Feeds

New secure OS will put Tails between NSA's legs

Debian-derived OS funnels everything through Tor and HTTPS

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Secure Linux distribution Tails has reached the milestone of a version 1.0 release, after its developers crushed a laundry list of bugs.

The Debian-based operating system is a “live OS” - it boots from removable media rather than a hard disk. It also funnels all data through Tor and uses a smattering of cryptography and anonymising tools to help users circumvent censorship and lock out snoops and spooks. For example, Tails encrypts storage devices using the Linux Unified Key Setup, uses the HTTPS Everywhere tool to encrypt web traffic, and locks down emails with OpenPGP and protects instant messages with Off The Record.

Version 1.0 status is apt because the release quashes numerous nasty flaws. Detailed here, the fixes include client-side blacklists for Tor directory authority keys vulnerable to the headline-grabbing Heartbleed bug that mean Tails 1.0 clients will be protected even if attackers compromised a majority of authority signing and identity keys.

Other fixes include an upgrade to Mozilla Firefox ESR portable version 24.5.0, plus repairs to ensure I2P connections remain safe and to an Open Java Development Kit flaw that allowed execution of arbitrary code.

Tor is a significant irritant to law enforcement authorities: US agencies have labelled it “the King of high secure, low latency Internet Anonymity” and suggested it has no likely heir.

Tails' reliance on Tor means that opinion holds true, but with the new OS now available here, the NSA et al look to have another type of entity to crown or damn. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.