Brief: This article shows you the list of best privacy-focused Linux distributions. This article is intended for readers who are extremely concerned about their only privacy.
Privacy is a serious and much-debated issue. In this age of cyber espionage and electronic surveillance, privacy becomes a crucial subject.
While most of us Linux users care about our privacy to an extent, some people take it to an ‘extreme level’. Such people are often termed ‘privacy freaks’ (not in a derogatory manner).
The good thing about Linux is that it has got a distribution for (almost) everyone’s needs. Privacy is not an exception. There are Linux distributions specifically focused on privacy. These privacy-focused Linux distributions provide you with tools and configurations to escape electronic surveillance, hide your electronic footprints and retain your anonymity from advertisers, data gatherers etc.
Best privacy-focused Linux distributions
Now, I am not going to tell you why you should care about your privacy. I am also not going to show you how to stay anonymous online. I leave that decision to you if you want to go to the length of using a dedicated Linux distribution for privacy.
In case, you have already made up your mind or just being curious about it, here are the best secure Linux distros.
Tails is a live Linux distribution that has been created with one thing in mind, privacy. You can put it up on a DVD, USB key or SD Card and use it as a live system on any computer. You can even upgrade the live USB or disk to a newer version.
The thing with Tails is that it doesn’t store anything locally. Your activities die as soon as you boot off the system.
Apart from that, Tails provide you complete anonymity with a pre-configured Tor browser. This helps you to stay anonymous on the internet and circumvent censorship.
Tails also has a long list of pre-installed privacy software. You can see the entire list here.
Whonix is another popular Tor based Linux system. It is actually a heavily reconfigured Debian Linux that is designed to run inside a virtual machine.
The virtual machine provides a sandbox that keeps your actual system (also called host system) safe.
What separates Whonix from running any Linux system in VM is that the entire traffic from Whonix VM is ‘Torified’. In other words, it uses Tor protocol for accessing internet. Which means that your connection is ultrasecure and encrypted.
This picture might help you understand its functioning.
Best thing about Whonix is that you can use it inside any other operating system, be it Linux or Windows or MacOS.
Unlike the above two, Ipredia is NOT based on Tor protocol. It uses I2P (Invisible Internet Project) protocol which provides anonymous web connection, same as Tor. I2P is heavily linked to the dark net.
It comes preinstalled with anonymous email, bit torrent and IRC clients to provide you an anonymous internet experience.
The biggest drawback of IprediaOS is that it can only be used to browse i2p sites. You cannot browse normal websites on Ipredia OS.
4. Discreete Linux
Formerly known as Ubuntu Privacy Remix, Discreete Linux is now based on Debian Linux. It aims to give professional grade privacy to people without deeper computer knowledge.
Like Tails, Discreete Linux can also be used only as live disk. So you can put it on an external disk, USB or SD Card and use it as a live system.
Discreete Linux is a read only system meaning that after every reboot, your system is in the same state as it was at the first use. This way even if a survillence software was installed in one session, it cannot be continued in the next session.
Perhaps it is one of the most user friendly privacy focused Linux distribution in this list.
5. Mofo Linux
Mofo (yes, the same street slang) is a privacy focused Linux distribution to help you escape electronic survillance. It is based on Ubuntu and uses Unity desktop environment.
Mofo Linux is basically Ubuntu with plenty of privacy tool installed and configured by default.
If you already use Ubuntu, Mofo could be a familiar choice. Read about Mofo Linux in detail.
6. Subgraph OS (in alpha stage)
Subgraph OS is a work in progress by open source security company Subgraph.
Subgraph uses Tor to provide anonymity. It also has its own secure email client and instant messenger. To provide an extra layer of security, it uses sandboxing of applications so that system itself is not impacted.
Subgraph OS uses a modified Linux kernel with enhanced security. File system encryption is mandatory here.
What’s your pick?
To be honest, I don’t use any of these privacy Linux distros. What about you? Are you concerned about your privacy enough to use any of these Linux?