A Complete Operating System Optimized For Anonymous Surfing


If you want to use the internet while remaining completely anonymous, there are plenty of tools that you can use.  Encrypted email programs, an operating system that never stores any files on your hard disk and which wipes all your RAM memory when you've finished, and a web browser that uses the Tor network of anonymizing proxies to ensure that your IP address is untraceable.

The bad news is that setting up an environment like this is hard work.  The good news is that someone's done all the hard work for you, so all that's left is to download it onto a bootable DVD to get started.

The result of all the hard work is something called Tails, or The Amnesic Incognito Live System.  It's a Live Linux distribution, which means that it runs from a DVD and doesn't need installing.  When you're done using it, just remove the disc from your drive and boot straight back into Windows as normal.

The advantage of Tails over other Linux Live distributions is that everything's configured for the ultimate in anonymous usage.  The web browser automatically uses the Tor system, for example, so your activity is untraceable.  It's easy to send encrypted email too.  And when you're done, reboot into Windows and no one will ever know that you were using Tails.

In addition to the web browser and email client, Tails includes a collection of other useful Linux programs, such as the OpenOffice suite and the Gimp image editor.  

Tails is a fairly hefty 900 MB download from https://tails.boum.org/ and you'll need a blank DVD disc too (it's too large for a CD-RW).  Once booted, you'll need to wait a couple of minutes for it to set up the Tor connection, after which you're ready to go anonymous.




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Thanks, I know exactly what you saying...being TI for at least fifteen years myself.....gets lot worse than just the spying and messing with computer equipment.....you targetted yourself is what I'm really wondering?

Forgive me if my old lazy brain has not grasped all the motives that readers may have
Could they be broken into two broad categories -
1) Stop anyone seeing what you are doing, as you do it
2) Don't leave any trace of what you were previously doing in an earlier session
(Forgive me for leaving out concerns about leaving a record of what you were doing, on servers/etc out there.)

Regarding '2' would using IceDragon (Comodo's FF) in portable mode allow one to delete all history from your hard drive, by deleting the folder it was running in ?
Or crushing a thumb drive, if that was where your folder was ?

PS I love the portable mode, and have many folders (on my hard drive) allowing me to have different browsing history, for say Software, Hardware, Programming(VB6), etc
Since I consistently allow Tabs to accumulate, having them broken up across different FF's is a boon.
PPS Anyone tempted to do the same, I never run two of the portables at the same time, as I suspect they may confuse each other. (One portable running at the same time as the traditional FF, works fine.)

This setup does not appear to hide your IP prior to the browser nor prevent your ISP from reading your web traffic as a default. Furthermore, it would appear that the NSA has at least partially penetrated TOR as reported by Edward Snowden.

At any rate, it is NOT very hard to completely hide your PC activity in windows for free and encrypt your traffic from the first hop & hide your IP /packets even from your ISP:

1) general cleaning: CCleaner

2) RAM, disk cache & deeper cleaning: PrivaZer

3)[Link to commercial services edited out]

Run the first two after a session, bring up 3 prior to your session; good PC management to clean out any virus, trojans & malware are always good practices.

In reality, if the NSA wants to see what you are doing, there is no defense other than to run totally web disconnected PCs and ensure high physical security of your location.

Yes, there is no escaping the NSA if they directly target you. Yet, the main usage I find for Tails/Tor is protecting one from criminals using your computer in free WiFi spaces (internet cafes/university/libraries...) to do their illegal work. Any criminal can do his activities using a random computer wile drinking a couple of bears outside an internet cafe, and they are untraceable...For all intents and purposes it was the ''targets'' computer doing the work.
Naturally, there is no protection without the usage of a good VPN service...currently there are many cheep options available (choose one that permits you to insert your own code).

Also, if you live in a small community, where everybody knows each other, you might not want the service provider, probably a friend or acquaintance, going around divulging all your activities, even if there is nothing illegal about them.
So the ideal package would be Tails/Tor/VPN...With Kali as your personal ''attacking'' software, just to be sure there are no major vulnerabilities. The idea is for you to regularly hack/crack/attack your Tails/Tor/VPN system using Kali, then gradually eliminate the vulnerabilities you discover.

There is no escaping Governments criminal activities, but there is a reason we all have doors in our houses and don't permit creeps looking into our homes, nor do we use glass walls in our bathrooms...
Total protection can only be achieved by going ''old School''...that means no WiFi on your mobo, even if allegedly disconnected, and no internet of any sort on your main server...''Let's get physical''...
Even if all your ''work'' systems are always offline, remember to physically destroy your mobo's WiFi connectors, since they can be remotely accessed, and no webcams (also must be physically destroyed).

Paranoia, Paranoia, Paranoia...''Tinfoil-hat people'' are always right, the Government is always out to get you...This should be your attitude in all things electronic/digital (phones/car/gps...)

actually, even running disconnected from the web...they still have access! your machine needs a power source....and they can connect via the electrical outlet.

ebuyer and other companies readily sell such devices so you can run a home network that way....been around for years- did surprise me....how you can have data and 240 volts mains power running through same wires at same time....but it works!

This assumes you are a direct target and your system was ''worked on'' physically. Tails/Tor/VPN aren't meant to offer total protection, much less if you are the target of a criminal Government...They are meant to give you privacy from your peers, keep your computer safe from cloning, and protect you from generic spy tools (use by governments and corporations).
If you are a direct target nothing can protect you. Most people are not direct targets, but targets of clumsy software attacks (mainly from corporations looking for ''pirated'' software/music/movies/TV shows...)
Remember, Tails/Tor/VPN service(that was omitted from the article)...VPN is probably the most important of the three.

