Tails Linux Operating System: Remaining Anonymous with the Assistance of an Incognito System in Times of High Surveillance

Tails Linux Operating System: Remaining Anonymous with the Assistance of an Incognito System in Times of High Surveillance

Maurice Dawson (University of Missouri-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA) and Jose Antonio Cárdenas-Haro (California State University, Bakersfield, CA, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/IJHIoT.2017010104


After the information released by Edward Snowden, the world realized about the security risks of high surveillance from governments to citizens or among governments, and how it can affect the freedom, democracy, and peace. And organizations such as WikiLeaks has shown just how much data is collected to include the poor security controls in place to protect that information. Research has been carried out for the creation of the necessary tools for the countermeasures to all these surveillance. One of the most potent tools is the Tails system as a complement of The Onion Router (TOR). Even though there are limitations and flaws, the progress has been significant, and we are moving in the right direction. As more individuals and organizations fall under a watchful eye on their Internet activities then maintaining anonymity it not only essential for getting out information but one's safety.
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How It Works

The more people using TOR network, the better. It is easier for a person to be anonymous among many others, it is harder to keep track of someone in a busy unknown and highly tangled network that is frequently changing and mixing up the connections randomly (Edman, Sivrikaya & Yener, 2007). As an analogy, we can say that a chameleon to camouflage effectively needs leaves, branches and trees, the more, the better for the blend. In defeating surveillance, we need to take care of several aspects. Who we talk to and when is just as important as what we said, and to secure these we also need encryption and randomness in the routing as well. The messages from the different anonymous users are shuffled and then sent to the next randomly selected router, shuffled again and so forth until the final destination is reached. So as an observer it is very hard to know which data were coming into the TOR network corresponds to which data coming out of it.

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