Tails 0.9 Released

by phobos | November 16, 2011

The latest version of the anonymous operating system Tails is now available.

Notable user-visible changes include:

## Tor
- Upgrade to This fixes CVE-2011-2768 and CVE-2011-2769 which prompted for manual updates for users of Tails 0.8.1.
- Suppress Tor's warning about applications doing their own DNS lookups. Some users have reported concerns about these warnings, but it should be noted that they are completely harmless inside Tails as its system DNS resolver is Torified.

- Linux 3.0.0-6, which fixed a great number of bugs and security issues.

## Iceweasel
- Upgrade to 3.5.16-11 ((fixes CVE-2011-3647, CVE-2011-3648, CVE-2011-3650).
- Torbutton: upgrade to, including support for the in-browser "New identity" feature.
- FireGPG: upgrade to 0.8-1+tails2. Users are notified that the FireGPG Text Editor is the only safe place for performing cryptographic operations, and these operations has been disabled in other places. Performing them outside of the editor opens up several severe attacks through JavaScript (e.g. leaking plaintext when decrypting, signing messages written by the attacker).
- Replace CS Lite with Cookie Monster for cookie management. Cookie Monster has an arguably nicer interface, is being actively maintained and is packaged in Debian.

## Software
- Install MAT, the Metadata Anonymisation Toolkit. Its goal is to remove file metadata which otherwise could leak information about you in the documents and media files you publish. This is the result of a Tails developer's suggestion for GSoC 2011, although it ended up being mentored by The Tor Project.
- Upgrade WhisperBack to 1.5~rc1. Users are guided how to send their bug reports through alternative channels upon errors sending them. This will make bug reporting easier when there's no network connection available.
- Upgrade TrueCrypt to 7.1.

## Miscellaneous
- The date and time setting system was completely reworked. This should prevent time syncing issues that may prevent Tor from working properly, which some users have reported. The new system will not leave a fingerprintable network signature, like the old system did. Previously that signature could be used to identify who is using Tails (but not deanonymize them).
- Erase memory at shutdown: run many instances of the memory wiper. Due to architectural limitations of i386 a process cannot access all memory at the same time, and hence a single memory wipe instance cannot clear all memory.
- Saner keyboard layouts for Arabic and Russian.
- Use Plymouth text-only splash screen at boot time.

Plus the usual bunch of minor bug reports and improvements. The full technical changelog is available.

The full version of this release is available at http://tails.boum.org/news/version_0.9/.

Download from here, http://tails.boum.org/download/index.en.html


Please note that the comment area below has been archived.

November 16, 2011


Why is it that the Tor Bundle is being updated with important security fixes every week now? Why is is that the versions seem to be getting worse?

"seem" is the keyword.

More frequent security updates is better than no or infrequent updates but still vulnerable software.

In a perfect world software had no bugs and we wouldn't need to patch. Aurora (i.e always the latest) is with absolute certainty the most secure version of Firefox yet.

If there's something to complain about, it's that Firefox is still based on a security model of the 90s (Netscape) compared to a modern browser (Chrome, IE, Safari). We need Electrolysis and privilege separation.

Nonetheless TBB is getting better and more secure all the time, not worse.

"Aurora (i.e always the latest) is with absolute certainty the most secure version of Firefox yet."
Are you also claiming that that the "latest version of Firefox" is by definition " the most secure version of Firefox yet."? If so, do you have any facts to support that contention? Frankly I am very skeptical of that proposition. Don't forget, the decision that was made to issue a new major version of Firefox every month or so was (by the admission of the FF team themselves at the time) driven by competitive marketing considerations, not security concerns. While it is certainly imperative to address known vulnerabilities in a timely manner, I can tell you from professional experience that externally-imposed, artificial release deadlines tend to introduce at least as many bugs (some of which are statistically certain to negatively impact security) as bug fixes. In a broad context, stability is the friend of security, not its enemy. I don't disagree with your assessment that the aged Netscape base of FF should be cause for concern, but the version churn that has been the response of the FF team to the success of Chrome (et al) is imo not the solution. Effectively managing FF security requires "hands-on" management of FF extensions. The FF version churn has made that task difficult and time-consuming for me. I have taken to using the SeaMonkey build instead of FF as my everyday (non-Tor) browser just for stability reasons.

November 16, 2011


hello guys at tor project. How come that the tor browser bundle firefox comes with "Tell Websites I do not want to be tracked" DISABLED?... and how come "Private Browsing Mode" is NOT enabled on default?

