forgetfulness; loss of long-term memory.
incognito, adjective & adverb:
(of a person) having one's true identity concealed.
Tails is a live system that aims to preserve your privacy and anonymity. It helps you to use the Internet anonymously and circumvent censorship almost anywhere you go and on any computer but leaving no trace unless you ask it to explicitly.
Tails comes with several built-in applications pre-configured with security in mind: web browser, instant messaging client, email client, office suite, image and sound editor, etc.
Tails relies on the Tor anonymity network to protect your privacy online:
- all software is configured to connect to the Internet through Tor
- if an application tries to connect to the Internet directly, the connection is automatically blocked for security.
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 analysis.
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.
Using Tor you can:
- be anonymous online by hiding your location,
- connect to services that would be censored otherwise;
- resist attacks that block the usage of Tor using circumvention tools such as bridges.
To learn more about Tor, see the official Tor website:
- Tor overview: Why we need Tor
- Tor overview: How does Tor work
- Who uses Tor?
- Understanding and Using Tor — An Introduction for the Layman
To learn more about how the usage of Tor is enforced, see our design document.
You can also use Tails to access I2P which is an anonymity network different from Tor.
To know how I2P is implemented in Tails, see our design document.
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 your computer, a friend's or one at your local library. After shutting down Tails, the computer can start again on its usual operating system.
Tails is configured with special care to not use the computer's hard-disks, even if there is some swap space on them. The only storage space used by Tails is the RAM, 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 away for future use.
Tails also comes with a selection of tools to protect your data using strong encryption:
Encrypt and sign your emails and documents using the de facto standard OpenPGP either from Tails email client, text editor or file browser.
Protect your instant messaging conversations using OTR, a cryptographic tool that provides encryption, authentication and deniability.
To continue discovering Tails, you can now read:
- the warning page to understand better the security limitations of Tails and Tor,
- more details about the features and software included in Tails,
- our documentation explaining in detail how to use Tails,
- some hints on why should you trust Tails,
- our design document about Tails specification, threat model and implementation,
- the calendar holds the release dates, meetings and other events.