As many of you noticed, our main server was offline from Friday April 30 19:09 UTC until Monday May 3 05:58 UTC.

This was caused by a hardware failure in one of the many Power Distribution Units on the rack where our main server is hosted. Riseup, also hosted in the same datacenter, suffered from the same hardware failure.

Unfortunately, the outage impacted all Tails users: upgrades were failing and our website was not appearing when starting Tor Browser.

Some of you were afraid that the Tails infrastructure could have gone under an attack of some sort. This does not seem to have been the case. The actual reasons for the power glitch are still being investigated, but all indicates that it was a simple hardware failure. There are no signs of malicious activity whatsoever.

It took us so much time to bring it back online because of a bad configuration of our notification system. Our sysadmins only learned about the outage when coming back to work on Monday.

To avoid such long delay in the future, we will make our notification system more resilient.

Sorry for the inconvenience!

Posted 2021-05-05

Contribute to Tails by testing our beta for Tails 4.19!

We are very excited about it and cannot wait to hear your feedback :)

What's new in 4.19~beta1?

Tails 4.19, scheduled for June 1, will completely change how to connect to the Tor network from Tails. We would like as many people as possible to test this beta version to be able to fix as many problems as possible before we release 4.19 to all users.

Over the years, we have identified many issues in how to connect to the Tor network from Tails, thanks to your feedback. With this beta, we are trying to solve the most important and pressing of these issues:

  • The lack of feeback while connecting to the Tor network.

  • The option to use Tor bridges has to be turned on in the Welcome Screen and cannot be changed afterwards.

  • The lack of default Tor bridges.

  • The previous configuration screen for Tor bridges wasn't accessible to people who use the screen reader.

  • The lack of guidance when Tails is not connected to a local network yet.

Download Tails 4.19~beta1

Tails 4.19~beta1 has not been tested at all, as we usually do for new versions of Tails. Only use Tails 4.19~beta1 for testing!

Download and install Tails 4.19~beta1 as usually.

All the data on this USB stick will be lost. Don't install Tails 4.19~beta1 on any USB stick that already has a Persistent Storage.

Direct download

BitTorrent download

What to test in Tails 4.19~beta1?

We know that Tails 4.19~beta11 still has many rough edges. But we still need your help to identify as many new problems as possible!

We're particularly interested in you testing diverse and rare network configurations:

  • When connecting to Tor without bridges fails.

  • When Tails is not connected to a local network yet.

  • When disconnecting from a Wi-Fi network with Internet connectivity and then reconnecting to a different Wi-Fi network without Internet connectivity.

  • When disconnecting from Wi-Fi network that don't require Tor bridges and the reconnecting to different Wi-Fi network that requires Tor bridges.

  • When connecting to a Tor bridge that works at first but then stops working.

  • When connecting to the Internet using a proxy.

Tell us if anything is unclear, confusing, or not working as you would expect.

Please, send your feedback to tails-testers@boum.org (public mailing list).

If you are comfortable with the command line, check our hacking tips. They contain firewall rules that can be used to block access to the Tor network without bridges or simulate a broken bridge.

What's coming next?

Tails 4.19 will be the first release of a series of improvements to connect to Tor. Next, we will work on:

  • Saving Tor bridges to the Persistent Storage (#5461)
  • Detecting better when the computer has no supported Wi-Fi hardware (#14534)
  • Detecting captive portals (#5785)
  • Helping people fixing their clock when failing to connect to obfs4 bridges (#15548)

The learn more about our plans, read our blueprint on network connection.

Happy testing!

Posted 2021-04-27 Tags:

This release fixes known security vulnerabilities. You should upgrade as soon as possible.

Changes and updates

  • Remove "Synchronizing the system's clock" notification when connecting to Tor network

    We removed this notification because it didn't recommend a specific action for users to take and it was unclear. It might have given users the impression that they should alter their UTC clock settings. (#7439)

  • Remove Poedit

    We now use Weblate to provide translated text for Tails and the Tails website, so Poedit isn't as necessary. To install Poedit in Tails, see our guide on Additional Software (#18236)

  • Update Tor Browser to 10.0.16.

