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Whonix vs Tails: How To Pick Between 2 Incognito Systems

Anonymity or privacy remains a fundamental factor to consider every time you jump on the internet. Increasingly, users want to be sure they have total control of what they share and who can spy on them.

This concept begs a comparison between browsers, and in this article, I will dive into a Whonix vs Tails comparison.

But I would try to consider them separately before analyzing how similar or different these two are.

What do I Need to Know About Whonix?

Without much ado, let’s start this Whonix vs Tails article with a dive into Whonix.

Whonix is software designed to help users use applications in total anonymity. Its goal is to preserve the user’s privacy.

This software is compatible with macOS, Windows, and Linux but comes as preinstalled software on Qubes OS (Qubes-Whonix).

Whonix vs Tails

How does Whonix work?

Whonix is very efficient because it utilizes the Tor network, one of my favorite software for enhancing anonymous internet communication. Whonix forces all connections to pass through Tor.

To protect a user’s anonymity on the Internet, all connections are forced through several security mechanisms, including the Tor network.

This is, in some ways, an equivalent of using the Tor browser, just that it is much more than that.

What is Tor?

While we have previously written about the Tor browser, I must explain that Tor is a free, open-source software enabling anonymity.

It runs on the effort of thousands of volunteers who run computer servers to keep you anonymous on the internet.

Data is passed along numerous relays (Tor servers), with the final relay passing the data to the destination (website) the user intended. This makes the information difficult to trace, which is why Whonix uses Tor.

How does Whonix differ from Tor Browser?

With this description, you may be confused into thinking Whonix and Thor are the very same thing. But this isn’t the case.

Whonix would go the extra mile to offer protection even when viruses compromise Tor security.

In the case where Tor is a browser, Whonix is an entire operating system that could be installed on almost any other OS. Whonix Os would come with a browser, an IRC client, and the office suite pre-configured.

Is Whonix different from a VPN?

The short answer is NO; it is not a VPN. The one huge difference is that VPNs can be legally compelled to reveal some of your privacy to authorities. VPNs are mostly faster than Tor but can not be categorized as anonymity networks.

The anonymity provided by Whomix is by design and not policy, so a single point of the system doesn’t know about the user’s identity.

While using Whonix, you would not have to set up a VPN.

What Advantages Does Whonix Have?

Finally, before switching over to tails, here are a few reasons you would want to use Whonix.

Firstly, it is efficient in wading off vector attacks.

It is also very efficient in preventing IP leaks. Because of its technical design, IP leaks that would apply to some other software may not apply to Whonix in most cases.

For some context, you must note that it is very hard for many software to hide IP addresses. SO users may think their IP is hidden when it is not.

Whonix goes beyond masking IP addresses and would foil threats like time attacks, data collection techniques, and deanonymization of keystrokes.

What do I Need to Know About Tails?

Since this is a Whonix vs Tails article, I would dive now into the TAILS OS.

TAILS, a.k.a. The Amnesic Incognito Live System, is a portable operating system. Its sole purpose is to help users stay anonymous while navigating the internet. This is, in fact, the real incognito.

TAILS

One of the several features that keep users off-grid even while browsing is TOR. As I pointed out earlier, it helps users navigate without leaving a trace. This way, they avoid tracking and preying on their eyes.

Introduction to Tails

How Do TAILS work?

TAILS would turn your computer into a secure machine temporarily. All you have to do is shut down your computer and start it with the TAILS USB stick. It would not matter the OS you are running, and it would work on most computers not older than ten years.

The TAIL OS would take about 30 minutes to download and can be installed on 8GB and above USB sticks.

The TAIL OS would run independently of your computer’s OS, it wouldn’t use the hard disk, and you would not need to worry about viruses. The exception to complete protection will be if you install TAILS from a system with viruses.

What is TAILS Amnesia Feature?

One of TAILS biggest features is Amnesia. This feature means that whenever the system restarts, every activity carried out on it is wiped away and presents a fresh empty slate.

Almost any action a user makes on another OS would leave some trace. It will be easy to figure out the following:

  1. Files that were opened or deleted
  2. Visited websites even in incognito mode
  3. Devices and Wi-Fi used
  4. Passwords stored on the computer, even those on password managers

With TAILS, everything is run from the computer memory, not the hard disk. The memory is wiped out at restart.

What is TAILS Encrypted Persistent Storage?

We just talked about the Amnesia feature. There is a manual override to it. TAILS allows users to keep some files and config settings in encrypted Persistent Storage on the USB stick. This means by choice. Users can preserve docs, bookmarks, emails, and some software.

This feature is optional, and if total security is what you need, you do not have to use it.

What is TAILS Digital Security Toolbox

The Digital Security Toolbox is a set of applications that helps users work on sensitive docs. These apps come ready to use and are set to safe defaults so that mistakes would be avoided.

