Trust is a very problematic issue, and that's the essence of why security is difficult in every field, including computers and Internet communication. Do you trust Tails and its developers? Do you think we have planted backdoors in Tails so we can take control of your computer, or that we make Tails generate compromised encryption keys in order to enable the government to spy on you? Do you simply trust our word that we are legit?

No matter what your opinion is in this matter you should ask yourself how you reached your conclusion. Both trust and distrust need to be established based on facts, not gut feelings, paranoid suspicion, unfounded hearsay, or our word. Of course, we claim to be honest, but written assurances are worthless. In order to make an informed decision you must look at the greater picture of what Tails is comprised of, our affiliations, and possibly how others trust us.

Free software and public scrutiny

Free software, like Tails, enables its users to check exactly what the software distribution consists of and how it functions, since the source code must be made available to all who receive it. Hence a thorough audit of the code can reveal if any malicious code, like a backdoor, is present. Furthermore, with the source code it is possible to build the software, and then compare the result against any version that is already built and being distributed, like the Tails images that you can download from us. That way it can be determined whether the distributed version actually was built with the source code, or if any malicious changes have been made.


Trusting Debian GNU/Linux

Tails 中发行的绝大多数软件都是来自 Debian GNU/Linux distribution|]]。Debian 可以称得上是 Linux 发行版中经受了最深入的公众监督的发行版了。不仅它自己是最大的发行版,它也是最流行的发行版所采用的母发行版。Ubuntu Linux,比如说,就是 Debian 的衍生,更不用说衍生自 Ubuntu 的发行版了,比如 Linux Mint。所以有无数的人在用 Debian 的软件包,和无数的开发者查看那些包的完整性。非常严重的安全问题是会被发现的(比如没人关注的Debian SSH PRNG vulnerability),但后门或其它类型的有意放置的安全漏洞据我们所知从未被发现。

Trusting Tor

Tails 的匿名性基于 Tor,由 The Tor Project 开发。Tor 开发受到很多公共的监督,包括学术上的(关于洋葱路由的攻防的研究)和工程界的(Tor 的代码受到来自几家外部审计,及许多独立开发者因其它理由进行的代码阅读)。同样,安全问题都会被报告,但像后门一样的恶意代码——我们敢说截至目前只有那些没有充分知情的阴谋论者才臆测 Tor 里有后门。再者,Tor 的分布式信任模式让单个实体很难捕获到一个个体的流量并有效识别出个体。

Trusting Tails

One could say that Tails is the union of Debian and Tor. What we do, essentially, is gluing it all together. Hence, if you trust Debian and The Tor Project, what remains to establish trust for Tails is to trust our "glue". As has been mentioned, Tails is Free software, so its source code is completely open for inspection, and it mainly consists of a specification for which Debian software packages to install and how they should be configured. While Tails surely doesn't get the same amount of attention as Debian or Tor, we do have some eyes on us, especially the Tor community, and also some of the general security community (see our audits page). Given that Tails' source code is comparably small and devoid of complexities, we're in a pretty good spot compared to many other projects of similar nature. Our specification and design document is a good starting point to understand how Tails works, by the way.