1Unmasking the Tails Linux Distro
by Sean Michael Kerner
2Tails 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.
3MAC 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.
4Tails 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.”
5Tor 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.
6Iceweasel 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.
7Torbutton 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.
8HTTPS 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.
10Tails Blocks Ads
Going a step further, the included Adblock Plus browser add-on can block Website ads, which can also potentially track users.
11Secure Email Gets Claws
Sending encrypted email is important for privacy, which is why Tails includes the Claws Mail application, including PGP encryption plug-ins.
12KeePassX Provides Password Management
For password management, the KeePassX application is included in Tails.
13Pidgin 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.
14Virtual Keyboard Limits Keylogger Risk
Hardware keyloggers can potentially log all keystrokes from a keyboard, which is why Tails includes a virtual keyboard.
15Metadata 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.
16Apache OpenOffice Is the Default Office Suite
Tails includes that Apache OpenOffice.org 3 office suite for word processing, spreadsheet and presentation-building functionality.
17Tails 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.
18Memory 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.