There is a strong anonymity trend in the IT world right now. Now you have to be anonymous even to download a popular music album! Almost any browser nowadays has the “anonymous” button, and Chrome includes a VPN app in its package.
But what can you possible do if you need to conceal all your activity online? Read on.
Apart from numerous proxies, VPN software, and anonymizers, there is the IT “elite”: anonymous Linux distributions. These projects are developed by anonymity enthusiasts and focused on your personal and e-mail privacy, while on the other hand may be considered best operating systems for hacking. They are mainly installed via USB for convenience, which allows you to have both “working” and “anonymous” OS on a single physical storage. Such distributions usually include the TOR browser, I2P anonymous web browsing software, and messaging encryption tools for IM clients.
The top Linux privacy-oriented distributions are anonymous OS: QUBES, TAILS, and JONDO. Let’s talk them in detail.
Qubes operating system
The Qubes OS launches every app in its own separate virtual machine. These apps are divided into classes depending on their importance level, and a separate virtual machine is launched for each class. Your browser works inside one machine, your messenger is another, etc., but the user sees everything on the single desktop, and only border colors reveal different virtual machines. This method of organizing anonymity requires a lot of RAM and a high-performance CPU, but thanks to precise arrangement of system resources across software classes it allows to launch much more machines than on other OS.
This distribution is based on Fedora and Debian Linux, while the user shell is built on top of KDE.
A new version of Qubes OS is coming soon with preconfigured stacks of ready-to-use settings for certain programs that now can be enabled only manually.
TAILS operating system
TAILS OS is known even among housewives because of a wide media coverage about the prominent spy Edward Snowden who used it on his laptop. TAILS (The Amnesic Incognito Live System) is a Debian-based distribution that relies heavily on Tor, so it’s also often called a Tor operating system. The system runs from a flash thumb drive in the live mode giving the user the full toolset for anonymity online and never affects the main system installed on the PC in any way. The distribution also includes the TOR Trails that tunnels all the network connections, the e-mail encryption program, a special chat utility, and a utility to “erase” the RAM on a computer start up. If you just remove the flash thumb which runs the OS, the computer instantly reboots, and the main OS starts. Even the most hardcore anonymity lovers are happy with such behavior. Tails browser and other apps are configured in such a way that no program can address your hard drive and save its data on it. Therefore, after you log out, no data can be restored, for example e-mails. Of course, you can manually save all the data onto an external media. The very first versions of the OS copied the Windows XP design until the version 2.0: many users complained that the design-imitating utility crashed too often. Our blog team also believes that the Windows 7 GUI is less suspicious in 2016. Hence, the TAILS software creators have much work to do.
JonDo operating system
JonDo Live-DVD is another Debian-based, Linux anonymous distribution and a good Tails alternative. JonDo implements technology of anonymous exchange of private information and uses anonymous tools to protect against network connection scanning. This OS uses automatically generated keys to repeatedly encrypt and decrypt all outbound network connections thus giving the user virtually complete protection from tracking. This software is available for all Linux distributions and Windows as well. In Windows, it works as a VPN service.
JonDo is also a live-mode system. Its graphical interface is based on XFCE, while the initial app package includes a special edition of the Firefox browser and the Toolkit utility which protects all documents after you exit the OS. We believe that the major advantage of this build is its low system requirements: it needs just 512 MB of RAM for a smooth work.