What Advantages Do TAILS Have?

It has an easy-to-use nice user Interface and can boot from USB on any machine regardless of age. Its Amnesia feature makes it very secure, as every data is cleared once it is turned off.

It also gives a quick and nice IP address hiding option.

Whonix vs Tails: System Requirements

Whonix:

RAM – 4 GB
Disk Space – 32 GB
Processor – 64-bit Intel with Intel VT-x / AMD processor AMV-V
Virtualization platform

TAILS: 

RAM – 2GB
DVD or USB stick of 8GB minimum
Processor – 64-bit x86-64 compatible processor

Whonix vs Tails: Installation and setup

TAILS:

For both installations and setups, they are pretty easy, it would only depend on the user (Advanced or Beginner) and what features they expect to use.

For TAILS, all the user needs to do is download the ISO file. They would have to flash the ISO file to a USB drive using third-party software like BalenaEtcher.

Whinox:

In the case of Whinox, it is slightly more complicated. The user would need to deploy 2 virtual machines. One of them would be the Whonix Gateway or the Gateway to the Tor network.

whonix vs qubes:-

Both Whonix and Qubes are operating systems made to offer more security and privacy. Both systems are founded on the concept of compartmentalization, which means that they separate the system into various mutually exclusive components (referred to as “compartments” or “domains”).

Reducing the capacity of harmful software to spread and infect the system can help to protect against malware and other threats.

Whonix and Qubes differ in the following significant ways:-

Architecture: Whonix runs two virtual computers (VMs) on a single physical device via virtualization based on the Debian GNU/Linux operating system. The “Workstation” VM is utilized for general-purpose functions, whereas the “whonix-gateway” VM manages all network traffic.

However, Qubes, which is based on the Fedora operating system, employs a distinct form of virtualization called “Xen” to establish numerous isolated domains (referred to as “qubes”) on a single physical device.

Focus on security: Whonix is specifically made to offer online anonymity and protection from dangers. It conceals the user’s IP address and defends against network-level intrusions by routing all network traffic through the “Gateway” VM, which powers the Tor network.

On the other hand, Qubes is created to offer a high level of security for all computing operations, even those that entail handling sensitive data or dealing with untrusted networks.

Usefulness: Due to the virtualization and compartmentalization features increased complexity, both Whonix and Qubes might be trickier to operate than conventional operating systems.

Qubes’ more complex design and requirement to handle numerous qubes separately are widely thought to make it more challenging to use than Whonix.

Overall, Whonix and Qubes are both effective technologies for boosting security and privacy, although they work better for various tasks.

Whonix focuses primarily on providing anonymity and defense against online dangers, whereas Qubes is more widely designed to offer a high level of security for various jobs.

whonix vs qubes vs tails:-

Open-source operating systems Whonix, Qubes, and Tails are all made to increase security and privacy.

An outline of each is given below:

Whonix:- Whonix is a virtual machine-optimized Linux distribution based on the Debian operating system. It comprises two virtual machines, a “Gateway” and a “Workstation.”

The Workstation serves as the user’s workspace, while the Gateway manages all internet traffic, passing it over the Tor network to preserve the user’s anonymity.

Qubes:- Security by compartmentalization is the foundation of the Qubes Linux distribution, which runs on Fedora. It enables the creation of several separate virtual environments, or “qubes,” for various purposes.

Limiting the scope of any potential compromise can help defend against malware and other security threats.

Tails:- Designed to be used via a USB drive or DVD, Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System) is a live Linux distribution.

No traces of the user’s online behavior are left behind because it routes all internet traffic through the Tor network. Tails are designed to be used when privacy and anonymity are crucial, such as in an internet café or public library.

To summarize, Whonix, Qubes, and Tails are all operating systems made to improve privacy and security, but they vary in the exact features and use cases they are meant for.

✅FAQ

Can Whonix leak IP?

While utilizing Skype and other Voice Over IP protocols, Whonix won’t reveal a user’s location or IP address, even if it might be challenging to anonymize voice when using these channels. 

Should I use Whonix?

Whonix offers top-notch security. Tor’s internet protections and app isolation make it quite the private operating system even without extra security measures.

However, installing a VPN alongside the service makes your machine nearly impregnable for the most secure online experience. 

Is Whonix secure? 

Whonix is an operating system with a security emphasis that aims to give users online anonymity and privacy.

It is built on the isolation principle, which means it operates on two virtual machines (VMs) to provide protection.

One VM referred to as the “Workstation,” is used for routine chores like web browsing, emailing, and chatting. This VM is disconnected from the internet, and only talks to another VM called the “Gateway,” which is in charge of establishing a connection to the internet.

