about.mdwn 6.31 KB
Newer Older
[[!meta title="About"]]

3 4 5 6 7 8
> **amnesiac**, *noun*:<br/>
> forgetfulness; loss of long-term memory.

> **incognito**, *adjective & adverb*:<br/>
> (of a person) having one's true identity concealed.

9 10 11 12 13 14
Tails is a live system that aims at preserving your privacy and anonymity. It
helps you to use the Internet anonymously almost anywhere you go and on any
computer but leave no trace using unless you ask it explicitly.

It is a complete operating-system designed to be used from a CD or a USB stick
independently of the computer's original operating system. It is [[Free
Software|doc/about/license]] and based on [[Debian GNU/Linux|http://www.debian.org/]].

Tails comes with several built-in applications pre-configured with security in
18 19
mind: web browser, instant messaging client, email client, office suite, image
and sound editor, etc.

21 22
[[!toc levels=1]]

Anonymity online through Tor
Tails developers's avatar
Tails developers committed
25 26

Tails relies on the Tor anonymity network to protect your privacy online: all
27 28
software are configured to connect through Tor, and direct (non-anonymous)
connections are blocked.
29 30 31 32

Tor is free software and an open network that helps you defend against a form of
network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential
business activities and relationships, and state security known as traffic
Tails developers's avatar
Tails developers committed
34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42

Tor protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of
relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching
your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the
sites you visit from learning your physical location.

To learn more about Tor, see the official [Tor

- [Tor overview: Why we need
- [Tor overview: How does Tor
46 47
- [Who uses Tor?](https://www.torproject.org/about/torusers.html.en)
48 49
- [Understanding and Using Tor — An Introduction for the
50 51

Use anywhere but leave no trace
Tails developers's avatar
Tails developers committed
53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69

Using Tails on a computer doesn't alter or depend on the operating system
installed on it. So you can use it in the same way on yours, the computer of a
friend or one at your local library. After removing your Tails CD or USB stick
the computer can start again on its usual operating system.

Tails is configured with a special care to not use the computer's hard-disks,
even if there is some swap space on it. The only storage space used by Tails is
the RAM memory, which is automatically erased when the computer shuts down. So
you won't leave any trace neither of the Tails system nor of what you did on
the computer. That's why we call it "amnesic".

This allows you to work on sensitive documents on any computer and protect you
from data recovery after shutdown. Of course, you can still explicitly save
some documents to another USB or external hard-disk and take them aways for
future use.

Tails developers's avatar
Tails developers committed
State-of-the-art cryptographic tools
71 72 73 74 75

Tails also comes with a selection of tools to protect your data using strong

76 77
  - [[Encrypt your USB sticks or external
    hard-disks|doc/encryption_and_privacy/encrypted_volumes]] using <span
78 79 80
    class="definition">[[!wikipedia LUKS]]</span>, the Linux standard for

Tails developers's avatar
Tails developers committed
  - Automatically encrypt with HTTPS all your communications to a number of
82 83
    major websites using [HTTPS
    Everywhere](https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere), a Firefox extension
Tails developers's avatar
Tails developers committed
    developed by the [Electronic Frontier Foundation](https://www.eff.org).
85 86 87

  - Encrypt and sign your emails and documents, using the *de facto* standard
    <span class="definition">[[!wikipedia OpenPGP]]</span> either from Tails
    email client or file browser.
89 90 91 92 93 94

  - Protect your instant messaging conversations using <span
    class="definition">[[!wikipedia Off-the-Record_Messaging
    desc="OTR"]]</span>, a cryptographic tool that provides encryption,
    authentication and deniability.

95 96 97 98 99
What's next?

To continue discovering Tails, you can now read:

100 101 102
  - the [[warning page|doc/about/warning]] page to understand better the security limitations of Tails and Tor,
  - more details about the [[features and software|doc/about/features]] included in Tails,
  - some hints on why [[should you trust Tails|doc/about/trust]],
  - our [[design document|contribute/design]] about Tails specification, threat model and implementation.

105 106

108 109 110
  - Tails could not exist without [[Debian|http://www.debian.org/]], [[Debian Live|http://live.debian.net]], and [[Tor|https://www.torproject.org/]]; see our [[contribute/relationship with upstream]] document for details.
  - Tails was inspired by the [[Incognito LiveCD|http://web.archive.org/web/20090220133020/http://anonymityanywhere.com/]]. The Incognito author has declared it to be dead on March 23rd, 2010, and written that Tails "should be considered as its spiritual successor".
  - The [[Privatix Live-System|http://mandalka.name/privatix/]] an early source of inspiration, too.
111 112 113
  - Some ideas (in particular [[tordate|contribute/design/Time_syncing]] and
    improvements to our [[contribute/design/memory_erasure]] procedure) has
    been borrowed from [Liberté Linux](http://dee.su/liberte).
  - Portions of Tails are based on TrueCrypt, freely available at [[http://www.truecrypt.org/]].
115 116 117 118

Related projects

119 120 121
Feel free to contact us if you think that your project is missing, or
if some project is listed in the wrong category.

## Active projects
123 124 125 126

* [Liberté Linux](http://dee.su/liberte)
* [Ubuntu Privacy Remix](https://www.privacy-cd.org/)
* [Privatix](http://www.mandalka.name/privatix/)
* [Odebian](http://www.odebian.org/)

## Discontinued, abandoned or sleeping projects
130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139

* [The Haven Project](https://www.haven-project.org/)
* [Polippix](http://polippix.org/)
* [ISXUbuntu](http://www.isoc-ny.org/wiki/ISXubuntu)
* [Phantomix](http://phantomix.ytternhagen.de/)
* [Anonym.OS](http://sourceforge.net/projects/anonym-os/)
* [The Incognito LiveCD](http://anonymityanywhere.com/incognito/) (dead link)
* [ParanoidLinux](http://www.paranoidlinux.org/) (dead link)
* [onionOS](http://jamon.name/files/onionOS/) (dead link)
* [ELE](http://www.northernsecurity.net/download/ele/) (dead link)