|Developer||The Tails project|
|OS family||Linux (Unix-like)|
|Source model||Open source|
|Initial release||23 June 2009|
|Latest release||4.20 / 13 July 2021|
|Marketing target||Personal computers|
|Update method||Tails Upgrader|
|Default user interface||GNOME 3|
|Official website|| tails|
Tails, or The Amnesic Incognito Live System, is a security-focused Debian-based Linux distribution aimed at preserving privacy and anonymity.All its incoming and outgoing connections are forced to go through Tor, and any 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 provided financial support for its development in the beginnings of the project. Tails comes with UEFI Secure Boot.
Tails was first released on 23 June 2009. It is the next iteration of development on Incognito, a discontinued Gentoo-based Linux distribution.The Tor Project provided financial support for its development in the beginnings of the project. Tails also received funding from the Open Technology Fund, Mozilla, and the Freedom of the Press Foundation.
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.
From release 3.0, Tails requires a 64-bit processor to run.
Users can install any other software which is present in Debian GNU/Linux, either through APT (Tails provides three repositories) or dpkg.The language and keyboard layout may be chosen when the system is booted.
Tails is by design amnesic. It lives in RAM and does not write to any other drive unless strictly specified. However, it is possible to set up an encrypted persistence volume (for example, within the USB Drive where Tails is installed) to save user data. It is also possible to instruct Tails to automatically install some additional software from the persistence drive, to load bookmarks for the Tor Browser, keep PGP keys or to keep configuration data for other applications. The encrypted space is not hidden and its existence could be detected by forensic analysis, unlike VeraCrypt, which is not distinguishable from random data and consequently offers plausible deniability.
During the shutdown process, Tails will overwrite most of the used RAM to avoid a cold boot attack.An emergency shutdown can be triggered by physically removing the medium where Tails is installed: a watchdog monitors the status of the boot medium, and if removed the memory-erasing process begins immediately; this might break the file system of the persistence volume, if set up.
Tails tracks Debian stable for robust security updates support and uses the latest kernel from Backports for supporting newer hardware.
On 10 June 2020, Vice Motherboard and other publications reported that Facebook in cooperation with the FBI used a 0-day vulnerability in the video player built into Tails to track and identify a sexual abuser on a social network. A spokesperson for Tails said that the exploit was never explained to them. However, it is believed that the vulnerability was removed, although it had not been identified, in a later release of Tails. The vulnerability was not easily exploited; the FBI tried unsuccessfully to identify the abuser, but he noticed and taunted his hunters. Ultimately the FBI and Facebook contracted a cybersecurity firm, at great expense, to produce a custom hacking tool used to make a booby-trapped video sent by the victim to the criminal.
|Old version, no longer maintained: 0.1||June 20, 2009|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 0.2||June 23, 2009|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 0.3||November 26, 2009|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 0.4||February 5, 2010|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 0.4.1||February 6, 2010|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 0.4.2||February 7, 2010|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 0.5||April 30, 2010|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 0.6||October 20, 2010|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 0.6.1||December 24, 2010|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 0.6.2||January 19, 2011|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 0.7||April 6, 2011|
|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 maintained: 1.0||April 27, 2014|
|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 maintained: 1.5||August 10, 2015|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 1.7||November 3, 2015|
|1.8, 1.8.1, 1.8.2 (last version to fit 2GB flash drive)|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 2.0||January 25, 2016|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 2.2||March 7, 2016|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 2.4||June 6, 2016|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 2.5||July 31, 2016|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 2.6||September 20, 2016|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 2.7||November 13, 2016|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 2.7.1||November 30, 2016|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 2.9.1||December 14, 2016|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 2.10||January 24, 2017|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 2.11||March 7, 2017|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 2.12||April 19, 2017|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 3.0||June 13, 2017|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 3.1||August 8, 2017|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 3.2||October 3, 2017|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 3.3||November 14, 2017|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 3.4||January 9, 2018|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 3.5||January 23, 2018|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 3.6||March 13, 2018|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 3.7||May 9, 2018|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 3.8||June 26, 2018|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 3.9||September 5, 2018|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 3.9.1||October 3, 2018|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 3.10.1||October 23, 2018|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 4.0||October 22, 2019|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 4.1||December 3, 2019|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 4.1.1||December 17, 2019|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 4.2||January 7, 2020|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 4.3||February 11, 2020|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 4.6||May 5, 2020|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 4.7||June 2, 2020|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 4.8||June 30, 2020|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 4.11||September 22, 2020|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 4.13||November 17, 2020|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 4.14||December 15, 2020|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 4.15||January 26, 2021|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 4.15.1||January 28, 2021|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 4.16||February 23, 2021|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 4.17||March 23, 2021|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 4.18||April 27, 2021|
|Current stable version:4.19||June 1, 2021|
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".
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..."
As discussed above, it was reported in June 2020 that Facebook collaborated with the FBI to exploit a vulnerability in Tails to apprehend a serious sexual predator.
Organizations, companies and individuals that provide financial support to Tails through grants or donations are recognized as "partners",and have included:
For the complete list of sponsors including the past sponsors, visit here .
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