Many publicly accessible Internet connections (usually available through a wireless network connection) require users to first log in to a captive portal in order to access the Internet.

A captive portal is a web page that is displayed to the user before the user can access the Internet. Captive portals usually require the user to log in to the network or enter information such as an email address. Captive portals are commonly encountered at Internet cafés, libraries, airports, hotels, and universities.

This is an example of a captive portal (by AlexEng):

Welcome! Please enter your credentials to connect.

Tor cannot be started when your Internet connection is initially blocked by a captive portal. So, Tails includes an Unsafe Browser to log in to captive portals before starting Tor.

To start the Unsafe Browser, choose Applications ▸ Internet ▸ Unsafe Web Browser.

The Unsafe Browser has a red theme to differentiate it from Tor Browser.

The Unsafe Browser is not anonymous. Use it only to log in to captive portals or to browse web pages on the local network.

If you download files using the Unsafe Browser it is not possible to access them outside of the Unsafe Browser itself.

Security recommendations:

  • Do not run this browser at the same time as the anonymous Tor Browser. This makes it easy to not mistake one browser for the other, which could have catastrophic consequences.