  • Update Thunderbird to 78.9.0-1.

  • Update some Intel and Linux firmware packages. This should improve support for newer hardware (graphics, Wi-Fi, and so on).

Fixed problems

  • Use more reliable Debian repositories

    Tails now connects to the APT repositories of Debian using their HTTPS address instead of their .onion address, for increased reliability with the Additional Software feature. We left other Tails and Tor Project APT onion sources as is. (#17993)

  • Display an error message when the Upgrader fails to download the signing key. This has been a silent error since 4.14. (#18238)

For more details, read our changelog.

Known issues

  • Automatic upgrades are broken from Tails 4.14 and earlier.

    To upgrade from Tails 4.14 or earlier, you can either:

    • Do a manual upgrade.

    • Fix the automatic upgrade from a terminal. To do so:

      1. Start Tails and set up an administration password.

      2. In a terminal, execute the following command:

        torsocks curl --silent https://gitlab.tails.boum.org/tails/tails/-/raw/master/config/chroot_local-includes/usr/share/tails/certs/lets-encrypt-r3.pem \
        | sudo tee --append /usr/local/etc/ssl/certs/tails.boum.org-CA.pem \
        && systemctl --user restart tails-upgrade-frontend
        

        This command is a single command that wraps across several lines. Copy and paste the entire block at once and make sure that it executes as a single command.

      3. Approximately 30 seconds later, you should be prompted to upgrade to the latest version of Tails. If no prompt appears, you might already be running the latest version of Tails.

See the list of long-standing issues.

Get Tails 4.18

To upgrade your Tails USB stick and keep your persistent storage

  • Automatic upgrades are broken from Tails 4.14 and earlier. See the known issue above.

  • Automatic upgrades are available from Tails 4.14 or later to 4.18.

  • If you cannot do an automatic upgrade or if Tails fails to start after an automatic upgrade, please try to do a manual upgrade.

To install Tails on a new USB stick

Follow our installation instructions:

The Persistent Storage on the USB stick will be lost if you install instead of upgrading.

To download only

If you don't need installation or upgrade instructions, you can download Tails 4.18 directly:

What's coming up?

Tails 4.19 is scheduled for June 1.

Have a look at our roadmap to see where we are heading to.

We need your help and there are many ways to contribute to Tails (donating is only one of them). Come talk to us!

Posted 2021-04-20 Tags:

This release fixes known security vulnerabilities. You should upgrade as soon as possible.

Reliability improvements to automatic upgrades

  • Repair automatically the file system used during upgrades.

    Automatic upgrades were sometimes failing even after doing a manual upgrade because of an unclean file system. (#17902)

  • Resume automatically when the download of an upgrade fails.

Other changes and updates

  • Update Tor Browser to 10.0.14.

  • Update Thunderbird to 78.8.0.

  • Update Tor to 0.4.5.7.

  • Update GRUB to 2.04-16.

  • Update some firmware packages. This should improve the support for some Wi-Fi interfaces, especially Intel, Broadcom, and Cypress interfaces.

Fixed problems

  • Improve the error message when starting the Unsafe Browser while offline. (#12251)

    New error message: You are not connected to a local network yet.

For more details, read our changelog.

Known issues

  • Automatic upgrades are broken from Tails 4.14 and earlier.

    To upgrade from Tails 4.14 or earlier, you can either:

    • Do a manual upgrade.

    • Fix the automatic upgrade from a terminal. To do so:

      1. Start Tails and set up an administration password.

      2. In a terminal, execute the following command:

        torsocks curl --silent https://gitlab.tails.boum.org/tails/tails/-/raw/master/config/chroot_local-includes/usr/share/tails/certs/lets-encrypt-r3.pem \
        | sudo tee --append /usr/local/etc/ssl/certs/tails.boum.org-CA.pem \
        && systemctl --user restart tails-upgrade-frontend
        

        This command is a single command that wraps across several lines. Copy and paste the entire block at once and make sure that it executes as a single command.

