Privacy-focused Linux distro Tails 3.12 now available for download with many critical security bug fixes
We are living in a very confusing world these days. Computers and the internet were supposed to be our saviors -- a portal to all the knowledge of the world. While that is still largely true, computers have also eroded our privacy through a slow campaign of conditioning humans to accept more and more encroachment by companies into their lives. Facebook and Google, for instance, have recently stirred up much controversy by spying on users with nefarious apps -- more than usual. Both of those billion dollar companies dangled money in front of its users, enticing these people to hand over full access to their lives. Worst of all, teen children were targeted too.
With all of that said, I can totally understand people being suspicious and cautious of technology. Hell, even Windows 10 is spying on users with its hardcore telemetry. Thankfully, there are ways to access the internet while minimizing attacks on your privacy. One great option is Tails -- a Linux-based operating system that can be run from a flash drive or DVD. It is an invaluable tool to safeguard yourself -- especially for those in countries where there isn't free speech.
Tails is designed to keep your computing activity safe and secure, and it does a fine job. Of course, no operating system is infallible, so even Tails has critical bugs that can undo the privacy benefits. In other words, people with bad intentions can potentially exploit these bugs. This is why it is essential to always run the latest version. For instance, there is a new version of Tails (3.12) available for download, and it contains many critical bug fixes. If you are using a previous version of the OS, you should update your media immediately.
Security fixes are just part of the story, however. Actually, with version 3.12, Tails now handles USB flash drives better, as the installation is based on USB images rather than ISOs. If you want to use a DVD, however, ISO images will still be available. My recommendation is to use DVD+R or -R media instead of flash storage when possible, as these optical disks will be read-only -- superior for protecting your activity.
The Tails developers share the following significant software changes in 3.12.
- Update Linux to 4.19. Update Intel and AMD microcodes and most firmware packages. This should improve the support for newer hardware (graphics, Wi-Fi, etc.)
- Remove Liferea
- Update Tor Browser to 8.0.5
- Update Thunderbird to 60.4.0
If you want to see the full list of security issues in Tails 3.11 that are now fixed in 3.12, you can do so here. To download and install the operating system to DVD or a USB flash drive, you can follow the instructions here. Thankfully, there are detailed guides for Windows, Linux, and macOS.