> **amnesia**, *noun*:<br/>
> forgetfulness; loss of long-term memory.
> **incognito**, *adjective & adverb*:<br/>
> (of a person) having one's true identity concealed.
Tails is a live system that aims to preserve your privacy and anonymity. It
helps you to use the Internet anonymously and circumvent censorship almost anywhere you go and on any
computer but leaving no trace unless you ask it to explicitly.
It is a complete operating system designed to be used from a USB stick or a DVD
independently of the computer's original operating system. It is [[Free
Software|doc/about/license]] and based on [[Debian GNU/Linux|https://www.debian.org/]].
Tails comes with several built-in applications pre-configured with security in
mind: web browser, instant messaging client, email client, office suite, image
and sound editor, etc.
Online anonymity and censorship circumvention
Tails relies on the Tor anonymity network to protect your privacy
- all software is configured to connect to the Internet through Tor
- if an application tries to connect to the Internet directly, the
connection is automatically blocked for security.
Tor is an open and distributed network that helps defend
against traffic analysis, a form of
network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential
business activities and relationships, and state security.
Tor protects you by bouncing your communications around a network of
relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching
your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, and it prevents the
sites you visit from learning your physical location.
Using Tor you can:
- be anonymous online by hiding your location,
- connect to services that would be censored otherwise;
- resist attacks that block the usage of Tor using circumvention tools
such as [[bridges|doc/first_steps/startup_options/bridge_mode]].
To learn more about Tor, see the official [Tor
website](https://www.torproject.org/), particularly the following pages:
- [Tor overview: Why we need
- [Tor overview: How does Tor
- [Who uses Tor?](https://www.torproject.org/about/torusers.html.en)
- [Understanding and Using Tor — An Introduction for the
To learn more about how Tails ensures all its network connections use Tor,
see our [[design document|contribute/design/Tor_enforcement]].
Use anywhere but leave no trace
Using Tails on a computer doesn't alter or depend on the operating system
installed on it. So you can use it in the same way on your computer, a
friend's computer, or one at your local library. After shutting down Tails,
the computer will start again with its usual operating system.
Tails is configured with special care to not use the computer's hard-disks,
even if there is some swap space on them. The only storage space used by Tails is
in RAM, which is automatically erased when the computer shuts down. So
you won't leave any trace on the computer either of the Tails system itself or
what you used it for. That's why we call Tails "amnesic".
This allows you to work with sensitive documents on any computer and protects you
from data recovery after shutdown. Of course, you can still explicitly save
specific documents to another USB stick or external hard-disk and take them away for
State-of-the-art cryptographic tools
Tails also comes with a selection of tools to protect your data using strong
- [[Encrypt your USB sticks or external
hard-disks|doc/encryption_and_privacy/encrypted_volumes]] using <span
class="definition">[[!wikipedia Linux_Unified_Key_Setup desc="LUKS"]]</span>,
the Linux standard for disk-encryption.
- Automatically use HTTPS to encrypt all your communications to a number of
major websites using [HTTPS
Everywhere](https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere), a Firefox extension
developed by the [Electronic Frontier Foundation](https://www.eff.org).
- Encrypt and sign your emails and documents using the *de facto* standard
<span class="definition">[[!wikipedia Pretty_Good_Privacy#OpenPGP desc="OpenPGP"]]</span>
either from Tails email client, text editor or file browser.
- Protect your instant messaging conversations using <span
desc="OTR"]]</span>, a cryptographic tool that provides encryption,
authentication and deniability.
- [[Securely delete your files|doc/encryption_and_privacy/secure_deletion]]
and clean your diskspace using [[Nautilus
[[Read more about those tools in the documentation.|doc/encryption_and_privacy]]
To continue discovering Tails, you can now read:
- the [[warning page|doc/about/warning]] to better understand the security limitations of Tails and Tor,
- more details about the [[features and software|doc/about/features]] included in Tails,
- our [[installation instructions|install]] to download and install Tails,
- our [[documentation|doc]] explaining in detail how to use Tails,
- some hints on why [[you should trust Tails|doc/about/trust]],
- our [[design document|contribute/design]] laying out Tails specification, threat model and implementation,
- the [[calendar|contribute/calendar]] that holds our release dates, meetings and other events.
Press and media
See [[Press and media information|press]].
Read our [[Social Contract|contribute/working_together/social_contract]].
Acknowledgments and similar projects
See [[Acknowledgments and similar projects|doc/about/acknowledgments_and_similar_projects]].
See the [[contact page|about/contact]].