      3. Approximately 30 seconds later, you should be prompted to upgrade to the latest version of Tails. If no prompt appears, you might already be running the latest version of Tails.

See the list of long-standing issues.

Get Tails 4.17

To upgrade your Tails USB stick and keep your persistent storage

  • Automatic upgrades are broken from Tails 4.14 and earlier. See the known issue above.

  • Automatic upgrades are available from Tails 4.14 or later to 4.17.

  • If you cannot do an automatic upgrade or if Tails fails to start after an automatic upgrade, please try to do a manual upgrade.

To install Tails on a new USB stick

Follow our installation instructions:

The Persistent Storage on the USB stick will be lost if you install instead of upgrading.

To download only

If you don't need installation or upgrade instructions, you can download Tails 4.17 directly:

What's coming up?

Tails 4.18 is scheduled for April 20.

Have a look at our roadmap to see where we are heading to.

We need your help and there are many ways to contribute to Tails (donating is only one of them). Come talk to us!

Posted 2021-03-23 Tags:

Thank you so much, on behalf of our entire team, to everyone who donated during our end-of-year campaign!

We raised $132 750 from 2 799 donors. That's an amazing 40% more than last year and 30% of our yearly budget. These excellent numbers mean more sustainability for Tails and ultimately better tools for you and all our users.

Here is what we did since October with your help:

  • From the number of automatic upgrades, we know that Tails was used 20% more in 2020 than in 2019. It's our biggest increase since 2016.

  • We designed and tested usability improvements to the Persistent Storage and the connection to Tor.

    We know from previous surveys and usability research that these are 2 critical aspects to improve the usability of Tails, especially for less technical users and people experiencing heavy online censorship, for example in Asia.

    Your donations will help us implement as many of these improvements as possible during 2021. You can already have a look at the new designs in our blueprints on the Persistent Storage and the connection to Tor.

    We always test the usability of major features with users before releasing them. It was particularly exciting this time because we tested our design remotely using paper prototyping with people in Greece, Mexico, Italy, Uganda, Germany, Ireland, and Malaysia!

  • We simplified the verification procedure on our download page by replacing the Tails Verification extension with similar JavaScript code that runs directly on the download page.

    This simple usability improvement had a huge impact and 60% more downloads are verified and secure now than with the verification extension.

  • We automated the most time-consuming parts of our release process.

    We estimate that we divided roughly by 2 the amount of time, work, and stress needed for us to publish a new version of Tails.

    For you, this means a quicker response time in case of important security vulnerability and more time available for us to work on new features and improvements.

  • We hired a new core developer, boyska.

    boyska has very strong experience in the technical aspects of operating systems and software development, and also in the social implications of technology, Free Software, and privacy.

    boyska will be key to bringing more improvements to Tails more quickly.

Thanks again for supporting Tails!

Posted 2021-03-09 Tags:

Releases

Tails 4.16 was released on February 22.

Tails 4.17 is scheduled for March 23.

Code

  • We started the redesign network connection configuration:
    • Usability testing of paper prototypes for the network connection configuration.
    • Display Tor Launcher to all users by default (#17330).
    • Write a replacement of Tor Launcher (#17215).
  • We are rewriting the Persistent Storage settings in Python (#17803).
  • We improved Help Desk standard replies (#18070).

Documentation and website

User experience

Big redesigns

Hot topics on our help desk

Funding

We have finished analyzing last year's donation campaign results, thanks to everybody that contributed to the development of Tails.

If you missed the end of the year donation campaign, do not worry, you can still donate to sustain our work!

