Tails – The Amnestic Incognito Live System

Tails is a live system that aims to preserve your privacy and anonymity. It helps you to use the Internet anonymously and circumvent censorship almost anywhere you go and on any computer but leaving no trace unless you ask it to explicitly.

It is a complete operating system designed to be used from a DVD, USB stick, or SD card independently of the computer’s original operating system.

Tails comes with several built-in applications pre-configured with security in mind: web browser, instant messaging client, email client, office suite, image and sound editor, etc.

Online anonymity and censorship circumvention with Tor

Tails relies on the Tor anonymity network to protect your privacy online:

  • all 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 free software and an open network that helps you defend against a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security known as traffic analysis.

Tor protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed 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.

Using Tor you can:

  • be anonymous online by hiding your location
  • connect to services that would be censored otherwise
  • resist attacks that block the usage of Tor using circumvention tools such as bridges

What’s New:

Upgrades and changes

  • Add a confirm dialog between downloading and applying an automatic upgrade to control better when the network is disabled and prevent partially applied upgrades. (#14754 and #15282)
  • When running from a virtual machine, warn about the trustworthiness of the operating system even when running from a free virtualization software. (#16195)
  • Disable Autocrypt in Thunderbird to prevent sending unencrypted emails by mistake. (#15923)
  • Update Linux to 4.18.20.
  • Update Tor Browser to 8.0.4.
  • Update Thunderbird to 60.3.0.

Fixed problems

  • Fix the opening of Thunderbird in non-English languages. (#16113)
  • Reduce the logging level of Tor when using bridges. (#15743)

For more details, read the complete changelog.

What’s New in Tails

We are especially proud to present you Tails 3.0, the first version of Tails based on Debian 9 (Stretch). It brings a completely new startup and shutdown experience, a lot of polishing to the desktop, security improvements in depth, and major upgrades to a lot of the included software.

Debian 9 (Stretch) will be released on June 17. It is the first time that we are releasing a new version of Tails almost at the same time as the version of Debian it is based upon. This was an important objective for us as it is beneficial to both our users and users of Debian in general and strengthens our relationship with upstream:

  • Our users can benefit from the cool changes in Debian earlier.
  • We can detect and fix issues in the new version of Debian while it is still in development so that our work also benefits Debian earlier.

This release also fixes many security issues and users should upgrade as soon as possible.

New startup and shutdown experience

  • Tails Greeter, the application to configure Tails at startup, has been completely redesigned for ease of use:
  • All options are available from a single window.
  • Language and region settings are displayed first to benefit our international audience.
  • Accessibility features can be enabled from the start.

This has been a long process, started three years ago with the UX team of NUMA Paris and lead only by volunteers. Join us on tails-ux@boum.org to participate in future designs.

The shutdown experience has also been redesigned in order to be:

  • More reliable. It was crashing on various computers with unpredictable results.
  • More discrete. The screen is now totally black to look less suspicious.

Technically speaking, it is now using the freed memory poisoning feature of the Linux kernel.

Polishing the desktop

We switched to the default black theme of GNOME which has a more modern and discrete look:

  • Tails 3.0 benefits from many other small improvements to the GNOME desktop:
  • Files has been redesigned to reduce clutter and make the interface easier to use. Several new features have been added, such as the ability to rename multiple files at the same time and the ability to extract compressed files without needing a separate application.
  • The notification area has been improved to allow easy access to previous notifications. Notification popups have also been repositioned to make them more noticeable.
  • Shortcut windows have been added to help you discover keyboard shortcuts in GNOME applications.
  • For example, press Ctrl+F1 in Files to display its shortcut window.

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