Protecting your identity when using Tails

Clean metadata from files before sharing them

Many files contain hidden data, or metadata:

  • JPEG and other image files often contain information about where a picture was taken and which camera was used.

  • Office documents often contain information about their author, and the date and time the document was created.

To help you clean metadata, Tails includes mat2, a tool to remove metadata in a wide range of file formats.

Metadata has been used in the past to locate people from pictures they took. For an example, see NPR: Betrayed by metadata, John McAfee admits he's really in Guatemala.

Use Tails sessions for only one purpose at a time

If you use Tails sessions for more than one purpose at a time, an adversary could link your different activities together.

For example, if you log into different accounts on the same website in a single Tails session, the website could determine that the accounts are used by the same person. This is because websites can tell when 2 accounts are using the same Tor circuit.

To prevent an adversary from linking your activities together while using Tails, restart Tails between different activities. For example, restart Tails between checking your work email and your whistleblowing email.

We are not aware of any such attacks to deanonymize people online who used Tails for different purposes at a time.

If you worry that the files in your Persistent Storage could be used to link your activities together, consider using a different Tails USB stick for each activity. For example, use one Tails USB stick for your activism work and another one for your journalism work.