Tails (operating system)

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Tails
Tails logo
Tails desktop 3.7.png
Tails 3.7 Desktop
DeveloperThe Tails project
OS familyUnix-like
Working stateCurrent
Source modelOpen source
Initial releaseJune 23, 2009; 10 years ago (2009-06-23)
Latest release3.14.2 / June 23, 2019; 56 days ago (2019-06-23)[1]
Latest preview3.6 RC 1 / March 2018; 1 year ago (2018-03)[2]
Marketing targetPersonal computers
Update methodTails Upgrader[3]
Package managerdpkg
Platformsx86-64[4]
Kernel typeMonolithic
UserlandGNU
Default user interfaceGNOME 3
LicenseGNU GPLv3[5]
Preceded byIncognito
Official websitetails.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 incoming and outgoing connections are forced to go through Tor,[7] and any and all 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 software[edit]

One may choose among a large number of languages and keyboard layouts 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]
Old version, no longer supported: 3.1[30] August 8, 2017[30]
Old version, no longer supported: 3.2[31] October 3, 2017[31]
Old version, no longer supported: 3.3[32] November 14, 2017[32]
Old version, no longer supported: 3.4[33] January 9, 2018[33]
  • 3.4 fixes the widely reported Meltdown attack, and includes the partial mitigation for Spectre
Old version, no longer supported: 3.5[34] January 23, 2018[34]
Old version, no longer supported: 3.6[35] March 13, 2018[35]
  • 3.6 adds a new lock screen feature that, when enabled, can be unlocked with the administrator password that was set when tails booted up. Otherwise, you can set up a password to unlock your screen when locking your screen for the first time.
  • Install drivers for the Video Acceleration API to improve the display of videos on many graphics cards.
Old version, no longer supported: 3.7[36] May 9, 2018[36]
Old version, no longer supported: 3.8[37][38] June 26, 2018[37]
Old version, no longer supported: 3.9[39][40] September 5, 2018[40]
  • Firefox 60.2, major release; will include VeraCrypt support and major Additional Software Packages improvements.[40]
Old version, no longer supported: 3.9.1[41] October 3, 2018[41]
  • Update Tor Browser to 8.0.2. This fixes 2 critical security vulnerabilities in JavaScript in Firefox.
  • Update Thunderbird to fix these same vulnerabilities.[42]
Current stable version: 3.10.1[43] October 23, 2018
  • Hide the PIM option when unlocking VeraCrypt volumes because PIM won't be supported until Tails 4.0. (#16031)
  • Rename the buttons in the confirmation dialog of Tails Installer to Install (or Upgrade) and Cancel to be less confusing. (#11501)
  • Update Linux to 4.8.
  • Update Tor Browser to 8.0.3.
  • Update Thunderbird to 60.2.1.
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".[44][45]

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..."[46][47]

Tails partners[edit]

