Unmasking the Tails Linux Distro

1 - Unmasking the Tails Linux Distro
2 - Tails Users Have Lots of Choices
3 - MAC Address Spoofing Is an Option
4 - Tails Has Windows Camouflage
5 - Tor Gets Graphical With Vidalia Interface
6 - Iceweasel Forms the Base for Secure Web Browsing
7 - Torbutton Helps Make Browsing Anonymous
8 - HTTPS Everywhere Provides Secure Browsing
9 - NoScript Blocks Bad JavaScript
10 - Tails Blocks Ads
11 - Secure Email Gets Claws
12 - KeePassX Provides Password Management
13 - Pidgin Keeps Instant Messaging Off-The-Record
14 - Virtual Keyboard Limits Keylogger Risk
15 - Metadata Is Also Anonymized
16 - Apache OpenOffice Is the Default Office Suite
17 - Tails Based on Debian Linux With Linux 3.12 Kernel
18 - Memory Wiped When Tails Shuts Down
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Unmasking the Tails Linux Distro

by Sean Michael Kerner

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Tails Users Have Lots of Choices

The first choice that a Tails user gets to make is whether or not they want to make configuration choices or just run with the default setting.

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MAC Address Spoofing Is an Option

Among the options that users can choose is whether or not they want to have an administrator password. Without a password, a Tails system is locked down and is actually more secure. Users can also choose whether they want to spoof a computer's MAC hardware address on the network.

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Tails Has Windows Camouflage

As one of its user options, Tails can be configured to look like a Windows XP desktop. According to Tails, "This may be useful in public places to avoid attracting suspicion."

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Tor Gets Graphical With Vidalia Interface

The Tor anonymous network system is directly integrated into Tails and made easily usable with the Vidalia control panel and user interface.

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Iceweasel Forms the Base for Secure Web Browsing

Tails includes the Tor Browser, powered by the Iceweasel Web browser, which is a rebranded version of Firefox.

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Torbutton Helps Make Browsing Anonymous

One of the key additions in the Tor Browser on top of Iceweasel is the Torbutton add-on, which enables Web browsing over the Tor network.

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HTTPS Everywhere Provides Secure Browsing

The Tor browser is also configured with the HTTPS Everywhere add-on that automatically helps users log on to the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) versions of Websites.

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NoScript Blocks Bad JavaScript

The NoScript add-on in Tails' Tor browser provides an additional layer of protection, enabling users to allow or block the JavaScript that is running on a given Website.

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Tails Blocks Ads

Going a step further, the included Adblock Plus browser add-on can block Website ads, which can also potentially track users.

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Secure Email Gets Claws

Sending encrypted email is important for privacy, which is why Tails includes the Claws Mail application, including PGP encryption plug-ins.

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KeePassX Provides Password Management

For password management, the KeePassX application is included in Tails.

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Pidgin Keeps Instant Messaging Off-The-Record

For Instant Messaging, Tails includes Pidgin, which has been configured with the Off-The Record (OTR) Messaging plug-in to enable private and secure conversations.

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Virtual Keyboard Limits Keylogger Risk

Hardware keyloggers can potentially log all keystrokes from a keyboard, which is why Tails includes a virtual keyboard.

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Metadata Is Also Anonymized

Metadata that can be embedded in files also represents a potential risk to privacy. The Metadata Anonymisation Toolkit (MAT) in Tails aims to reduce that risk.

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Apache OpenOffice Is the Default Office Suite

Tails includes that Apache OpenOffice.org 3 office suite for word processing, spreadsheet and presentation-building functionality.

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Tails Based on Debian Linux With Linux 3.12 Kernel

Tails leverages the Debian GNU/Linux distribution and is powered by a Linux 3.12 kernel.

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Memory Wiped When Tails Shuts Down

No trace of what a user has down is left on the host system when Tails is shut down as system memory is wiped clean.

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