Leave no trace on the computer

Like a tent, you can carry Tails with you and use it anywhere.

Your secure computer anywhere

To use Tails, shut down the computer and start on your Tails USB stick instead of starting on Windows, macOS, or Linux.

You can temporarily turn your own computer into a secure machine. You can also stay safe while using the computer of somebody else.

Tails is a 1.1 GB download and takes ½ hour to install. Tails can be installed on any USB stick of 8 GB minimum. Tails works on most computers less than 10 years old. You can start again on the other operating system after you shut down Tails.

You don't have to worry about the computer having viruses because Tails runs independently from the other operating system and never uses the hard disk. But, Tails cannot always protect you if you install it from a computer with viruses or if you use it on a computer with malicious hardware, like keyloggers.

Like a tent, Tails is amnesic: it always starts empty and leaves no trace when you leave.

Amnesia

Tails always starts from the same clean state and everything you do disappears automatically when you shut down Tails.

Without Tails, almost everything you do can leave traces on the computer:

  • Websites that you visited, even in private mode
  • Files that you opened, even if you deleted them
  • Passwords, even if you use a password manager
  • All the devices and Wi-Fi networks that you used

On the contrary, Tails never writes anything to the hard disk and only runs from the memory of the computer. The memory is entirely deleted when you shutdown Tails, erasing all possible traces.

Like a backpack, you can store your personal things in your Persistent Storage and use them in your tent.

Encrypted Persistent Storage

You can save some of your files and configuration in an encrypted Persistent Storage on the USB stick: your documents, your browser bookmarks, your emails, and even some additional software.

The Persistent Storage is optional and you always decide what is persistent. Everything else is amnesic.

Digital security toolbox

Tails includes a selection of applications to work on sensitive documents and communicate securely.

All the applications are ready-to-use and are configured with safe defaults to prevent mistakes.

Tails includes:

  • Tor Browser with uBlock, a secure browser with an ad-blocker
  • Thunderbird with Enigmail, for encrypted emails
  • KeePassXC, to create and store strong passwords
  • LibreOffice, an office suite
  • OnionShare, to share files over Tor
  • and many more!

To prevent mistakes:

  • 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.

Leave no trace on the Internet

Tor for everything

Everything you do on the Internet from Tails goes through the Tor network. Tor encrypts and anonymizes your connection by passing it through 3 relays. Relays are servers operated by different people and organizations around the world.

A single relay never knows both where the encrypted connection is coming from and where it is going to:

  • The 1st relay only knows where you are coming from but not where you are going to.
  • This 3rd relay only knows where you are going to but not where you are coming from.

This way, Tor is secure by design even if a few relays are malicious.

Tor has more than 6 000 relays. Organizations running Tor relays include universities like the MIT, activist groups like Riseup, nonprofits like Derechos Digitales, Internet hosting companies like Private Internet Access, etc. The huge diversity of people and organizations running Tor relays makes it more secure and more sustainable.

Avoid online surveillance and censorship

Tor prevents someone watching your Internet connection from learning what you are doing on the Internet.

You can avoid censorship because it is impossible for a censor to know which websites you are visiting.

If connecting to Tor is blocked or dangerous to use from where you are, for example Iran or China, you can use bridges to connect to Tor in a more discrete way. Different types of bridges work better in different places.

Avoid tracking and change identity

Tor also prevents the websites that you are visiting from learning where and who you are, unless you tell them. You can visit websites anonymously or change your identity.

Online trackers and advertisers won't be able to follow you around from one website to another anymore.

You can publish a blog or manage a social media account entirely from Tails. If you only access it from Tails, it cannot be related to you. You can store documents and images related to this different identity in your Persistent Storage, keep your passwords in KeePassXC, have a dedicated email account in Thunderbird, etc.

Software for freedom

Transparency to build trust

All the code of our software is public to allow independent security researchers to verify that Tails really works the way it should.

Top security for free

Nobody should have to pay to be safe while using a computer. That is why we are giving out Tails for free and try to make it easy to use by anybody.

We are a nonprofit and an open community.

Our work is funded by donations from people like you and organizations that support Internet freedom: Mozilla, Tor, DuckDuckGo, Freedom of the Press Foundation, AccessNow, etc.

Sharing to be stronger

Tails is built on solid foundations: the Tor network, the Debian operating system, the GNOME desktop environment, and all the tools included in Tails.

We share back our improvements with these projects so that many more people can benefit from our work.