Monday, April 15, 2024

Tails 6.0 Linux distribution: The ultimate privacy shield to thwart ‘Big Brother’

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Tails 6.0, the newest version of the privacy-focused Linux distribution, is now available for download. It is notable for being the first version of Tails to be based on Debian 12 (Bookworm) and use the GNOME 43 desktop environment. This update also introduces a host of new features, security enhancements, and usability improvements, alongside updated versions of the majority of the software included in Tails.

In Tails 6.0, users will find a new error detection feature for the Persistent Storage, which alerts them about errors when reading or writing from the Tails USB stick. This helps in diagnosing hardware failures and prompts users to backup their Persistent Storage before it’s too late. The update also brings automatic mounting of external devices. When an external storage device is plugged in, Tails 6.0 mounts it automatically, and if the device contains an encrypted partition, it offers to unlock the encryption automatically.

To protect against attacks via malicious USB devices, Tails 6.0 ignores any USB device plugged in while the screen is locked. New USB devices can only be used if they are plugged in while the screen is unlocked. The update also introduces a dark mode and night light feature, allowing users to switch between the default light mode, a dark mode, a night light mode with warmer colors, and a combination of both dark and night light modes from the system menu. Additionally, GNOME 43 introduces a new shortcut in the system menu, making it easier to take screenshots or record screencasts.

Configuring a Gmail account in Thunderbird is now much simpler in Tails 6.0, thanks to changes in both Thunderbird and Gmail. The update also extends the support for Diceware passphrases to five more languages: Catalan, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Tails 6.0 updates most of the applications included in Tails, such as Tor Browser, Electrum, KeePassXC, Metadata Cleaner, Text Editor, Inkscape, Audacity, Gimp, and Kleopatra. Some features have been removed, including the icons on the desktop, the “Wipe” and “Wipe available disk space” options in the Files browser, the “Remove metadata” option, and GtkHash. Several issues with special characters and non-Latin scripts in the screen keyboard have also been fixed.

There are some known issues in Tails 6.0, such as OnionShare still being included as version 2.2 due to security implications with newer versions, and automatic mounting of external devices interfering with the Back Up Persistent Storage utility.

Users have a few options — they can upgrade their existing Tails USB stick and keep their Persistent Storage, install Tails 6.0 on a new USB stick, or download the update directly. An ISO for a USB flash drive can be downloaded here. A DVD variant can be had here.

Need a good flash drive to run Tails from? Check out this affordable and fast 128GB drive that offers both USB-A and USB-C. It even comes with a cool carry case!

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