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18 November 2011, 15:12

Tails, the incognito live system, gets 0.9 release

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Tails, "The Amnesic Incognito Live System", a live CD or USB distribution of Linux which is designed to preserve privacy and anonymity, has been updated to version 0.9. The developers also urge users of the previous version, 0.8.1, to upgrade due to "numerous security holes" in that release.

Tails is based on Debian GNU/Linux and comes with several built-in applications which have been configured with security in mind. For example, it relies on the Tor anonymity network to protect the user's privacy online, and all outgoing connections are forced to make use of its ability to bounce internet traffic between multiple nodes. As a live CD or USB, Tails can be booted on a machine without being installed on the hard disk. It is configured to never use the hard disk even if, for example, there is some free swap space on it. It also attempts to wipe the RAM memory of the computer system as it is shutdown. Despite these capabilities, the developers do warn prospective users of the limitations of the technology.

Tails 0.9 features an upgrade to the Tor software, the Linux 3.0.0-6 kernel, an upgraded IceWeasel browser with a new TorButton ( and FireGPG (0.8-1). Other upgrades include newer versions of WhisperBack, an application for covertly giving bug reports and feedback on applications, and TrueCrypt, now at version 7.1. Added to the release is MAT, the Metadata anonymisation toolkit which allows users to remove any identifying information left in media and document files. Cookie manager CS Lite has been replaced by the actively maintained Cookie Monster. A range of other fixes, including a more aggressive shutdown memory wiper, have also been applied to the distribution. The change log contains full details.

A "Getting Started" page points users to the various resources and documentation for Tails and detailed instructions on how to download, verify and install the system. Tails is licensed under the GPL3.


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