On-going discussions

Translations

All the website

  • de: 26% (1862) strings translated, 14% strings fuzzy
  • es: 52% (3648) strings translated, 4% strings fuzzy
  • fa: 19% (1377) strings translated, 12% strings fuzzy
  • fr: 79% (5518) strings translated, 6% strings fuzzy
  • it: 31% (2187) strings translated, 8% strings fuzzy
  • pt: 18% (1285) strings translated, 9% strings fuzzy

Core pages of the website

  • de: 44% (939) strings translated, 23% strings fuzzy
  • es: 90% (1900) strings translated, 4% strings fuzzy
  • fa: 19% (417) strings translated, 15% strings fuzzy
  • fr: 81% (1711) strings translated, 8% strings fuzzy
  • it: 60% (1262) strings translated, 17% strings fuzzy
  • pt: 39% (829) strings translated, 14% strings fuzzy

Core pages of the website for languages not activated on the website yet

  • ar: 7% (162) strings translated, 8% strings fuzzy
  • ca: 7% (163) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy
  • id: 6% (133) strings translated, 4% strings fuzzy
  • pl: 7% (165) strings translated, 6% strings fuzzy
  • ru: 8% (177) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy
  • sr_Latn: 5% (109) strings translated, 4% strings fuzzy
  • tr: 8% (174) strings translated, 6% strings fuzzy
  • zh: 11% (234) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy
  • zh_TW: 22% (464) strings translated, 13% strings fuzzy
Posted 2021-03-09

Changes and updates

  • Update Tor Browser to 10.0.12.

  • Update Thunderbird to 78.7.0.

  • Update Linux to 5.10.13. This should improve the support for newer hardware (graphics, Wi-Fi, and so on).

  • Update Tor to 0.4.5.5.

Fixed problems

  • Stop focusing on the Cancel button by default when downloading an upgrade to prevent canceling the download by mistake. (#18072)

For more details, read our changelog.

Known issues

  • Automatic upgrades are broken from Tails 4.14 and earlier.

    To upgrade from Tails 4.14 or earlier, you can either:

    • Do a manual upgrade.

    • Fix the automatic upgrade from a terminal. To do so:

      1. Start Tails and set up an administration password.

      2. In a terminal, execute the following command:

        torsocks curl --silent https://gitlab.tails.boum.org/tails/tails/-/raw/master/config/chroot_local-includes/usr/share/tails/certs/lets-encrypt-r3.pem \
        | sudo tee --append /usr/local/etc/ssl/certs/tails.boum.org-CA.pem \
        && systemctl --user restart tails-upgrade-frontend
        

        This command is a single command that wraps across several lines. Copy and paste the entire block at once and make sure that it executes as a single command.

      3. Approximately 30 seconds later, you should be prompted to upgrade to the latest version of Tails. If no prompt appears, you might already be running the latest version of Tails.

See the list of long-standing issues.

Get Tails 4.16

To upgrade your Tails USB stick and keep your persistent storage

  • Automatic upgrades are broken from Tails 4.14 and earlier. See the known issue above.

  • Automatic upgrades are available from Tails 4.15 or later to 4.16.

  • If you cannot do an automatic upgrade or if Tails fails to start after an automatic upgrade, please try to do a manual upgrade.

To install Tails on a new USB stick

Follow our installation instructions:

The Persistent Storage on the USB stick will be lost if you install instead of upgrading.

To download only

If you don't need installation or upgrade instructions, you can download Tails 4.16 directly:

What's coming up?

Tails 4.17 is scheduled for March 23.

Have a look at our roadmap to see where we are heading to.

We need your help and there are many ways to contribute to Tails (donating is only one of them). Come talk to us!

Posted 2021-02-22 Tags:

This month we have published our plans for 2021, make sure to check them if you are interested on the next steps for Tails.

This is the first time ever that there's more than a million Tails boots in a single month! How do we know this?

Releases

Tails 4.15 was released on January 26:

  • Fix support for the Ledger hardware wallets in Electrum. (#18080)
  • Fix sharing mobile data, also called USB tethering, on iOS 14 or later. (#18097)
  • Clarify the error message when starting from a USB stick that is too small. (#18073)

Tails 4.15.1 was released on January 28 (emergency release):

This emergency release fixed a major security vulnerability in sudo, CVE-2021-3156, that allowed normal users to gain root privileges.

