Analyst Journey: Deepin

I have been in my current work role for about four years now. Through these four years, I have not found a workstation that I have really fallen in love with. In the beginning, I was playing on Windows 10 since I came from a sysadmin role that was focused on a Windows environment and I was afraid of Linux at the time. Over the four years, I have grown significantly. I purchased a MacBook and went to various training courses on Linux which has helped me eliminate my fear of the Terminal.  Now I am just faced with the paradigm of choices. 

I have previously been using two different Analyst workstations: Windows 10 and Ubuntu 16.04. The workstations are amazing and the only complaints about both of them would be that all tools aren’t universal. The Windows machine has been primarily used for malware analysis and smartphone forensics, the Ubuntu workstation is where I have my SIFT-CLI tools primarily installed. I will be making two other blog posts about how I created those assets but right now, I have a new apple in my eye: Deepin.

I came across the Forbes article about how pretty Deepin is compared to Mac OS X and Windows 10. One thing to note about me is that I am a sucker for pretty. Apple gets me every year with their keynotes when a pretty graphic is displayed on the new iPhone. As I am thinking about the SANS Cyber Defense Initiative 2018 DFIR Netwars that I am attending this weekend, I decided to build out a Deepin virtual machine and share the process. Netwars is usually a good test for me to see if I can be versatile with handling different DFIR evidence.

Meet Deepin

Deepin was established in 2011 by Deepin Technology. Deepin Technology is a commercial company that focused on R&D and service of Linux-based Chinese operating system. The operating system is a Debian based system running on x86-64 architectures.

Disclaimer: I am running version 15.8. Prior to version 15.6, there were many reports that Deepin is a spyware OS. The choice of the Deepin OS is a personal choice and I recommend reviewing the code before installing.

Installation Process

Deepin makes a streamlined process for the installation. I actually enjoyed the simplicity of the installation process. After about ten minutes, I was able to navigate through the six pages toconfigure the preliminary settings machine and complete the installation.

There is one caveat to the installation of Deepin that has me a tad worried about how the system will operate during NetWars.  The second page of the installation states:

Friendly Reminder

System has detected that you are using a virtual machine, which will affect the system performance and operation experience, for a smooth experience, it is recommended to install deepin in real-machine environment.

Friendly Reminder Screen presented during installation

It is hard for me to fathom that an operating system is not ideal for a virtual machine is the modern era of VMWare. I am running the virtual machine in VMWare Fusion 10.1.5 with my fingers crossed. Deepin does follow-up with a setting option that prompts the user to select Common Mode to “Enjoy its fast performance” or Effect Mode for “Have a smooth and dedicate experience” that will allow the user to choose his or her own experience. Due to my reservation, I selected Effect Mode with a hope of stability in the virtual machine.

Friendly Reminder: Common or Effect Mode

The next three setting options are user preference just like the Matrix red or blue pill. The Desktop mode selection appears to be a choice between Efficient Mode, which is similar to a Windows toolbar and menu layout, and a Fashion Mode, that takes kin to the Mac OS X toolbar layout. In my Mac OS X nature, I chose the Fashion Mode.

Desktop Mode selection. Efficient mode (left) and Fashion Mode (right)

The Window effect selection is something that caught my attention. I was not a huge fan of the Windows 10 Control Center when it was introduced. As I used it, I found more ways to work for my benefit. Deepin gives the user an option to enable or disable the feature. For now, I have the Control Center enabled to give me a little bit of a Windows feel.

Window effect option to enable/disable Control Center

The final setting is something that is unique to Deepin. Deepin allows users to select between five icon themes. I think I took the safe option by going with the Marea theme. It appears to be the in-between option of the provided icon themes.

Icon theme selection

Judging A Book By Its Cover

I have officially had the operating system installed for three hours. I need to dive in a little further to decide how much I like it. Deepin did succeed in the beauty department. My eyes have been glued to the magnificent colors that pop out of the screen. The Control Center is smoother than the Windows 10 counterpart. I find that it has the right amount of setting controls for me. I specifically like the Power Management settings. Deepin allows the user to control numerous settings that can alter the power output of the machine.

The initial desktop.

Deepin Control Center

Deepin has my initial Thumbs Up. The system runs smoothly although the operating system does warn about the virtual machine effect on Deepin. Join me on my journey as I write about installing a few of my favorite DFIR tools.

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