Access the internet anonymously using this simple USB stick with Tails installed
Secure any computer anywhere by just plugging in this USB stick.
Almost everything you do on the internet can leave traces of your actions on your computer and on the networks you are connected to.
This can include;
Information on the websites that you visited, even in private or incognito mode.
Details on the files that you opened and looked at, even if you deleted them.
Passwords, even if you use a password manager may be accessible if not careful
All the devices and Wi-Fi networks that you used with your computer.
Why use a portable OS on a USB stick?
The ability to hide your identity while allowing you access to the internet and it’s vast resources and capabilities anonymously is quite valuable.
How does it work?
You only need two things to make this work. A USB stick and an open source tool called Tails.
I set up mine with this Kootion 64GB USB stick from Amazon.
I liked it because is small, metal and can be attached to a keychain. It looked rugged but we will see how this stands the test of time using it.
Tails has Amnesia.
It forgets everything when you shutdown the computer.
When you boot Tails, it always starts from the same clean state you set up and everything you don’t want captured or seen disappears automatically when you shut down and take your USB stick out of the computer.
You can run this OS with persistence set to on or off meaning you can configure your OS with all of the settings you want, and those can remain when Tails reboots.
What is Tails?
Tails is a portable operating system based on Debian 10 designed to protect against surveillance and censorship all from a simple USB stick.
It is a compete install of GNOME, an intuitive and simple desktop environment that runs from the USB stick that looks like this.
It’s a full operation system so it comes with everything you would expect on your typical Linux system.
How to use Tails OS?
All computers that are equipped with a USB plug will allow you to boot from that port or from the USB stick inserted into it.
To boot into the Tails OS, shut down the computer and start on the USB drive instead of starting on Windows, macOS, or Linux.
Tails includes a bunch of applications so you can work on sensitive documents and communicate securely.
All the applications are ready-to-use and are configured with safe defaults to prevent mistakes that may compromise your security and anonymity.
Some of the applications include;
Tor Browser with uBlock, a secure browser and an ad-blocker
Thunderbird, for encrypted emails
KeePassXC, to create and store strong passwords
LibreOffice, an office suite
OnionShare, to share files over Tor
To prevent mistakes Tails has setup some defaults to help keep you safe from manual error.
Applications are blocked automatically if they try to connect to the Internet without Tor.
Everything in the Persistent Storage is encrypted automatically.
Tails does not write anything to the hard disk. All the memory is deleted when shutting down.
Using the persistent storage settings, you can save some files and configuration in an encrypted storage on the USB stick so that next time you boot from your Tails USB, your documents, browser bookmarks, emails, and even an Electrum Bitcoin wallet can stay configured and not get deleted on shutdown.
Other Application on your Tails USB
NetworkManager for easy network configuration
Aircrack-ng for wireless network auditing
Electrum, an easy-to-use bitcoin client
GnuPG, the GNU implementation of OpenPGP for email and data encyption and signing
MAT to anonymize metadata in files
PDF Redact Tools to redact and strip metadata from text documents before publishing
Tesseract OCR to convert images containing text into a text document
FFmpeg to record and convert audio and video
Additionally, you can install in Tails any other software available in Debian.
You can download Tails for free and independent security researchers can verify our work. Tails is based on Debian GNU/Linux.