Tails (operating system)

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Tails
Tails logo
Tails OS
Written in {{#property:p277}}
OS family Unix-like
Working state Current
Source model Open source
Initial release June 23, 2009; 9 years ago (2009-06-23)
Latest release 2.3 / April 26, 2016; 2 years ago (2016-04-26)[1]
Latest preview 2.4 release candidate 1 / May 26, 2016; 2 years ago (2016-05-26)[2]
Marketing target Personal computers
Platforms IA-32
Kernel type Monolithic (Linux)
Userland GNU
Default user interface GNOME 3
License GPLv3+[3]
Preceded by Incognito
Official website tails.boum.org

Tails or The Amnesic Incognito Live System is a security-focused Debian-based Linux distribution aimed at preserving privacy and anonymity.[4] All its outgoing connections are forced to go through Tor,[5] and non-anonymous connections are blocked. The system is designed to be booted as a live DVD or live USB, and will leave no digital footprint on the machine unless explicitly told to do so. The Tor Project has provided financial support for its development.[6]

History

Tails was first released on 23 June 2009. It is the next iteration of development on Incognito, a Gentoo-based Linux distribution.[7] The Tor Project has provided financial support for its development.[6] Tails has also received funding from the Debian Project, Mozilla, and the Freedom of the Press Foundation.[8]

Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, and Barton Gellman have each said that Tails was an important tool they used in their work with National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.[9][10][11]

On 3 July 2014, German public television channel Das Erste reported that the NSA's XKeyscore surveillance system contains definitions that match persons who search for Tails using a search engine or visit the Tails website. A comment in XKeyscore's source code calls Tails "a comsec mechanism advocated by extremists on extremist forums".[12][13]

On 28 December 2014, Der Spiegel published slides from an internal NSA presentation dating to June 2012 in which the NSA deemed Tails on its own as a "major threat" to its mission, and when used in conjunction with other privacy tools such as OTR, Cspace, RedPhone, and TrueCrypt was ranked as "catastrophic," leading to a "near-total loss/lack of insight to target communications, presence..."[14][15]

Bundled software

Networking

Encryption and privacy

One may choose among a large number of languages when the system is booted.

Release history

Legend:
Old version
Older version, still supported
Latest version
Latest preview version
Future release
Release history
Version Release date Notes
Old version, no longer supported: 0.2[16] 23 June 2009
  • First public release.
  • The project was called Amnesia.
Old version, no longer supported: 0.5[17] ?
  • First release since the project was renamed to The Amnesic Incognito Live System.
Old version, no longer supported: 1.0[16] 29 April 2014
  • 36th stable release.
Old version, no longer supported: 2.0[18] 26 January 2016
  • Tails 2.0 uses Debian 8 as a base, GNOME Shell Classic Mode, systemd, and has newer software and firmware packages.[18]
Current stable version: 2.3[1] 26 April 2016
  • Support for pasting passwords into GPG's pinentry dialog
  • New versions of Tor Browser, I2P, and Electrum[1]
Future release: 3.0 TBA
  • Will focus on changes in the internals of Tails to make it more secure. That includes sandboxing critical applications and software hardening.[16]
Version Release date Notes

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Tails 2.3 is out". Tails. 2016-04-26. Retrieved 2016-04-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Call for testing: 2.4~rc1". 2016-05-26. Retrieved 2016-05-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Tails 0.11 incognito live system released", The H, 30 Apr 2012, retrieved 12 Aug 2012<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Vervloesem, Koen (27 Apr 2011), "The Amnesic Incognito Live System: A live CD for anonymity", LWN.net, retrieved 12 Aug 2012<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Anonym im Netz", TecChannel (in German), 6 Feb 2012, retrieved 12 Aug 2012 Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help) <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Finances". Tails. 4 Apr 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Gray, James (16 Sep 2011), "The Tails Project's The Amnesic Incognito Live System (Tails)", Linux Journal, retrieved 12 Aug 2012<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Tails report for May, 2014". Tails. 14 Jun 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Timm, Trevor (2 Apr 2014). "Help Support the Little-Known Privacy Tool That Has Been Critical to Journalists Reporting on the NSA". Freedom of the Press Foundation. Retrieved 18 Apr 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Finley, Klint (14 Apr 2014). "Out in the Open: Inside the Operating System Edward Snowden Used to Evade the NSA". WIRED. Retrieved 18 Apr 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Condliffe, Jamie (15 Apr 2014). "Try the Super-Secure USB Drive OS That Edward Snowden Insists on Using". Gizmodo. Retrieved 15 Apr 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Jacob Appelbaum, A. Gibson, J. Goetz, V. Kabisch, L. Kampf, L. Ryge (3 Jul 2014). "NSA targets the privacy-conscious". DasErste.de. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Bruce Schneier (3 Jul 2014). "NSA Targets Privacy Conscious for Surveillance". Schneier on Security.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. SPIEGEL Staff (28 Dec 2014). "Prying Eyes: Inside the NSA's War on Internet Security". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 23 Jan 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Presentation from the SIGDEV Conference 2012 explaining which encryption protocols and techniques can be attacked and which not" (PDF). Der Spiegel. 28 Dec 2014. Retrieved 23 Jan 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 "Tails 1.0 is out". Tails. 1 May 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "version 0.5". Tails. Retrieved 17 Dec 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Tails 2.0 is out". Tails. 2016-01-26. Retrieved 2016-01-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links