Tails or The Amnesic Incognito Live System is a security-focused, debian-based Linux distribution aimed at preserving privacy and anonymity. It helps in using internet anonymously and circumventing censorship on the move, without leaving any traces unless explicitly ask for. Here all connections to the internet are diverted through Tor network. It uses state-of-the-art cryptographic tools to encrypt the files, emails and instant messages.
It is a complete operating system designed to be used using a DVD, USB stick, or SD card. It is also independent of the computer’s original operating system. The free Software is based on Debian GNU/Linux. Tails comes with several built-in applications pre-configured with security in mind like: web browser, instant messaging client, email client, office suite, image and sound editor.
Some of the features of Tails are:
1) Online anonymity and censorship circumvention
Tails relies on the Tor anonymity network to protect your privacy online. The software is configured to connect to the Internet through Tor. If an application tries to connect to the Internet directly, the connection is automatically blocked for security. Tor is an open and distributed network that helps in defending against the traffic analysis, which is a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security.
Tor protects you by bouncing your communication around a network of relays run by volunteers all around the world. It prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location.
2) Can be used anywhere but leaves no trace
Using Tails on a computer doesn’t alter or depend on the Operating System installed on it. You can use it in the same way on any computer, anywhere. Once Tails is shut down, the computer will start again with its usual Operating System.
Tails is not configured in computer hard disks, even if there is some swap space on them. The only storage space used by Tails is in RAM, which is automatically erased when the computer shuts down. Hence, no traces will be left. That’s why Tails is called ‘amnesic’. This allows you to work with sensitive documents on any computer and protects you from data recovery after shutdown. Of course, you can still explicitly save specific documents to another USB stick or external hard-disk and take them away for future use.
3) State-of-the-art cryptographic tools
Tails also comes with a selection of tools to protect your data using strong encryption. Encrypt your USB sticks or external hard-disks using LUKS, the Linux standard for disk-encryption. It automatically uses HTTPS to encrypt all your communication to a number of major websites using HTTPS Everywhere, a Firefox extension developed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Encrypt and sign your emails and documents using the de facto standard OpenPGP either from Tails email client, text editor or file browser. Your instant messaging can be protected using OTR, a cryptographic tool that provides encryption, authentication and deniability.
Hope this blog helps you to understand more on Tails operating system, which will help you to do Internet activity more securely and anonymously.