Linux distributions for security and privacy

With a wide range of Linux distributions that focus on security and privacy, it is not that easy to find the best match. This resource page helps with making the first selection and explaining the differences.


Qubes OS

Qubes OS is a distribution with a primary focus on security. It takes a slightly different approach than others in this category. One of its strengths is the heavy use of compartmentalization. This means that it separates different environments (qubes), a bit like how virtual machines work. Qubes allows you to run your banking website in one qube, while doing research work in another. They won't be able to interfere or communicate, unless you tell it to. Another option is using disposable qubes, which might be useful for opening untrusted content, like an attachment via email.

Qubes allows for integration with Whonix, to easily use services like Tor.

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Tails is a security-focused distribution based on Debian. It aims to preserve privacy and anonymity. For this reason, it forces any outgoing connection via Tor and blocks any non-anonymous connection.

Tails provides a new release every few months. As the project cares about security, it comes with many security measures to protect the operating system and installed software. The distribution is translated into several languages.

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Whonix is a Linux distribution based on Debian. Its focus is on security and privacy and uses the Tor network to provide anonymity. Commonly used applications are available by default and are hardened to protect against common threats. Whonix is designed to run inside a virtual machine.

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