The Gateway serves as a “middleman” between the Workstation and the internet, and all traffic coming from the Workstation must pass through it.

This configuration ensures that the user’s IP address is hidden and helps to defend the Workstation against internet-based threats.

Along with its isolation-based security paradigm, Whonix has a variety of other security features, including:

Tor integration:- Whonix is based on the Tor network, which adds an extra degree of anonymity by routing internet traffic through a network of servers managed by volunteers worldwide.

Secure defaults:- Whonix is built with all unneeded services and features disabled by default, making it secure right out of the box.

Up-to-date software: – Whonix is built on Debian, a reputable and well-liked Linux distribution. The most recent security patches and features are continually added to keep users safe.

Whonix, as an operating system, offers users a high level of anonymity and privacy when using the internet. It is especially suitable for people who are worried about their internet security and wish to safeguard their privacy.

Does Whonix make you anonymous? 

Kicksecure, a Linux distribution with enhanced security, is the foundation of Whonix. The Firewall is set up particularly for surfing the Internet safely and anonymously. It is set up to utilize Tor anonymously. 

Is Whonix an OS? 

Yes, a Kicksecure Linux distribution allows you to keep your anonymity whenever you use the internet. 

Is Whonix more secure than tails? 

Using the two online security and privacy software isn’t so much different. They are Debian-based and designed to keep your internet privacy in check. 

Is Whonix completely anonymous?

Whonix is an open-source operating system that is free to use and seeks to offer anonymous and secure web browsing. Utilizing a variety of technology and design ideas, it is intended to secure the privacy and anonymity of users.

One of Whonix’s key characteristics is how it routes internet data across several servers using the Tor network, making it challenging to determine the traffic’s source.

Hiding the user’s IP address and location makes it more difficult for websites and online trackers to recognize and follow the user.

It is crucial to remember that while Whonix might offer a high level of anonymity, it is not secure.

Users nevertheless need to be mindful of some potential hazards and weaknesses, like the potential for malware or assaults on the Tor network or the risk of data leaking through unprotected or unreliable networks.

Overall, Whonix can be a useful tool for boosting privacy and anonymity online. However, it’s vital to realize that it’s not a magic solution, and users still need to take precautions to ensure their security and privacy when using the internet.

How much RAM do I need for Whonix?

The suggested minimum amount of RAM for Whonix in a virtual machine is 2GB, while more RAM will be required if you intend to run additional apps on the virtual machine concurrently.

A minimum of 20GB of hard drive space should be set aside for the virtual machine.

Is Whonix a Linux distro?

Whonix is a Linux distribution based on the Debian GNU/Linux OS. Routing all traffic over the Tor network is designed to run inside a virtual machine. It is meant to offer a high level of confidentiality and privacy.

Is Whonix easy to use?

Based on the well-liked Debian GNU/Linux operating system, Whonix is intended to be user-friendly.

Similar to well-known desktop operating systems like Windows or macOS, it has a graphical user interface (GUI). It should therefore be quite simple for most users to navigate and utilize.

Why use Whonix?

Utilizing Whonix is one of the best ways to guard against internet dangers like traffic analysis, network spies, and malicious attacks.

It accomplishes this by channeling all internet traffic through the Tor network, a decentralized network of servers that anonymizes internet traffic by encrypting it and channeling it through several arbitrarily chosen servers across the globe. Outsiders will find it more challenging to follow and keep an eye on Whonix users’ activities.

Utilizing Whonix to defend against malware and other online attacks is another reason to do so. Firewalls, antivirus software, and virtualization technologies are a few of the security features and capabilities it has that help defend against these kinds of assaults.

Whonix is a wonderful option for anyone who values online privacy and security and wants to take precautions to protect themselves from online attacks.

Final Thoughts on Whonix vs Tails

For most internet users, it is not uncommon to have seen adverts on their phones for things they may have searched for on other devices.

The term for this is remarketing. This is the level of connectivity we can expect in the modern world.

While we can argue that ads are essential to both producers and consumers, we must understand that the level of personal information used in generating ads can become harmful if put in the hands of the wrong person.

All our habits and use patterns are tracked and monitored on the internet, and there is an increasing need to own your space and safeguard your details.

I have compared two operating systems that could solve your privacy issues on the internet. They are very handy and not complicated for even the less tech-savvy users. If you are an internet user, I recommend you consider your privacy more seriously.

Of the two systems discussed, your final choice would depend on what you feel is easiest for you. My Whonix vs Tails comparison hasn’t been to promote any but to expose you to two good alternatives.

I would highly recommend either of them. I use both, but that may be because I love messing around with whatever new tech I can lay my hands on.

If you loved this Whonix vs Tails article, please drop your comments so that we know you are interested in this comparison.