Going Incognito

by Ostatic Staff - Nov. 17, 2011

The Internet can be a dangerous place. Once it was the scam artists and the damage they wrought that users had to watch. These days it seems it's more governments trying to oppress citizens and so-called respectable companies looking to track and sell your movements that strike fear in the hearts of Penguistas. Perhaps it's time to go Incognito.

Incognito is a Debian-based distribution that provides an anonymous Internet access. Simply boot the live environment and surf in anonymity. Incognito seems to also be known as Tails or The Amnesic Incognito Live System and the latest version, 0.9, was release recently. Tails uses Tor as its primary mechanism for anonymous surfing. In fact, Tails is a subproject of Tor, which may give it more clout than some of the other anonymous systems.

0.9 is based on Debian 6.0.3 and comes with GNOME 2.30.2, Linux 3.0, and several handy applications. One of these is Metadata Anonymisation Toolkit, which strips files from most personalizing data. Metadata is found frequently, for example, in digital pictures. Many phone cameras actually embed a user's physical location in the metadata. So, it'd be a good idea to run these pictures through the MAT before emailing them.

WhisperBack allows Incognito users to send feedback back to Tor without having to reveal any personally identifying information. Vidalia (another Tor subproject) is used to monitor and control Tor's settings and connections. I2P is another anonymizing network one might wish to use.

Tails also comes with some other regular applications. These include Iceweasel 3.5.16. In fact, Iceweasel launches with the desktop and connects automagically to the Tor network. Others include OOo 3.2.1, GIMP, Inkscape, Audacity, Brasero, and Totem. Florence and Orca are also included for accessibility.

Tor isn't terribly difficult to set up on your everyday desktop, but for some booting a live CD is a lot easier. In addition, Tails is perfect for as a take-along as it can used on USB as well as compact disk. Everyone should probably have a copy handy.

Tails Announcement and Download Information