Tails OS is an operating system that was built with one thing in mind. Your privacy. In a world where keeping your everyday life private is becoming more and more impossible, Tails OS makes that possible. So today, we’re going to look at the magnificent Tails Operating System and how you can use it to remain anonymous on the internet.
The Importance of Privacy
Before we get into Tails OS, it’s important to mention something about the importance of remaining anonymous on the internet. Governments around the world have been painting this picture that the need to stay private and anonymous is only for the worst kinds of criminals. They make you believe that if you think that if you attempt to remain private, you’re already committing a crime.
This is not the truth; anonymity and privacy are a right that we as a people need to treasure and fight for, or else it will be stripped from under our feet if we’re not careful. We can’t deny that the “dark web” is filled with criminal activity, but it also has thousands of family-friendly websites and streaming services, and it’s a place where people from places like Russia and China can avoid censorship.
Prevent targeted ads, heavy data collection that every big tech company wants to use against you, and go private. It’s a smarter way of living. This is why we are pioneers in using systems like Tor, the Darknet, and, as we’ll go over today, Tails OS.
What is Tails OS?
Tails OS is a USB-Based operating system. It isn’t exactly an entirely new system, but a fork from the famous Debian Linux OS. What makes the OS so unique is that you’ll never need to install the OS on your PC. All work is stored using RAM, and as soon as your PC shuts down, everything you’ve done on the OS is wiped from memory. And we mean that literally.
As the Tails website explains it,
Tails is a portable operating system that protects against surveillance and censorship.
The OS does this by temporarily turning the PC device you’re currently using into a secure machine. Users simply need to plug in the USB and boot the PC through the TailsOS.
Although we wouldn’t advise this, Tails OS basically uses multiple IP configurations and secure software enough that you could walk into your library and do whatever it is you need to do, and there will be no trace of the PC even being used.
As the Tails’ website explains it, it’s an OS with “amnesia,” which is why Roger Dingledine, creator of the Tor Project, claims that.
“Tails expands Tor’s protections to an entire operating system, and they do so with an unwavering commitment to their Social Contract. Tails is a favorite companion tool of Tor.”Roger Dingledine
NB: Tails is the safest system to use, but is not magic. You still have a responsibility to carefully choose and understand how to handle your data and how to follow basic OPSEC on the internet.
While Tails OS is relatively simple to download and use, it’s essential that you do it correctly to ensure that you achieve the goal of anonymity and privacy. Due to the very nature of the product, installing Tails OS correctly can be difficult to do.
How to Install Tails OS Onto A USB
Tails OS can be installed onto a USB using Linux, Windows, or any MacOS using any Macbook prior to the M1 model (Tails does not support the M1 chip or newer models). The process works as follows:
Step 1: Go to the official Tails website and download the Tails OS (we recommend using the Torrent option)
Step 2: Verify your download. This should be done using the Tails website, or by verifying with their official PGP signature.
Step 3: Open balenaEtcher (if you don’t own this already, you can download it here) and select the Flash from file button > Select the Tails OS download file > Click on Select target > Click on Flash.
If you’ve already set up a password, you’ll need to put it in here, otherwise, wait a few minutes for the installation. Once installation completes, close balenaEtcher
Step 4: Restart your PC and boot it with Tails OS.
If you don’t know how to force a USB Boot with a windows PC,
- Click on the Start button.
- Hold Shift while you choose Power ▸ Restart.
- Select Use a device.
- Finally, choose Boot Menu.
The PC should automatically restart, and eventually, a boot menu will appear. This menu will look different depending on your PC, but you should be able to navigate to the USB option and click Enter.
If you’ve completed the above correctly, it should look like this.
Once you’ve reached this screen you have a few options to customize you’ll use OS. If you’re looking to add software to Tails OS, you’ll need to set up an Administrative password. NB: To ensure maximum security and anonymity, do not store any additional software on the USB, rather, download things like your VPNs every time you use the OS.
There are a few additional settings, and each has its own explanation as you look through them. But once you’re ready, you can click on “Start Tails” and the OS is good to go!
Using Tails Correctly.
When you start Tails up for the first time, you’ll probably notice it looks like a Windows OS that hasn’t been completed yet. This is because the system uses the bare minimum a user could need to run a smooth operating system.
Pre-installed with Tails OS you’ll see almost all the applications you’ll need while you’re doing your business on the OS. Apps like the Tor Browser, KeyPass, and Thunderbird are automatically available. There are also the bare necessities like a file manager, a visual/audio player and more.
Although you could download apps like Chrome, it would make the entire Tails OS operation pointless. Make sure you stick to apps that take your privacy seriously, like Tails OS. The system from here is fairly straightforward. As you continue for your usual operations on the Tor Browser/ Similar apps on the OS.
Once you’re done with the system and you’re ready to walk away from the system. Make sure you save any documents, and understand that everything, including your WiFi password, and VPN app that you’ve downloaded, will be gone the next time you open the OS (unless you’ve forced it to save these).
You can then restart the PC and remove the USB. The “Amnesia” effect of tails will take place as your PC flashes the RAM sticks, and all traces of you ever using the PC are completely removed.
The TailsOS team is extremely helpful if you run into any issues, and they have guides to almost anything that could go wrong, so if you need help, head over to tails.boum.org, and you should find everything you need to know.
1) Is Tails OS Legal?
Yes, Privacy is your right, and Tails OS just makes that easier to maintain! It’s a completely legal operating system that simply focuses on privacy and anonymity with a goal to remove censorship.
2) Is Tails OS Safe?
Yes, Tails OS is perhaps the most secure operating system out there with a single goal in mind. User privacy. As former NSA employee Edward Snowden says, “it is clear the absolute most important thing you can do to maintain your anonymity is reduce the number of places in your operational activity where you can make mistakes. Tor and Tails still do precisely that.”
3) Does Tails OS Automatically Hide My IP?
Yes, and No. Tails will prevent your ISP from knowing which websites you’re using, but they can see that you’re connecting to a TailsOS server. This is where Tor will do the work in hiding your IP.