Tails 4.16 is scheduled for February 23.

Code

  • #18123: We started implementing changes to make the onion-grater more robust. Onion-grater is a tor controller filter that makes it possible for us to write fine-grained rules about what a particular application can do with tor. The controller allows changing almost everything about how tor runs, so we need to be careful about letting applications access it. For the curious: the solution involves network namespaces.

  • This work is also leading to fix other issues, because until now onion-grater was unable to handle lost connections to the tor controller, as in #11535 where tor bridge mode fails when using Unsafe Browser to get bridges, or #16993 where the circuit view is broken on the Tor Browser after reconnecting to the tor network.

  • We started work to fix the keyboard selection that is broken with some languages.

Documentation and website

User experience

We have been doing usability testing for our future work on rewriting the Persistent Storage into Python.

Hot topics on our help desk

  1. Users still have problems importing GPG keys.

  2. Users have reported some problems doing backups. We are happy that more users are doing backups, although we are not sure still of what is happening. See here for more information, and please comment if you had problems while doing backups as well.

  3. Some users get a weird 'initramfs no system found' error, and cannot boot with USB sticks configured as fixed disks. We thought this was not a common problem anymore, but apparently this is still happening with many USB sticks. Hopefully our new documentation about starting Tails from an external hard disk will help them.

Outreach

  • We have been talking about outsourcing Tails merchandising as we are not doing any merchandising lately because of the effort, but many users would like to support Tails in this way. More information at #18141.

On-going discussions

Translations

We have advanced on the integration of the website with the translation platform. Now the staging website gets built daily, with suggestions that will break the build being skipped, and we also have automated tests that help us spot when the translations break the website.

All the website

  • de: 27% (1864) strings translated, 14% strings fuzzy
  • es: 52% (3569) strings translated, 5% strings fuzzy
  • fa: 20% (1377) strings translated, 12% strings fuzzy
  • fr: 79% (5400) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy
  • it: 31% (2167) strings translated, 8% strings fuzzy
  • pt: 18% (1286) strings translated, 9% strings fuzzy

Core pages of the website

  • de: 45% (942) strings translated, 23% strings fuzzy
  • es: 89% (1880) strings translated, 4% strings fuzzy
  • fa: 19% (417) strings translated, 15% strings fuzzy
  • fr: 79% (1668) strings translated, 9% strings fuzzy
  • it: 59% (1242) strings translated, 18% strings fuzzy
  • pt: 39% (831) strings translated, 14% strings fuzzy

Core pages of the website for languages not activated on the website yet

  • ar: 7% (164) strings translated, 8% strings fuzzy
  • ca: 7% (165) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy
  • id: 6% (135) strings translated, 4% strings fuzzy
  • pl: 7% (167) strings translated, 6% strings fuzzy
  • ru: 8% (179) strings translated, 6% strings fuzzy
  • sr_Latn: 5% (111) strings translated, 4% strings fuzzy
  • tr: 8% (176) strings translated, 6% strings fuzzy
  • zh: 11% (236) strings translated, 7% strings fuzzy
  • zh_TW: 22% (466) strings translated, 13% strings fuzzy

Metrics

  • Tails has been started more than 1,006,718 times this month. This makes 32,400 boots a day on average.

This is the first time ever that there's more than a million Tails boots in a single month.

How do we know this?

Posted 2021-02-10

This release is an emergency release to fix a security vulnerability in sudo.

You should upgrade as soon as possible.

Changes and updates

Included software

  • Update sudo to 1.8.27-1+deb10u3, which fixes CVE-2021-3156, a major vulnerability that allows normal users to gain root privileges.

Known issues

  • Automatic upgrades are broken from Tails 4.14 and earlier.

    To upgrade from Tails 4.14 or earlier, you can either:

    • Do a manual upgrade.

