Ubuntu is working on a new Desktop Security Center that aims to make it easier for users to access some of the distro’s underlying security features.

An early version of the Flutter-based tool was made available to install from the Canonical Snap Store this week — but before anyone gets too excited I should stress it’s very much a WIP and not entirely functional (so set expectations accordingly)!

Even so, there’s enough to pique interest.

Read on for a more detail on what this tool is, the features Canonical plans to surface through, and how you can install the early preview build yourself.

Ubuntu Desktop Security Center

Ubuntu comes with a number of security features built-in. The problem is that accessing them isn’t straightforward. Some require command-line setup, some live in the Settings app, and others are split out across or hidden within disparate tools.

Keen to do better, Ubuntu’s developers have been working on a new, dedicated hub where users can see, access, and control key security features.

The plan is to make the Desktop Security Center the new home for Ubuntu Pro. This will support attaching machines to an Ubuntu Pro plan, enabling ESM coverage, turning on kernel live-patching, and accessing compliance and hardening options.

Attaching machines to an Ubuntu Pro subscription in the new Desktop Security Center
Attaching machines to an Ubuntu Pro subscription

In current LTS releases Ubuntu Pro and livepatch are accessed through a tab patched in to the Software & Updates tool.

Users will be able to see/manage file access requests from confined apps in the new security hub in the near-term, but devs will expand the scope to include other resources in time. Note: these permissions are different to portal controls in the Settings > Applications pane.

Snap permissions section is currently placeholder/WIP

Beyond that, Desktop Security Center will expose re-encryption options for hardware-backed encryption configs and offer a GUI method to see encryption recovery keys.

A new Network section is planned where users will be able to enable/disable their firewall, configure ports, and make use of “stealth mode”.

I don’t know much else about this tool (the GitHub project page has a blank readme at the time I write this), and as you can see from a few of the screenshots in this post, it’s still in an early state (so don’t judge it too harshly, too soon).

For example, while the Ubuntu Pro options all appear to be functional (though I tried this app on 23.10 so couldn’t actually enrol) the snap permissions section is entirely placeholder:

A sign of things to come

Install Desktop Security Center (Preview)

This app is WIP and not fully-functional. Ubuntu Pro features will not work on non-LTS releases. Snap permissions section is currently placeholder. All of the usual caveats about running development software apply. Use at your own risk. Etc.

To install Desktop Security Center in Ubuntu (any version) run the following command:

sudo snap install --edge desktop-security-center

You will need to run the Desktop Security Center in Ubuntu from the command-line as no desktop shortcut/launcher icon is added — that will change as development continues.

Interesting effort, all told

It’ll be interesting to see if this new security hub is robust enough to ship in Ubuntu 24.04 LTS (which would make sense given the it’s an Ubuntu Pro dashboard and Ubuntu Pro only supports LTS releases).

As it’s packaged as a Snap Ubuntu will be able to update/iterate on the tool with less risk/more frequently than if it was a standard DEB package in the repo.

Is this something you’d use? Let me know below.



Ubuntu 24.04 LTS