It’s no secret that many users have finally switched from Windows to Linux due to the desire to make their own choices and control their computers and privacy. Although there are many Linux distros, and each is different from the next, security and privacy are the common threads through which they all run.
One such distro is Tails, an operating system that focuses on security and preserves your identity on the web.
The real importance of privacy
While most users simply try to avoid tracking and targeting by unscrupulous internet marketers and ISPs, others have more serious concerns. For some, being anonymous and navigating online without being tracked can be a matter of avoiding censorship, suppression, viruses, and even surveillance.
For these users, it is not only important that they be able to act anonymously, but it is essential that no trace, virtual or physical, be left for anyone to follow.
When you need to ensure that your internet activities leave no trace on the internet or on the computer you are using, there is only one option – Tails.
Tails: Incognito system that loses memory
Amnesic Incognito Live System (TAILS) is a bootable Linux distribution that not only allows users to work on the Internet anonymously but also erases every other trace of all activities every time the system is shut down. If you want to be invisible on the internet, this is how you do it.
Tails is completely self-contained, boots from removable media (USB or DVD), writes nothing to the host computer’s hard drive, and resets itself to a neutral state each time it is used.
You can use it on virtually any computer that allows you to boot from USB or DVD, including public computers (provided you can access the USB port and reset the computer). When you shut down or reset your computer after using Tails, there’s no evidence that anything you’ve done on that computer has been left behind.
The direct system comes with everything you need including:
- Tor Browser with uBlock: Safe browser plus ad blocker
- Thunderbird: Free email app to send and receive encrypted emails
- KeePassXC: A password manager that creates and stores strong passwords
- LibreOfficeFull office suite
- onions: A file sharing application that allows file transfer via Tor
Since Tails is a standalone live system, it is also very portable. You can carry your personal Tails system onto a USB drive and use it wherever you want.
Anonymous connection through the Tor network
When working in a Tails environment, all communications are sent through a file network. The connection is set up automatically each time the operating system is loaded. Any program that tries to connect outside of Tor circles is automatically blocked.
A full explanation of how Tor works is beyond the scope of this article, but the Tor network uses proprietary protocols to allow users and servers to communicate anonymously.
All your online communications are encrypted and sent through multiple servers before reaching their final destination. The system makes it impossible for the end server to see the real IP address of the user accessing that server – completely anonymizing.
Trading speed for security
The Tor Browser included with Tails ensures your privacy is preserved no matter where you go on the web. You will be able to use most regular websites as well as access dark web and deep web sites without revealing information such as your location, IP address or other network signatures.
However, the cost of this privacy is the speed with which you can communicate. Since all communications on the Tor circuit are sent through at least three or four servers before reaching their intended destination, there is a noticeable difference in speed when compared to a regular, unprotected Internet connection.
You can install Tails on any computer
Tails is completely free and can be downloaded from the official Tails website. All you need is a blank USB or DVD and you can install the operating system on almost any computer. Whether your desire for privacy and security is a matter of necessity or just curiosity, you won’t find anything that protects you better than Tails.
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