    • Fix the automatic upgrade from a terminal. To do so:

      1. Start Tails and set up an administration password.

      2. In a terminal, execute the following command:

        torsocks curl --silent https://gitlab.tails.boum.org/tails/tails/-/raw/master/config/chroot_local-includes/usr/share/tails/certs/lets-encrypt-r3.pem \
        | sudo tee --append /usr/local/etc/ssl/certs/tails.boum.org-CA.pem \
        && systemctl --user restart tails-upgrade-frontend
        

        This command is a single command that wraps across several lines. Copy and paste the entire block at once and make sure that it executes as a single command.

      3. Approximately 30 seconds later, you should be prompted to upgrade to the latest version of Tails. If no prompt appears, you might already be running the latest version of Tails.

See the list of long-standing issues.

Get Tails 4.15.1

To upgrade your Tails USB stick and keep your persistent storage

  • Automatic upgrades are broken from Tails 4.14 and earlier. See the known issue above.

  • Automatic upgrades are available from Tails 4.15 to 4.15.1.

  • If you cannot do an automatic upgrade or if Tails fails to start after an automatic upgrade, please try to do a manual upgrade.

To install Tails on a new USB stick

Follow our installation instructions:

The Persistent Storage on the USB stick will be lost if you install instead of upgrading.

To download only

If you don't need installation or upgrade instructions, you can download Tails 4.15.1 directly:

What's coming up?

Tails 4.16 is scheduled for February 23.

Have a look at our roadmap to see where we are heading to.

We need your help and there are many ways to contribute to Tails (donating is only one of them). Come talk to us!

Posted 2021-01-28 Tags:

This release fixes known security vulnerabilities. You should upgrade as soon as possible.

New features

  • Add a Don't Show Again button to the security notification when starting Tails in a virtual machine.

Changes and updates

  • Update Tor Browser to 10.0.9.

  • Update Thunderbird to 78.6.0.

  • Update Linux to 5.9.15. This should improve the support for newer hardware (graphics, Wi-Fi, etc.).

Fixed problems

  • Fix support for the Ledger hardware wallets in Electrum. (#18080)

  • Fix sharing mobile data, also called USB tethering, on iOS 14 or later. (#18097)

  • Clarify the error message when starting from a USB stick that is too small. (#18073)

For more details, read our changelog.

Known issues

  • Automatic upgrades are broken from Tails 4.14 and earlier.

    To upgrade from Tails 4.14 or earlier, you can either:

    • Do a manual upgrade.

    • Fix the automatic upgrade from a terminal. To do so:

      1. Start Tails and set up an administration password.

      2. In a terminal, execute the following command:

        torsocks curl --silent https://gitlab.tails.boum.org/tails/tails/-/raw/master/config/chroot_local-includes/usr/share/tails/certs/lets-encrypt-r3.pem \
        | sudo tee --append /usr/local/etc/ssl/certs/tails.boum.org-CA.pem \
        && systemctl --user restart tails-upgrade-frontend
        

        This command is a single command that wraps across several lines. Copy and paste the entire block at once and make sure that it executes as a single command.

      3. Approximately 30 seconds later, you should be prompted to upgrade to the latest version of Tails. If no prompt appears, you might already be running the latest version of Tails.

See the list of long-standing issues.

Get Tails 4.15

To upgrade your Tails USB stick and keep your persistent storage

  • Automatic upgrades are broken from Tails 4.14 and earlier. See the known issue above.

  • If you cannot do an automatic upgrade or if Tails fails to start after an automatic upgrade, please try to do a manual upgrade.

To install Tails on a new USB stick

Follow our installation instructions:

The Persistent Storage on the USB stick will be lost if you install instead of upgrading.

To download only

If you don't need installation or upgrade instructions, you can download Tails 4.15 directly:

What's coming up?

Tails 4.16 is scheduled for February 23.

Have a look at our roadmap to see where we are heading to.

We need your help and there are many ways to contribute to Tails (donating is only one of them). Come talk to us!

Posted 2021-01-26 Tags: