (Even though our requirements provide an exception for CPU-vendor-provided blobs for silicon and memory initialization, Insurgo exceeds our requirements by insisting that these be absent from its machines.)

  • Intel ME is neutered through the AltMeDisable bit, while all modules other than ROMP and BUP, which are required to initialize main CPU, have been deleted.

  • A re-ownership process that allows it to ship pre-installed with Qubes OS, including full-disk encryption already in place, but where the final disk encryption key is regenerated only when the machine is first powered on by the user, so that the OEM doesn’t know it.

  • Heads provisioned pre-delivery to protect against malicious interdiction.

How to get one

Please see the Insurgo PrivacyBeast X230 on the Insurgo website for more information.

Acknowledgements

Special thanks go to:

  • Thierry Laurion, Director of Insurgo, Technologies Libres (Open Technologies), for spearheading this effort and making Heads+Qubes laptops more broadly accessible.

  • Trammell Hudson, for creating Heads.

  • Purism, for greatly improving the UX of Heads, including the GUI menu, and for adding Nitrokey and Librem Key support.