Tails – “The Amnesic Incognito Live System”, is an operating system or software that is live and can be used on any device to preserve the privacy of the users.
It works very well with the Tor network allowing users to use it with no chance of being traced as it encrypts all data.Tails is based on Linux/Debian gnu as much as it is a free software.
Tails is compatible with most devices and can be used with USB stick, DVD as well as an SD card independently from the computers original operating system.
Just like other operating systems, Tails comes with built in applications Pre configured to ensure security. These applications include:
- office suite
- Web browser
- Instant messaging client
- and image and sound editor among others.
Tail is able to increase privacy and anonymity with the help of Tor network. This Tails guide wil lshow you how to use it.
It does this by ensuring that one can only access the Internet through Tor and if an application does not connect to the internet without Tor it is blocked. Tor is a network that helps to provide privacy and security to its users by protecting them from being traced by encrypting information in the network.
With Tails one can be able to access I2P which is an alternative to Tor as it is also a network that ensures maximum security of its users.
Tails can be used on any operating system and also Tails does not affect the operating system of the computer that is being used. It can be used on any device and upon shutting down the computer will go back to its normal operating system with no alterations. What makes Tails different is the fact that it is designed not to use the computers hard disk and that is why it leaves no trace upon being shut down. It only uses the Ram of a computer which explains why the Tails information is erased when the computer is shut down. This therefore means that it is safe to use with sensitive documents as there will be no trace of the data once the computer is shut down thus ensuring security of the data. There is also no chance of data recovery after the computer is shut down and it was using Tails and thus if one needs the data for future use they will have to say it on an external source.
Tools that are used by Tails to protect data
In order to ensure maximum encryption and security , there are tools that are used by Tails to ensure security . They include:
- LUKS+ : This is used by Linux for disk encryption and therefore one can encrypt their USB stick or external disk using it to ensure security of data.
- HTTPS: This is normally used to encrypt communication on websites. Tails uses the Https Everywhere Firefox extension to encrypt information.
- OpenPGP+: This is used to encrypt and sign emails. It can originate from either file browser, text editor or Tails email client.
- OTR+: This is a cryptographic tool that protects instant messaging as it ensures encryption, authentication and deniability.
- Nautilus wipe: This is used for deleting files and cleaning the disk space.
How to download Tails for Linux
There are several ways for downloading Tails for Linux. One can download it as an ISO image which comes in form of a single file but contains the whole operating system. To ensure security however, it is mandatory that one verifies the download. The ISO image can be downloaded and verified through:
- Browser add-on: There is a Firefox add on that can be used to download and verify Tails with no problem. This however only works with firefox38+ or Tor browser 5+. The link can easily be found on this page
- Bit Torrent: In this case it is the bit torrent that verifies the download automatically and this is based on cryptographic checksum that is found in the torrent file. Apart from the torrent client, also the OpenPGP can do verification by use of its signature that is normally included in the torrent file.
Tails is distributed in form of a 32bit live ISO of which the image only supports 32bit instruction set architectures after which it can be deployed on to a USB, SD card or DVD disks.
In order to do booting ,or has two ways in which he can do it. Either through the Failsafe mode or to start the live environment. Failsafe is mostly used upon failure of the live environment mode . on getting to the live environment, one can log in to a live session and ad an administrator, set password and customize the device to look like a Windows XP system or whatever one pleases. One can also directly just connect to the Tor network or I2P or make other configurations.
How to install Tails with VMware on USB
With a virtual machine, one can have the convenience of using Tails without the inconvenience of restarting the computer every time. With a virtual machine one can be able to use Tails regardless of the host operating system. It works on host operating system in form of a guest though Tails is mostly stored in a USB stick. In using Tails on a virtual machine one can use all the features of Tails with no much problems. It is however said that it has many security implications involved which is mainly influenced by the host operating system . This strategy due to the fat that the host operating system may monitor what is being done in tails. It might also have a mallard which might alter the security of tails. In this case a virtualization software needs to be installed on the host operating system. They include:
- Virtual box: This is a software that works with most operating systems but does not support USB devices and cannot support a large amount of data.
- Gnome Boxes: This is only compatible with Linux . It has a simple user interface and likewise does not support persistent volume.
- Virt-Manager: This is only available to Linux and is more complex with an advanced user interface for persistent volume. With this one can either start Tails from external storage such as USB or SD card ,or by creating a virtual USB storage volume saved in form of a single file in the host operating system .
There are also concerns of the virtualization software monitoring what is being done in tails and thus it is not said to be very safe.
In order to use Tails on a virtual machine, One has to:
- Download and Install tails on USB
- Copy the file folder on to the USB
- Setup the client and open the keys that you want
- Boot into Tails on the USB
- Go live
- Run the Linux client with the help of the file
Lets Review Tails
There is a lot of mixed reactions about the controversial Tails. But just like any other software it has both its advantages and disadvantages . It basically depends on how it is used and the preferences of the user. All in all, the developers are working on it everyday to improve user experience and deal with the flaws.
Advantages of using Tails
- It ensures maximum security and privacy of the users and can be used on sensitive data without high risk of privacy being compromised . It can be used to access private browsers such as Tor and I2P and enable people to use it with ease. It is mainly used by Tor users as compared to the Tor browser.
- It can be used for online shopping of the online market place of the deep webas the behaviours of the client cannot be tracked, therefore there is no chance of price discrimination. There is also no chance of the credit card details of the client being leaked ad thus one can shop with no worries. That fact that Tails ensure anonymity means that buyers can buy whatever they want even if it is illegal without the risk of being traced.
Disadvantages of using Tails
- As much as the developers of the Tail tried to make it as secure as possible it is not completely safe. This is due to the fact that it is not normally downloaded on the users computer but rather on storage devices . Due to this fact the host operating system may track the user of tails. The software that is being used may also be used to track users.
- The fact that tail users already declare they are hiding something, there has been high attempts to hack tails. There is a scam software that has been spreading around and thus if one does not download from the official Tails website they many be at risk.
Cautions in using tailswqdefsrgfg
The normal way to get Tails is normally to buy a USB then installing Tails on it. There are however many USB that are being sold and are said to already have installed tails. This is risky and not recommended as they may contain a mallard or hackers might use it to jailbreak on information .