Tails 4.8 Anonymous OS Released with Linux Kernel 5.6, Improved Security

Tails 4.8

Tails 4.8 amnesic incognito live distribution has been released today and it looks to be a significant release that adds new security features and major under-the-hood upgrades.

First and foremost, Tails 4.8 ships with the Linux 5.6 kernel series, which should add a new layer of hardware support, especially when running Tails on computers with newer components like Wi-Fi or graphics.

Starting with this release, Tails no longer enables the Unsafe Browser by default, which could be used by attackers to deanonymize you due to a security vulnerability in another application.

“For example, an attacker could exploit a security vulnerability in Thunderbird by sending you a phishing email that could start an invisible Unsafe Browser and reveal them your IP address,” explain the Tails developers.

According to the Tails developers, it’s unlikely that this type of attack will occur when running Tails, but it can be performed by a hacking firm or a government entity of they want to deanonymize you.

Therefore, when clicking the Unsafe Browser entry in the Applications menu, you will now see a warning that it’s disabled. To enable it, you’ll have to restart Tails and enable it from the Welcome Screen, and use it only to log in to a captive portal.

Talking about the Welcome Screen, Tails 4.8 introduces a new feature of the Persistent Storage that lets you save its settings. However, it’s a beta feature and it currently only lets you enable the Unsafe Browser. The other settings will become active in the next release, Tails 4.9, due in late July.

As far as the updated applications goes, this release ships with the Tor Browser 9.5.1 anonymous web browser and Mozilla Thunderbird 68.9.0 email and news client, which now comes with a working Find in page feature.

Last but not least, Tails 4.8 improves the import of OpenPGP public keys in binary format from the file manager, fixes an issue that could shut down your laptop when resuming from suspend if the Tails USB stick was removed, and always notifies users when MAC address spoofing fails and the network interface is disabled.

You can download Tails 4.8 right now from the official website. Existing users will be able to upgrade their installations from Tails 4.2 or later using the automatic upgrades. Tails 4.9 is currently scheduled for July 28th, 2020.

Last updated 4 years ago

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