Tails, the operating system which was used by the whistleblower Edward Snowden, has reached the version 1.0 and it brings many important security and bug fixes.
It is a debian based linux distribution fully loaded with security tools with the main focus on the user’s anonymity and online privacy. Like many other linux distributions the Tails operating system can be run off DVD, a USB stick or an SD card.
According to the official website, Tails can help you to use the Internet anonymously and circumvent censorship, leave no trace on the computer you are using unless you ask it explicitly and encrypt your files or your communication with the help of state-of-the-art cryptographic tools.
Because all the communications that happen in Tails are forced to go through the Tor network which is very hard or impossible for someone to trace your online activity. Tor is an anonymity network with a large number of users (700 000 users connected to Tor daily in 2013) and it is being used by a diversity of people such as journalists, human right activists, businessmen and average users.
But Tor is not the only one software present in Tails that takes care of your privacy, software such as OpenPGP help to encrypt and sign emails and documents. There are other security tools available in the Tails linux distribution such as Linux Unified Key Setup disk encryption, HTTPS Everywhere, NetworkManager for easy network configuration, Aircrack-ng for Wi-Fi networks auditing, Claws Mail e-mail client and many others.
As you guys can see most of the applications included in the Tails operating system are security oriented tools. For example HTTPS Everywhere is a firefox extension that enables SSL-encrypted connections to a great number of major websites.
Probably one of the most important tools in this linux distribution is the I2P software which makes use of the Invisible Internet Project computer network layer that makes messaging pseudonymously and securely.
Ok guys, do you like to know some information about other tools included in Tails that you can use for encryption and your privacy?
I am very sure that most of you have used KeePassX, a password manager that helps to keep your passwords in secure place that only you can access with the help of the master key. Fortunately, this password manager is included by default in Tails.
But it does not end here, the followings are some other tools that can help to encrypt your files and manage your privacy:
- LUKS and GNOME Disks to install and use encrypted storage devices, e.g. for USB sticks
- GnuPG, the GNU implementation of OpenPGP for e-mail and data encryption and signing
- PWGen, a strong random password generator
- Shamir’s Secret Sharing using gfshare and ssss
- Florence virtual keyboard as a countermeasure against hardware keyloggers
- MAT to anonymize metadata in files
And now before jumping to the conclusion I would like to share a very important fact about the Tails linux distribution with you guys. Tails use only a computer’s RAM for storage by default, so everything is erased once the computer is powered off.
The online privacy is very important nowadays, especially when your entire life depends on the internet. I highly recommend to use this linux distribution for your online activity, or at least give it a try.
Do not forget to share your experience with Tails operating system with us.