Organizations, companies and individuals that provide financial support to Tails through grants or donations are recognized as "partners",[48] and have included:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tails 3.14.2 is out". June 23, 2019. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  2. ^ "Call for testing: 3.6~rc1". March 23, 2019. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  3. ^ design documentation
  4. ^ Tails - System requirements
  5. ^ "Tails 0.11 incognito live system released", The H, April 30, 2012, retrieved August 12, 2012
  6. ^ Vervloesem, Koen (April 27, 2011), "The Amnesic Incognito Live System: A live CD for anonymity", LWN.net, retrieved August 12, 2012
  7. ^ "Anonym im Netz" [Anonymous on the Net], TecChannel (in German), February 6, 2012, retrieved August 12, 2012
  8. ^ a b "Finances". Tails. April 4, 2013. Retrieved May 13, 2013.
  9. ^ Gray, James (September 16, 2011), "The Tails Project's The Amnesic Incognito Live System (Tails)", Linux Journal, retrieved August 12, 2012
  10. ^ "Tails report for May, 2014". Tails. June 14, 2014.
  11. ^ Timm, Trevor (April 2, 2014). "Help Support the Little-Known Privacy Tool That Has Been Critical to Journalists Reporting on the NSA". Freedom of the Press Foundation. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
  12. ^ Finley, Klint (April 14, 2014). "Out in the Open: Inside the Operating System Edward Snowden Used to Evade the NSA". WIRED. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
  13. ^ Condliffe, Jamie (April 15, 2014). "Try the Super-Secure USB Drive OS That Edward Snowden Insists on Using". Gizmodo. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
  14. ^ "Tails - Tails 3.0 is out". tails.boum.org. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  15. ^ a b c d Tails Developers (n.d.). "[no title]". Tails. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  16. ^ a b c d Murphy, David (May 1, 2014). "Secure OS Tails Emerges From Beta". PC Magazine. Ziff Davis. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  17. ^ "version 0.5". Tails. n.d. Archived from the original on June 25, 2013. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Hoffman, Chris (June 9, 2016). "Tails, the anonymity-focused Linux distribution with deep Tor integration, reaches version 2.4". PCWorld. IDG. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  19. ^ a b Paul, Ian (January 27, 2016). "The ultra-secure Tails OS beloved by Edward Snowden gets a major upgrade". PCWorld. IDG. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  20. ^ "Tails 2.4 is out". Tails. June 7, 2016. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
  21. ^ "Tails 2.5 is out". August 2, 2016. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
  22. ^ "Tails 2.6 is out". September 21, 2016. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  23. ^ "Tails 2.7 is out". November 15, 2016. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  24. ^ "Tails 2.7.1 is out". November 30, 2016. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  25. ^ "Tails 2.9.1 is out". December 14, 2016. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
  26. ^ a b "Tails 2.10 is out". January 24, 2017. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  27. ^ a b "Tails 2.11 is out". January 6, 2017. Retrieved March 13, 2017.
  28. ^ a b "Tails 2.12 is out". April 19, 2017. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  29. ^ a b "Tails 3.0 is out". June 13, 2017. Retrieved June 14, 2017.
  30. ^ a b "Tails 3.1 is out". August 8, 2017. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  31. ^ a b "Tails 3.2 is out". October 3, 2017. Retrieved January 6, 2017.
  32. ^ a b "Tails 3.3 is out". November 14, 2017. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  33. ^ a b "Tails 3.4 is out". January 9, 2018. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  34. ^ a b "Tails 3.5 is out". January 23, 2018. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  35. ^ a b "Tails 3.6 is out". March 13, 2018. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
  36. ^ a b "Tails 3.7 is out". May 9, 2018. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  37. ^ a b "Tails 3.8 is out". June 26, 2018. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  38. ^ DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 770, 2 July 2018
  39. ^ "Tails - Tails 3.9 is out". tails.boum.org. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
  40. ^ a b c "Tails - Calendar". July 17, 2018. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  41. ^ a b "Tails - Release notes". tails.boum.org. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  42. ^ "Tails - Tails 3.9.1 is out". tails.boum.org. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  43. ^ "Tails 3.10.1 is out". tails.boum.org. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  44. ^ Jacob Appelbaum, A. Gibson, J. Goetz, V. Kabisch, L. Kampf, L. Ryge (July 3, 2014). "NSA targets the privacy-conscious". DasErste.de.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  45. ^ Bruce Schneier (July 3, 2014). "NSA Targets Privacy Conscious for Surveillance". Schneier on Security.
  46. ^ SPIEGEL Staff (December 28, 2014). "Prying Eyes: Inside the NSA's War on Internet Security". Der Spiegel. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  47. ^ "Presentation from the SIGDEV Conference 2012 explaining which encryption protocols and techniques can be attacked and which not" (PDF). Der Spiegel. December 28, 2014. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  48. ^ "Tails: Partners". Retrieved June 7, 2019.

External links[edit]