Tails (operating system)

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Tails
Tails logo
Tails desktop.png
Tails 2.4 Desktop
Developer The Tails project
OS family Unix-like
Working state Current
Source model Open source
Initial release June 23, 2009; 8 years ago (2009-06-23)
Latest release 3.2 / September 26, 2017; 13 days ago (2017-09-26)[1]
Latest preview 3.2 RC 1 / September 16, 2017; 23 days ago (2017-09-16)[2]
Marketing target Personal computers
Update method Tails Upgrader[3]
Package manager dpkg
Platforms x86-64[4]
Kernel type Monolithic
Userland GNU
Default user interface GNOME 3
License GNU GPLv3[5]
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.[6] All its outgoing connections are forced to go through Tor,[7] 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.[8]

History[edit]

Tails was first released on 23 June 2009. It is the next iteration of development on Incognito, a Gentoo-based Linux distribution.[9] The Tor Project has provided financial support for its development.[8] Tails has also received funding from the Debian Project, Mozilla, and the Freedom of the Press Foundation.[10]

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.[11][12][13]

As of release 3.0, Tails requires a 64-bit processor to run.[14]

Bundled software[edit]

Networking[edit]

Encryption and privacy[edit]

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

Release history[edit]

Legend:
Old version
Older version, still supported
Latest version
Latest preview version
Future release
Release history
Version[15] Release date[15] Notes
Old version, no longer supported: 0.1 June 20, 2009
  • Unreleased, but listed in official changelog
Old version, no longer supported: 0.2 June 23, 2009
  • First public release.[16]
  • The project was called Amnesia.[16]
Old version, no longer supported: 0.3 November 26, 2009
Old version, no longer supported: 0.4 February 5, 2010
Old version, no longer supported: 0.4.1 February 6, 2010
Old version, no longer supported: 0.4.2 February 7, 2010
  • Last release as "amnesia"[15]
Old version, no longer supported: 0.5 April 30, 2010
  • First release since the project was renamed to The Amnesic Incognito Live System.[15][17]
Old version, no longer supported: 0.6 October 20, 2010
  • Unreleased versions: 0.6~1.gbpef2878 (Sep 26), 0.6~rc2 (Sep 29), 0.6~rc3 (Oct 2)
Old version, no longer supported: 0.6.1 December 24, 2010
Old version, no longer supported: 0.6.2 January 19, 2011
Old version, no longer supported: 0.7 April 6, 2011
  • Unreleased versions: 0.7~rc1 (Mar 11), 0.7~rc2 (Mar 25)
0.8, 0.8.1, 0.9, 0.10, 0.10.1, 0.10.2, 0.11, 0.12, 0.12.1, 0.13, 0.14, 0.15, 0.16, 0.17, 0.17.1, 0.17.2, 0.18, 0.19, 0.20, 0.20.1, 0.21, 0.22, 0.22.1, 0.23
Old version, no longer supported: 1.0[16] April 27, 2014
  • 36th stable release.[16]
1.0.1, 1.1, 1.1.1, 1.1.2, 1.2, 1.2.1, 1.2.2, 1.2.3, 1.3, 1.3.1, 1.3.2, 1.4, 1.4.1
Old version, no longer supported: 1.5[18] August 10, 2015
  • Disabled access to the local network via the Tor Browser.[18]
1.5.1, 1.6
Old version, no longer supported: 1.7[18] November 3, 2015
  • Replaced the Claws Mail email client with Icedove, which is based on Mozilla Thunderbird.[18]
  • Enabled booting Tails in offline mode, with networking disabled.[18]
1.8, 1.8.1, 1.8.2 (last version to fit 2GB flash drive)
Old version, no longer supported: 2.0[19] January 25, 2016
  • It used Debian 8 as its base and included a new Gnome shell desktop environment, systemd, and a new installation process.[19]
2.0.1
Old version, no longer supported: 2.2[18] March 7, 2016
  • Enabled viewing DRM-protected DVDs.[18]
  • Added a new “Onion Circuits” interface for viewing Tor routing information.[18]
2.2.1, 2.3
Old version, no longer supported: 2.4[18] June 6, 2016
  • Automatic account configuration of Icedove, harden kernel and firewall, update the DRM and Mesa graphical libraries.[20]
  • New version of Tor Browser.[18]
Old version, no longer supported: 2.5[21] July 31, 2016
Old version, no longer supported: 2.6[22] September 20, 2016
Old version, no longer supported: 2.7[23] November 13, 2016
Old version, no longer supported: 2.7.1[24] November 30, 2016
Old version, no longer supported: 2.9.1[25] December 14, 2016
Old version, no longer supported: 2.10[26] January 24, 2017[26]
Old version, no longer supported: 2.11[27] March 7, 2017[27]
  • The last version to include I2P
Old version, no longer supported: 2.12[28] April 19, 2017[28]
Old version, no longer supported: 3.0[29] June 13, 2017[29]
Current stable version: 3.1[30] August 8, 2017[30]
Future release: 3.2[31] October 3, 2017[31]
Future release: 3.3[31] November 28, 2017[31]
Version Release date Notes

