We like to keep you updated on alternatives to the most common operating systems, MacOS and Windows. We told you about Linux in December, and now we have another one that’s all about security.
Just because people aren’t bashful about their lives does not mean they want everything they do online to be recorded, yet with the way browsers and operating systems are set up, there is a record of a lot of what we do. Unless you are a programmer, you may not see much of a way around it.
But there is a way, actually. An operating system that is designed to start on almost any computer from a DVD or USB drive and, best of all, it is free.
This operating system leaves no traces
The OS is called Tails, which is an acronym for “The Amnesic Incognito Live System.” A live system that is based on Debian GNU/Linux and is designed to preserve your privacy and anonymity, Tails allows you to surf the internet anonymously and bypass censorship almost anywhere you go and on any computer without leaving a trace. That is, unless you explicitly ask it to.
Does that sound good to you? It sounds good to us.
Tails is able to protect your identity by way of using state-of-the-art cryptographic tools that encrypt your files as well as emails and instant messages.
Tails works with Tor
A big part of Tails’ effectiveness is the Tor anonymity network. Tor is a free and open-network software that helps defend against traffic analysis, which is a kind of network surveillance that infringes upon personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security.
In simple terms, Tor works by having your communications go through a network of relays that are run by volunteers all over the world. By doing this, Tor prevents someone from watching your internet connection and learning what sites you visit. It also prevents the sites from learning your physical location.
Tails is also configured to not use the computer’s hard disks, even if there is some swap space left on them. Tails only uses RAM for storage space, and that is automatically erased when the computer shuts down.
After you shut Tails down, the computer will start up again with its usual OS. Any sensitive documents or files that you want to save can be done so on another USB stick or external hard drive.
Tails can be downloaded and used for Windows, Mac, Debian, Ubuntu, Mint and other Linux computers. Go here or use the blue button to download Tails.
There have been some concerns raised over the level of security Tails gives you. It’s good for letting you get around without being tracked by ads and other cookies, but there is a limit. As always, if you’re using Tails to do something illegal, you will be caught.
Watch this video for more about how Tails works.