November 16, 2011


1.) Did you deliberately not give the httpS (SSL) URL for tails.boum.org?

If so, did you do so in order to spare the vast majority of users the "untrusted connection" they would see, owing to the boum.org domain's use of a non-mainstream CA?

2.) Is 3.5.16-11 the latest version of IceWeasel?

If so, why is is the version number so far behind Firefox?

1. Yes. Last time I linked to a site using CA Cert, everyone got all up in arms about it. I don't use CAs, so they all look the same to me.

2. IceWeasel is based on Firefox source code. 3.5.16xx means they are using the 3.5.16 branch of Firefox. Ask the tails people why they use this particular version, when Iceweasel is up to 7.x already.

November 29, 2011

In reply to phobos


Thank you for replying.

It would seem to me that announcing the new TAILS releases here on the official Tor Project blog essentially amounts to endorsing said TAILS releases.

As such, it would follow that one could reasonably assume that the Tor team was familiar with the TAILS product and believed in it.

The comment,

"Ask the tails people why they use this particular version, when Iceweasel is up to 7.x already.",

seems to suggest otherwise, however.

endorsement of tails and telling them what to do are two very different things. We don't control the tails project but we do encourage them to do smart things.


I think Tails is based on Debian stable. The debian guys focus on stability above everything else. That includes security. You'll find eol software in the repo that is so hopelessly out of date that not even they care to backport fixes.

This old version of Firefox is a very good reason not to use Tails, at least in a default configuration. You should always use the latest "stable" (but as defined by upstream!) version of high risk software.

I wonder just how much of a risk such unpatched vulnerabilities actually pose for a live, _amnesic_ model such as TAILS?

Likewise, with regard to banking from a live CD, etc.

November 16, 2011



I use this blog comment form as a short cut to inform you
that I just have been presented with a forged SSL certificate for
ssl.scroogle.org through the following Tor nodes chain:

fsdlnet (Online)
Location: Greece
IP Address:
Platform: Tor (r318f470bc5f2ad43) on Linux i686
Bandwidth: 2.00 MB/s
Uptime: 1 days 4 hours xx mins xx secs
Last Updated: 2011-11-16 10:31:58 GMT

Ziggi (Online)
Location: Poland
IP Address:
Platform: Tor (git-c4eae752f0d157ce) on Windows 7 Service Pack 1 [workstation]
Bandwidth: 260.71 KB/s
Uptime: 1 days 8 hours xx mins xx secs
Last Updated: 2011-11-16 10:33:25 GMT

100mbitTOR (Online)
Location: Ukraine
IP Address:
Platform: Tor (git-c4eae752f0d157ce) on Linux x86_64
Bandwidth: 6.78 MB/s
Uptime: 1 hours xx mins xx secs
Last Updated: 2011-11-16 16:45:43 GMT

(xx == my privacy changes)


Issued To
Common Name (CN) ssl.scroogle.org
Organization (O) ssl.scroogle.org
Organization Unit (OU) Domain Control Validated
Serial number 00:85:6E:58:29

Issued By
Common Name (CN) *
Organization (O) Security
Organization Unit (OU) Secure Unit

Issued on: 2011-11-16
Expires on: 2012-11-15

SHA1 44:19:FC:FC:5C:3C:48:F8:44:93:9B:19:2A:97:32:67:A8:B0:2F:66

I had used Scroogle before in the same browser session which
made the new request to accept the certificate suspicious.

Just before that there was also a prompt to accept a
certificate for secure.wikimedia.org while loading the site
which I just accepted without paying attention.
After noticing the forged Scroogle certificate it struck me that
the secure.wikimedia.org prompt was also out of the ordinary
because I used the site before in that browser session.

UTC 2011-11-16 19:26

November 16, 2011


Torbutton is now wiping all cookies, *always*, on tor state toggle. This makes it unusable - despite being pretty much vital for tor.

November 18, 2011

In reply to phobos


What happened to the "green onion" icon in the URL bar in *TBB*?

I no longer have it. Did you remove it? (and, if so, why)

Or is something amiss on my end?

(Using GNU/Linux version of TBB- latest)

November 18, 2011


I may be just retarded but for some reason on I cannot access the internet through Iceweasel in the new update. I had no problems in the previous versions but for some reason I can connect to my wireless server, but to the internet when TOR is enabled.

November 19, 2011


I have a suggestion for the programmers of Tor... You guys should have a few "code" auditors, who audit the entire code of Tor, Tor Bundle, Aurora No Script, Tor Network protocol, everything Tor related. To check for backdoors and other malignancies. A simple, small change in an addon like HTTPS everywhere could send IP address and site visited to anywhere.

