Commit ab48eaa0 authored by T(A)ILS developers's avatar T(A)ILS developers
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......@@ -749,131 +749,43 @@ get a virus or manages to damage the system in other ways, the system
is tainted or unusable from that point and all consecutive boots,
either with or without your knowledge. Clearly that is not good.
It is actually possible to get the best out of these two worlds at the
same time. When running T(A)ILS from a USB drive you have the option
to create an encrypted container wherein your home directory is stored
so that any files stored and settings made are saved persistently. If
you use a good password this deals with the dangers of storing
sensitive data on it. For more information on this, see the section on
using a [persistent home directory](#persistent). But what about virus
threats and the like? Well, when running from a USB drive, the system
files are still set up to not be persistently writeable. It is only
your home directory which will be persistent.
### Installation instructions
In order to get T(A)ILS running from USB you currently have to get the
usual LiveCD installation first. Once T(A)ILS has started up from CD
you will find a short cut to an installation guide in the "T(A)ILS"
meni available from the panel and the K menu, aptly called "Install
T(A)ILS to USB". The guide will tell you about your options and is
self contained, and in most cases you only need to insert a USB drive,
choose the appropriate installation method and hit the OK button to
get it done. Then you restart the computer without the CD in, but with
the USB drive connected instead, and T(A)ILS should start to boot just
like from the CD.
### Updating T(A)ILS USB installation
If you have an existing T(A)ILS USB installation and want to update it
to a more recent release, simply use this script to overwrite the
existing installtion. Note that if a persistent home directory is
present you must choose option 1 ("Use an existing vfat partition on a
USB drive") and select the partition containing T(A)ILS in order to
keep it.
## <a name="persistent"></a>Persistent home directory
At a certain point when [booting T(A)ILS from USB](#usb) you will be
prompted with the question if you want a persistent home directory or
not. As mentioned elsewhere in this document, that will allow you to
save files and keep application settings between shutdowns, which is
not normally the case. Naturally, saving sensitive stuff could be
dangerious if it got into the wrong hands, so the use of encryption is
highly recommended.
As you progress through the guided setup of the persistent home
directory you will be asked as few questions and given some simple
instructions, and some of these might need to be commented a bit:
### Size
Early on you will be asked for the size of the "home volume", which
will be a file stored on the USB drive that in turn will store you
files. There are a few constraints on this size, like a minimum size
necessary to fit the initial application settings and files that are
part of \_\_INCOGNITO\_USER\_\_ users's home directory. There is also
a maximum size, which is the lowest of the space available on the
drive, and 4 GB (this is because of technical reasons – files larger
than 4 GB will not work).
### Encryption
It cannot be emphasized enough; use encryption! The encryption is
protected with a password, so it is very important to also choose a
strong password. But what is a strong password? Of course, there are
many different opinions on that. What can be said is that to utilize
the encryption algorithm used to its full extent you will need a
password consisting of 40 randomly chosen characters of those
available on the standard (western) keyboard layout, which have around
90 different characters. Such a password should remain uncrackable for
the remainder of this universe's life span and the same goes for the
actual encryption. Of course, such a password is almost impossible to
memorize, so you will probably have to go for something shorter. 20
random characters is probably enough. It can also help to device
mnemonics to help remember them but stay away from dictionary words of
any language you know. Be creative! If you need help with generating
the passwords you should check out [KeePassX](#keepassx)'s built-in
password generator.
If you use encryption (which you should) you will be prompted for the
password during boot. One thing that might strike you as odd is that
it is possible to enter two passwords. The reason for that will be
clarified in the next section, but normally you just type in your
password in one of them (which one doesn't matter) and press ENTER to
### Hidden volumes
In certain countries you may be legally forced to hand over encryption
keys or passwords, or otherwise facing penal charges. Clearly this
might defeat the whole purpose of using encryption, but luckily there
is a solution based on [plausible
The idea is to create a so called hidden volume which resides in the
free space of the normal (or outer) volume, and using two different
passwords to access either of them; the normal password grants access
only to the normal volume and the hidden password grants access only
to the hidden volume. Given the normal password there is no way to
tell whether the hidden volume exists or not – the hidden password is
required for that. The point of all this is that you may hand over the
normal password to the authorities and keep the hidden password
secret, and they will not be able to tell whether you are fooling them
or not. Hence you get plausible deniability.
Setting up the hidden volume using the guided setup is pretty straight
forward. You will be asked how large it should be, and since it is
stored within the normal volume it must be smaller, but it is
important that you leave some additional in order to make room on the
normal volume. You will need to use the normal volume sometomes to do
innocent things so that it looks used, otherwise the authorities will
not believe you. However, when you do that by just specifying the
normal password you may damage the hidden volume as it resides in the
free space. Luckily you can supply both passwords at the same time,
which will open the normal volume but make it aware of the hidden
volume so you cannot damage it. So, whenever you are using the normal
volume to make it look used, enter both passwords (one in each field
at the password prompt, and order doesn't matter).
Naturally, you will also be asked for an additional password for the
hidden volume, and as always you should choose a good, strong
password. However, for the normal volume you can choose may choose a
weaker password that's easier to remember – it only needs to be good
enough to fool the authoroties that it is the real password. But
remember to **never** give the hidden password to anyone else, or even
mention to anybody that you are using a hidden volume or have two
In order to get T(A)ILS running from USB, the easiest way is to get
the usual LiveCD installation first (or run T(A)ILS from a virtual
machine supports writing directly to a real-world USB drive).
Note that the method of installing T(A)ILS to USB is pretty crude
at the moment (a more intuituve way is planned). If you do not know
precisely what the things mentioned below mean it is recommended to
stop now as you otherwise might risk overwriting any present hard
drives. Proceed at your own discretion!
Once T(A)ILS has started up from CD (or a virtual machine), start a
terminal and type:
sudo su
cat /dev/cdrom > /dev/sdX
where "`/dev/cdrom`" is the CD-ROM device running the T(A)ILS CD,
and "`/dev/sdX`" is the target USB device. Note that The "`X`" in
"`/dev/sdX`" needs to be changed appropriately (usually the command
"`dmesg`" can be of great help if run just after pluggin in the USB
As an alternative, if you have a non-T(A)ILS Linux system and access
to the T(A)ILS ISO image, you can install it to USB by issuing the
following commands to a terminal:
sudo su # or other way to get root privileges
cat /path/to/tails/image.iso > /dev/sdX
where "`/dev/sdX`" is the target USB device (change "`X`" as above).
## <a name="persistent"></a>Persistent storage on USB drive
This is not supported at the moment, but is planned for a future
T(A)ILS release.
## <a name="cold"></a>Protection against cold boot attacks
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