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.

ALSO READ: System76 unveils 'Darter Pro' Linux laptop with choice of Ubuntu or Pop!_OS

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.

Photo Credit: TasfotoNL / Shutterstock

23 Responses to Privacy-focused Linux distro Tails 3.12 now available for download with many critical security bug fixes

  1. Pecan says:

    "countries where there isn't free speech"
    Oooh, I know this one! Left-wing states like China, USA, Canada and the EU because "free speech is hate speech"?
    (Clearly, China isn't nearly as bad as the others because they are deliberately choosing totalitarian stupidity over free speech and democracy, whereas those have never existed in China).

    • That Guy says:

      In china you are not allowed to text or email "winnie the pooh" the name is banned and will be filtered from all your private(!) communications.

      • Pecan says:

        In the Western economies everything you write, say or do publicly - like this post - is censored automatically. It is also all logged and consolidated to build a scary picture of you. The major difference is in the West they pay for it by using that picture to bombard you with advertising and keep you desperate for toys.
        It's easy to see from the outside. The trick is getting out!

      • That Guy says:

        Don't let me slow your exit.

      • Pecan says:

        I left 15 years ago thanks, although it took a few years before the conditioning wore off.
        Consider the famous Fight Club quote, "Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need".
        I'll be living on around £4,000 this year which you'll probably be scared to even consider. On the other hand I'll be sailing yachts. including my own, around the Mediterranean for most of the time and my 'work' will mainly consist of doing exactly that.
        I don't have room on the boats for "shit we don't need". So I don't worry about "chasing cars and clothes" and won't be "working jobs we hate". Like I said, I don't live in your world any more.

        I hope you have a good year. Make sure your TV's big enough and your shirts the right brand or you won't be relevant on social media.

      • John says:

        Maybe Winnie should put some pants on instead of running around with his junk on display.
        I mean, who wears a shirt but no pants. /s

      • Pecan says:

        Girlfriends?

      • John says:

        Indoors is great but this Winnie pervert goes outside without pants.

  2. Thos. Edison says:

    So, now he's promoting an operating system that only has "serious bugs" over one that has "serious bugs".

    • James Kelly says:

      Not as many bugs as what Windows 7 will have in the coming years once support ends.

      • Pecan says:

        *Giggle* El loco thinks bugs grow unless there is constant support!

        Signal from outside the asylum: bugs are introduced with new software releases. Support tries to squash them after the event. 10 will have more bugs introduced - because more new software releases - than 7 will have in the coming years once support ends.

        (Speculation: the rate of support bug-squashing in 10 will be outstripped by the rate of update bug-introduction. 10 will therefore develop more bugs over time).

      • James Kelly says:

        One word - Wannacry.

      • Pecan says:

        *Chortle* Now he says Wannacry was a bug!
        Do you want to have a go at 'exploit'?

      • James Kelly says:

        To the end user, it's the same thing.

      • Pecan says:

        And it got patched all the way back to unsupported XP, didn't it?
        Totally agree Microsoft needn't have done that from either a technical or ethical view.

      • MJ says:

        Yes, that was an exploit but funny how only some networks/PCs were affected. I guess some of us know how to lock down our networks, servers and PCs.

      • TechFan says:

        "El loco thinks bugs grow unless there is constant support!"

        If you really believe that, you can't be in IT.

        There are new bugs discovered all the time, either been their by the developer, or new 3rd party software highlights bugs/issues with the OS it's running on. So minus security issues, if you have a Windows 7 PC, and never update Chrome, or Steam or all the stuff you do on that PC - you might be right/lucky and now see any new bugs. Of course not updating 3rd party programs means you get zero bug fixes of their software (and zero security holes fixed with their software). In short, an OS that is no longer getting support = crap.

      • Pecan says:

        *Discovering* new bugs is not *introducing* new bugs. Those bugs were there already and you just didn't know about them. In short, an OS that is no longer getting support = exactly the same OS as when it last got a bug fix.

      • Fantasm says:

        in truth, the older Os's are less of a target...

      • Tyler says:

        Depends on how many bugs are already there and how many will Microsoft intentionally introduce before support ends.

      • John says:

        Do you have any evidence to show MS will deliberately send bugs to W7 users?

        Do you realize the shitshow that would ensue if MS were caught doing such a thing. The potential cost of the fallout far outweighs the benefits of such a move for MS.

      • Fantasm says:

        Those bugs may or may not happen...
        Just because support ends, does not mean Windows 7 will be any safer or worse than Windows 10....

        Those "bugs" (if any) are there from the beginning or (more likely) introduced by updates to the software. Most people will be able to run Windows 7 just fine for many more years with no problems...

        Windows 10, on the other hand, could develop a new "bug" at each and every software update...

      • James Kelly says:

        Incorrect, we have idiots on these boards who say they will use Windows 7 in perpetuity. I don't see many people still using Windows 95 or 3.1 online, why? - because it's not safe.

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