I suspect this is harder than you think without the presence of a device to decode and encode signals to be generated over the power line. However, why even bother with the power lines when they can supposedly employ lasers for direct line of sight hacking, peeking in windows, radio frequency demodulators to interpret keystrokes and cpu response, compromised E-Proms, Roms, & software, and so on.

But all of the above assumes that your physical security kung fu is weak.

Also edited out was the generic item called VPN (virtual private network = virtual point-to-point connection employing virtual tunneling protocols, or traffic encryption.

The link to LifeHacker was NOT to a commercial service although the linked article itself linked commercial services. A bit of a stretch.

Excellent information to check out.

Thank You.

Jenn :-)

MC are you referring to oracle VM virtual box? comes std with ubuntu flavours .dunno bout the other linux flavours. Im on mint and use it for a cadd package i cant get. with win7. Anyway its in the repos,no mention of donation.

No, there is a dedicated Linux distro that has been purposely designed to run Windows in a virtual environment (XP or 7). Additionally, you can use their purpose built VM installers in a range of other supported distros that you might already have installed. The problem currently is that a "donation" is required so we will not be promoting it here. I've been in contact with the developer however and it is possible this might change. He also states that some users have been provided with this for free but until this is listed as "free" on his website we won't be posting links to it. If you're interested though, please send me a PM and I'll provide the details. MC - Site Manager.

Hi MidnightCowboy. Not to be a dunce, but how does one initiate a PM to you? Posting a reply message on this board (which this is) which would not provide the private forum required if you did not want to publicize this donation-required Linux distro?

Just click my username to reveal the contact field or from the forum click my username to send a PM (private message) or email contact. MC

Serious Newbie here when it comes to this stuff, please be kind.

My question, I was told a long time ago to never access my banking site using Windows (My laptop is Windows 7) ...

I was told to use the Ubuntu operating system via burned DVD and boot to that system to do my banking.

Is Tails the same thing as using Ubuntu ??

Cable guy told me my internal wireless card was bad, disabled it and installed a WLAN but since he did this I can not get Ubuntu to find my wireless access.

Would using Tails correct that problem ??

Thanks for any input on this.


IMO, you can either use reasonable precautions and take your chances with online banking or be safer by banking the old fashion way, in person, with written instruments (checks). Using PCs and debit/credit cards further expose you to fraud. In most respects, there is minimal difference between PC operating systems in this regard.

Ensure your deposits are largely protected from fraud by the bank or ensure that your homeowners / other insurance policy covers your banking liability.

Bankers are actually a likely source of fund loss and recourse to bank collapse depends on the FDIC in the US. Obviously you would likely lose all your bank money in a general currency collapse.

LoLoL, well there you go .. NO totally safe way.

Thank you for taking the time to reply ~!!

Have a Gr8 Weekend and Keep Smiling. :-)


Good suggestion rob, thank you! :-)

Just leaving a humble opinion: better than burn a DVD is to use a pen drive and a boot creator software, like YUMI:

By the way, I have a 8 GB pen drive with a lot of amazing and different SOs/Linux distributions thanks to YUMI. Now I'm downloading Tails and it will be the novelty of my "collection".

I've used TAILS for several years with no difficulty at all. Also have used LPS from the Air Force SPI program. Also good.

Useful for those Starbucks moments.

Re the comments--I dual-boot on a laptop Win 8.1 and Ubuntu 13.10. And each OS has VirtualBox. So, in Windows I can run virtualized Bodhi; and in Ubuntu I can run Windows.

I stay away from MS productivity apps, instead using multi-platform apps; OpenOffice, LibreOffice, AbiWord, Thunderbird, TrueCrypt, etc.

No trick whatever. If you need help refer to the tutorial in the Brit Linux magazines.



Shows my everyday use of IP-hiding? I'm so legal, it's crazy... ;)

I used tunlr a while ago (not that long?)...How odd they couldn't find a way to go commercial & simply killed it?

Cheers for the head's-up,


One more thing:



The Tunlr service is no longer available. Wasn't sure if this was the meaning of your post? MC - Site Manager. http://tunlr.net/

Thanks for the great Hot Find !

Interesting concept
Im new to anonymous surfing and Tor (which I have heard about for years, but never touched)
So be gentle
Do Tails allow your IP number not to be broadcast to the internet at all ?
What other advantages are there to anonymous surfing with Tails in plain English ?

---Is there a simpler (portable if possible) Windows freeware application with Tor protection ?------------
---ie avoiding having to do a separate Linux bootup ?------------

Booting into Linux means that you have to devote your entire computer to internet browsing
This is difficult if you also have work to do with other Windows programs at the same time
The way the DVD loads Linux almost demands that you use a separate computer to do your anonymous browsing

Im betting the majority of us want as little to do with Linux as possible, apart from this anonymous browsing function, so dont suggest Linux word processing programs, image editors etc. Have you tried printing with legacy hardware with Windows drivers, on a Linux system ?

Im dreaming, but it would be much better if this DVD could log into Linux on a virtual drive, flawlessly connecting to the internet via this virtual drive, and running concurrently with Windows programs
Then we have perfection !

But still a great find for those who want some anonymous surfing before/after doing other work on their computers !

I haven't tried it yet, but:

I'd imagine that you could install Virtualbox & then point it to this DVD, as an ISO on your "real" computer?

Then, you'd be able to boot to Windows (if you must ;) & launch the ISO when you required a safe internet connection.

I'd appreciate if those more knowledgeable than I could please comment?


There is also a Linux distribution that allows Windows XP or 7 to be run in a virtual environment within itself or the same way inside one of a number of supported existing Linux installations. Their business model however currently requires a "donation" for the VM installers although I understand this might change. If it does I'll post the details to our Linux forum. MC - Site Manager.