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As you probably know by now, there are hundreds of Linux distributions in the market and many of them are aimed at different users and/or geared towards specific tasks e.g. system administration, cloud computing, personal computing, etc.
Today, we are throwing light on the Linux distros whose developers went the distance to add extra privacy and security features organized in alphabetical order.
1. BlackArch Linux
BlackArch Linux is an Arch-based distro designed for penetration testing and security researchers with 2000+ tools which can be installed singly or in groups.
BlackArch Linux is compatible with Arch Linux installations. And since it is available as an unofficial user repo, you can use the guide on its website to transform your existing Arch Linux setup into BlackArch by downloading the necessary packages.
BlackArch Linux offers users the awesomeness of Arch Linux coupled with speed and security features which are sure to meet your working requirements.
2. Discreete Linux
Discreete Linux (formerly Ubuntu Privacy Remix) is a Debian-based distro designed with protection against trojan-based surveillance. It is typically used as a secure GNUPG En-/Decryption environment, as well as a secure environment for secure signing and data storage.
Discreete Linux was designed to be easily used by people who don’t have deep computer knowledge but require high security and data privacy. This includes whistleblowers, human rights defenders, political targets, journalists, etc. and it goes the extra mile to protect private keys and prevent snooping by running en-/decrypting data in secure isolated environments.
3. Ipredia OS
Ipredia OS is a fast, powerful Linux distro created with user anonymity and freedom in mind as it automatically and transparently encrypts and anonymizes all network traffic.
Ipredia OS features an anonymizing network, I2P, which offers a simple layer that enables identity-sensitive apps to communicate securely. All of its default applications have been tweaked to conform to its anonymity standards e.g. I2P router console, email client, IRC client, to name a few.
4. Linux Kodachi
Linux Kodachi is a Xubuntu-based live anonymity-focused distro equipped with anti-forensic capabilities. It requires no expert knowledge of Linux, no installation, and it runs from RAM so no data is left behind once the OS is turned off by default.
All connections you interact with in Linux Kodachi are forced to go through a VPN and then the TOR network with DNS encryption. Also, the distro uses state-of-the-art cryptographic tools to encrypt your emails, instant messages, and files so that you can truly be anonymous.
5. Parrot Security OS
Parrot Security OS is a lightweight cybersecurity-focused distro designed for computer forensics and anonymous web browsing, penetration testing, vulnerability assessment, and mitigation.
This Debian-based distro ships with a complete portable lab that security and digital forensics experts will enjoy working with, as well as the tools needed for development, Internet, and the typical everyday computing.
6. Qubes OS
Qubes OS is a Fedora-based distro that maintains its security by running software in isolated virtualized environments called Qubes via a process known as security by compartmentalization.
This means that common attack vectors will not be able to infect the rest of your system if the security of a qube is somehow compromised as individual qubes can be stopped and completely removed from the hard drive with ease.
Qubes also features the ability to sanitize PDF documents and easily connect to the TOR network using its optional Whonix addition – you can’t go wrong with it.
7. Subgraph OS
Subgraph OS is a modern Linux distro designed to be completely resistant to malware and network-borne exploit attacks by implementing sandbox technologies.
Subgraph OS implements Oz, a sandbox framework which isolates apps from each other and the underlying system. It ships with built-in Tor integration and forces sensitive applications to communicate only over Tor.
Subgraph OS is undergoing heavy research to keep its users 100% secure from any form of exploitation whether online or offline.
Tails is a Live privacy-focused distro with an emphasis on anonymity. It runs from a live CD and executes its processes from the RAM – which gets erased when the system is shut down.
Tails Linux features state-of-the-art cryptographic capabilities with which it secures email and instant messaging communications. It also connects to the TOR anonymous network by default and wouldn’t connect to any websites that aren’t routed through TOR.
Tails doesn’t leave any trace whatsoever; not even one forensics experts can use to tail you if they identify a swap partition so it’s the perfect distro for being off the grid.
TENS (Trusted End Node Security), previously LPS (Lightweight Portable Security) is an NSA-approved live CD that creates a secure computing environment on virtually any Intel-based.
TENS runs a Linux OS from a portable medium without the need for installation or admin privileges and it doesn’t store any data locally, nor can any malicious activities affect it.
TENS supports advanced features like logging in with key cards and smart cards. Download and use without the slightest of hesitation that your stuff is private.
Whonix is a Debian-based designed to offer computer users complete privacy and anonymity on the web via an automatic fail-safe and desktop-wide usage of the Tor network.
Whonix prides itself for being the only OS designed to run inside a Virtual Machine paired with Tor. It protects users from malware and IP address leaks thanks to the heavily preconfigured Debian base that it runs inside multiple VMs which keep both preinstalled and custom installed apps protected.
That wraps up my list for you. While nobody can talk about security-focused distros without mentioning the aforementioned, there are lots more out there and you are welcome to share your experiences with your favorites in the comments section below.
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