November 21, 2011

In reply to phobos


So then why is "automatically check for updates to..." _add-ons_ and "search engines" both checked by default in TBB?

To the Blog authors:

Why do comments not show up immediately after posting?

I though you were moderating them but the above comment makes me think otherwise...

They are moderated. Generally, we only remove direct attacks to others, death threats, and spam. Everything else falls under freedom of speech principles.

Well, that depends....

...on just what you mean by "bad"...
...and just what you mean by "watch for lolicon", and the ramifications thereof.

Does this activity (whatever exactly it may be) that you are inquiring about increase the odds that you or someone else, directly or indirectly, will harm an actual child in any way?

In any event, whether or not "watch[ing] for lolicon" is _bad_, per se, it could very well be _dangerous_- depending on the exact nature of the specific material you are seeking/viewing/saving (e.g., is it cartoon-style drawings or realistic-looking 3D renders?), the law where you reside*, how many privacy precautions you take, etc.

November 19, 2011


why cant the homepage be changed in the latest tor browser bundle with aurora 8? every time i switch the homepage to google.com or check.torproject.org (WITHOUT ALL THE /lang/...) it automatically jumps back to the long check.torproject.org/...lang/...en/ when I restart it...


November 19, 2011


1. To make sure you are using tor successfully.
2. to check if your version of torbrowser is out of date

November 19, 2011


I am not a security expert on my own, so I will not be making any changes what-so-ever to tor browser bundle or tails. With this in mind, am I completely protected from my hard drive ever knowing what I do while using tails? I know it says so in something I read that it only uses the ram and is immediately erased when I close tails, but I'm looking for some confirmation. And does that mean ram is NOT like a hard drive that can be recovered to see what you were doing? There is simply no way what-so-ever to recall what was being done on ram. Is this correct?

December 15, 2011

In reply to phobos


Why is tails in arabic? every time I boot it up... its in arabic. it wasn't there before....

Data can be recovered from RAM for only a very short time (seconds to minutes) after it loses power (computer is powered off). By cryogenically freezing the RAM data can be preserved for a longer period of time. Therefore physical security of the PC running tails is an absolute requirement. Do not let it run unattended and keep an eye on it even after shutting down.

Exploit code running within tail can touch your harddrive, corrupt, read and exfiltrate its content, install malware to it or leave data behind. You could disconnect all hard disks to be on the safe side.

"Exploit code running within tail can touch your harddrive, corrupt, read and exfiltrate its content, install malware to it or leave data behind."

The drive would have to be *mounted*, though, wouldn't it?

I recently found (Tails 0.9 - while exploring system options in the course of troubleshooting a recent problem of Tails not running Vidalia and/or connecting to Tor network) that my hard drives _were_ mounted. Now, I'm no Linux expert, and I supose it is possible that my request to view some system item directly resulted in Debian mounting the drives, but I suspect that they were mounted automatically on boot.

November 21, 2011


I would like to be able to use Tor or Tails, but I have an older Pentium3 laptop with only 261mb RAM and Windows 2000. Couldn't some way be found for us older machine users (who can't afford to buy a new computer) to also have privacy? For tails, I would suggest having the OS ask on boot if it OK to use the hard drive for a swap file.

Older Vidalia/Privoxy package combined with newest Tor standalone should run fine on Windows 2000. This will run even on Windows 98.

November 29, 2011


"Support for Windows 2000 ended on July 13, 2010!"
~ http://support.microsoft.com/ph/1131

I am fairly certain that it has long been extremely unsafe to run Windows 2000.

As far as being able to run a supported, relatively/reasonably secure and functional OS on your hardware, there are some ultra-light and slim GNU/Linux distros that might just fit the bill:
Perhaps Xubuntu but very likely Puppy (esp. "Wary Puppy"), Vector, antiX.

Slitaz is even lighter but I don't think it would be a good for a Linux novice (and I could never even get it to load fully).

Whether or not you will be able to run Tor (relatively/reasonably) safely and functionally on such a system, I'm not sure.

With only 261 MB of RAM, you can forget about TAILS. That much I'm sure of.

However, you should be able to upgrade your RAM and/or buy a second-hand computer for a fraction of the cost of a new computer.

Have you considered a local thrift shop, Craig's List or ebay?

"Older Vidalia/Privoxy package combined with newest Tor standalone"[...]

But how safe would that be?