Tails (operating system)
|Source model||Open source|
|Initial release||June 23, 2009|
|Latest release||2.3 / April 26, 2016|
|Latest preview||2.4 release candidate 1 / May 26, 2016|
|Marketing target||Personal computers|
|Kernel type||Monolithic (Linux)|
|Default user interface||GNOME 3|
Tails or The Amnesic Incognito Live System is a security-focused Debian-based Linux distribution aimed at preserving privacy and anonymity. All its outgoing connections are forced to go through Tor, 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.
Tails was first released on 23 June 2009. It is the next iteration of development on Incognito, a Gentoo-based Linux distribution. The Tor Project has provided financial support for its development. Tails has also received funding from the Debian Project, Mozilla, and the Freedom of the Press Foundation.
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".
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..."
- GNOME desktop
- Tor with: Stream isolation, regular, obfs2, obfs3, obfs4, and ScrambleSuit bridges support, the Vidalia graphical frontend.
- NetworkManager for easy network configuration
- Pidgin preconfigured with OTR for end-to-end encrypted instant messaging
- Icedove (Thunderbird) email client with Enigmail for OpenPGP support
- Liferea feed aggregator
- Gobby for collaborative writing of text
- Aircrack-ng for Wi-Fi networks auditing
- I2P, an anonymizing network
- Electrum, an easy-to-use bitcoin client
Encryption and 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
- Monkeysign, a tool for OpenPGP key signing and exchange
- 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
- KeePassX password manager
- GtkHash to calculate checksums
- Keyringer, a command line tool to encrypt secrets shared through Git
- Paperkey a command line tool to back up OpenPGP secret keys on paper
One may choose among a large number of languages when the system is booted.
|Old version, no longer supported: 0.2||23 June 2009||
|Old version, no longer supported: 0.5||?||
|Old version, no longer supported: 1.0||29 April 2014||
|Old version, no longer supported: 2.0||26 January 2016||
|Current stable version: 2.3||26 April 2016||
|Future release: 3.0||TBA|
- "Tails 2.3 is out". Tails. 2016-04-26. Retrieved 2016-04-30.
- "Call for testing: 2.4~rc1". 2016-05-26. Retrieved 2016-05-31.
- "Tails 0.11 incognito live system released", The H, 30 Apr 2012, retrieved 12 Aug 2012
- Vervloesem, Koen (27 Apr 2011), "The Amnesic Incognito Live System: A live CD for anonymity", LWN.net, retrieved 12 Aug 2012
- "Anonym im Netz" [Anonymous on the Net], TecChannel (in German), 6 Feb 2012, retrieved 12 Aug 2012
- "Finances". Tails. 4 Apr 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
- Gray, James (16 Sep 2011), "The Tails Project's The Amnesic Incognito Live System (Tails)", Linux Journal, retrieved 12 Aug 2012
- "Tails report for May, 2014". Tails. 14 Jun 2014.
- 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.
- 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.
- Condliffe, Jamie (15 Apr 2014). "Try the Super-Secure USB Drive OS That Edward Snowden Insists on Using". Gizmodo. Retrieved 15 Apr 2014.
- Jacob Appelbaum, A. Gibson, J. Goetz, V. Kabisch, L. Kampf, L. Ryge (3 Jul 2014). "NSA targets the privacy-conscious". DasErste.de.
- Bruce Schneier (3 Jul 2014). "NSA Targets Privacy Conscious for Surveillance". Schneier on Security.
- SPIEGEL Staff (28 Dec 2014). "Prying Eyes: Inside the NSA's War on Internet Security". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 23 Jan 2015.
- "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.
- "Tails 1.0 is out". Tails. 1 May 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
- "version 0.5". Tails. Retrieved 17 Dec 2014.
- "Tails 2.0 is out". Tails. 2016-01-26. Retrieved 2016-01-26.
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