Six emergency CDs from antivirus manufacturers

Life Jacket

REVE Rescue Disk

In 2014, REVE Group first launched REVE Antivirus [10]. The Singapore-based company is one of the few to offer an antivirus solution specifically for Linux. The software, which is also intended for desktop systems, is available in variants for 32- and 64-bit systems.

The vendor also provides the REVE Rescue Disk [11], which can be downloaded free of charge after registration. The approximately 240MB ISO is based on the lean Puppy Linux 5.2.8 and offers a graphical user interface as well as numerous graphical tools.

After starting the system, an illustrated quick start guide opens first. The Puppy configuration dialog then lets you localize the operating system and adjust the screen resolution. After restarting the X server, a fully-fledged Puppy Linux with a customized background comes up (Figure 13).

Figure 13: The REVE Rescue Disk is based on Puppy Linux and is useful for both backups and as a rescue system.

Concept

Unlike other manufacturers' rescue systems, REVE Rescue Disk does not focus on a proprietary tool for restoring a Windows system crippled by malware; instead, it puts data backup in the foreground. Puppy is excellent for this, because it allows the individual partitions to be mounted and opened at the push of a button by displaying the existing drives on the desktop. Folders and files can then be transferred by drag and drop between the active file manager instances (Figure 14).

Figure 14: The REVE package is mainly suitable for backups.

The REVE Rescue Disk stands out as a practically complete Puppy Linux system that includes all preinstalled system tools. You can install any software you like with the Puppy Package Manager, and you can even install on a mass storage device (although this doesn't normally make much sense). The REVE Rescue Disk is therefore also excellently suited for working with damaged Linux systems. To repair compromised Windows systems, on the other hand, you have to use the rescue disk to transfer the affected partitions to a removable drive and process them on another system with a commercial scanner solution from the REVE Group.

Only a few applications are pre-installed on the disk, including the remote maintenance solution TeamViewer, although in a fairly antiquated version 7 and with a complete Wine runtime environment. Besides this, Google's Chrome – again this is an outdated version 21.0 – and the lean Dillo web browsers are available. When you launch a web browser from the panel bar at the bottom of the screen, a selection dialog opens where you choose the one you want to use.

Because the REVE package completely takes over the hardware detection and system maintenance tools usually included in Puppy Linux, including the backup routines, it is also suitable for locating hardware problems. However, it remains incomprehensible why the developers have also left numerous multimedia applications and games in the distribution – this does not sit well with the idea of a cross-platform rescue system.

Conclusions

The various rescue systems impressively prove that Linux is brilliantly suited for rescuing and recovering third-party operating systems (Table 1). Most of the distributions discussed here use proprietary vendor tools to remove malware from a compromised Windows system.

Table 1

Live Rescue Systems

  Avira Rescue System Comodo Rescue Disk ESET SysRescue Live Kaspersky Rescue Disk Norton Bootable Recovery Tool REVE Rescue Disk
System Linux Ubuntu SliTaz Ubuntu Gentoo RHEL 6 Puppy Linux
Windows Rescue
Own repair tool Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Registry editor Yes No Yes No No
Unlocker No No Yes No No
USB recovery No No Yes No No
Features
Text mode No Yes No No No
Installation possible No No No No Yes Yes
Linux Tools
Terminal Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Web browser Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Graphical partitioning Yes No Yes No No Yes

The tools that step slightly out of line are REVE Rescue Disk, which can genuinely back up data and even fix hardware problems on all operating systems with a slightly modified Puppy Linux, and Avira Rescue System and Norton Bootable Recovery Tool, whose repair tools only work with Windows systems.

ESET SysRescue Live scans email files for malware and is thus useful for scanning Linux mail servers. As a unique feature, the Comodo Rescue Disk offers a text mode in which the most important functions can be used without a graphical desktop.

For administrators of heterogeneous environments, this selection leaves virtually nothing to desire: Simply choose the rescue distribution that is the best fit for your requirements.

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