In mainstream media[edit]

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".[32][33]

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..."[34][35]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tails 3.2 is out". 2017-09-26. Retrieved 2017-10-04. 
  2. ^ "Call for testing: 3.2~rc1". 2017-09-18. Retrieved 2017-09-18. 
  3. ^ design documentation
  4. ^ Tails - System requirements
  5. ^ "Tails 0.11 incognito live system released", The H, 30 Apr 2012, retrieved 12 Aug 2012 
  6. ^ Vervloesem, Koen (27 Apr 2011), "The Amnesic Incognito Live System: A live CD for anonymity", LWN.net, retrieved 12 Aug 2012 
  7. ^ "Anonym im Netz" [Anonymous on the Net], TecChannel (in German), 6 Feb 2012, retrieved 12 Aug 2012 
  8. ^ a b "Finances". Tails. 4 Apr 2013. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  9. ^ Gray, James (16 Sep 2011), "The Tails Project's The Amnesic Incognito Live System (Tails)", Linux Journal, retrieved 12 Aug 2012 
  10. ^ "Tails report for May, 2014". Tails. 14 Jun 2014. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ Condliffe, Jamie (15 Apr 2014). "Try the Super-Secure USB Drive OS That Edward Snowden Insists on Using". Gizmodo. Retrieved 15 Apr 2014. 
  14. ^ "Tails - Tails 3.0 is out". tails.boum.org. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  15. ^ a b c d Tails Developers (n.d.). "[no title]". Tails. Retrieved 2017-01-05. 
  16. ^ a b c d Murphy, David (1 May 2014). "Secure OS Tails Emerges From Beta". PC Magazine. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 10 June 2016. 
  17. ^ "version 0.5". Tails. n.d. Archived from the original on June 25, 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2016. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Hoffman, Chris (9 June 2016). "Tails, the anonymity-focused Linux distribution with deep Tor integration, reaches version 2.4". PCWorld. IDG. Retrieved 10 June 2016. 
  19. ^ a b Paul, Ian (27 January 2016). "The ultra-secure Tails OS beloved by Edward Snowden gets a major upgrade". PCWorld. IDG. Retrieved 10 June 2016. 
  20. ^ "Tails 2.4 is out". Tails. 2016-06-07. Retrieved 2016-06-07. 
  21. ^ "Tails 2.5 is out". 2016-08-02. Retrieved 2016-08-03. 
  22. ^ "Tails 2.6 is out". 2016-09-21. Retrieved 2016-09-22. 
  23. ^ "Tails 2.7 is out". 2016-11-15. Retrieved 2017-01-05. 
  24. ^ "Tails 2.7.1 is out". 2016-11-30. Retrieved 2017-01-05. 
  25. ^ "Tails 2.9.1 is out". 2016-12-14. Retrieved 2016-12-16. 
  26. ^ a b "Tails 2.10 is out". 2017-01-24. Retrieved 2017-01-24. 
  27. ^ a b "Tails 2.11 is out". 2017-01-06. Retrieved 2017-03-13. 
  28. ^ a b "Tails 2.12 is out". 2017-04-19. Retrieved 2017-04-23. 
  29. ^ a b "Tails 3.0 is out". 2017-06-13. Retrieved 2017-06-14. 
  30. ^ a b "Tails 3.1 is out". 2017-08-09. Retrieved 2017-08-12. 
  31. ^ a b c d "Tails - Calendar". 2017-01-06. Retrieved 2017-01-06. 
  32. ^ Jacob Appelbaum, A. Gibson, J. Goetz, V. Kabisch, L. Kampf, L. Ryge (3 Jul 2014). "NSA targets the privacy-conscious". DasErste.de. 
  33. ^ Bruce Schneier (3 Jul 2014). "NSA Targets Privacy Conscious for Surveillance". Schneier on Security. 
  34. ^ SPIEGEL Staff (28 Dec 2014). "Prying Eyes: Inside the NSA's War on Internet Security". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 23 Jan 2015. 
  35. ^ "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. 

External links[edit]