Windows and macOS are the most common operating systems. But they love sharing your data with third parties.
Just because things are familiar, doesn’t mean they are the safest.
For your privacy’s sake, it might be best to ditch Windows or macOS completely. Let’s look at some privacy-based operating systems.
Tails is a portable, and private operating system that protects against surveillance and censorship.
The OS is installed on a USB stick. To use Tails, all you need to reboot your computer and boot into the Tails USB stick.
Tails OS is extremely light and requires hardly any resources. You can run Tails on a 10-year-old computer.
Tails OS runs independent from Windows or macOS and never uses any space on a hard drive. Tails only runs on the memory of the computer.
Since it runs on the RAM, everything you do in Tails disappears when you shut down the machine. Websites that you visited, files opened, saved passwords, Wi-Fi networks, etc. are removed.
Everything you do on the Internet from Tails goes through Tor. Tor encrypts and randomizes your connection.
Tor prevents someone from learning what you are doing on the Internet. And you can avoid censorship because it is nearly impossible for Big Tech to know which websites you are visiting.
Let’s say you wanted to toggle back and forth between Windows and a private OS. Whonix can help.
Whonix is an OS that can be installed on top of your existing OS. If you’re running Windows or Mac, you can run Whonix separately to keep things private.
Whonix runs best as a virtual machine (VM) – software that emulates a computer but uses the physical resources of the computer running it.
Like Tails, Whonix uses Tor. It offers some of the same privacy features such as concealing IP addresses.
If you have an app that doesn’t use Tor, Whonix can modify it with a process known as “torification” so it operates anonymously.
It comes with a keystroke cloak to prevent typing trackers. Whonix comes preloaded with Thunderbird, an encrypted email client, and Gajim, an encrypted IM.
If you’re a crypto investor, you can install Bitcoin Core, Monero, or an Electrum wallet.
There are a ton of Linux private operating systems out there. However, Qubes OS focuses on privacy and security.
Qubes OS emphasizes security through isolation; when you use Qubes, each piece of the OS is put in different compartments.
These compartments run in their own lightweight virtual machines called qubes.
You can create different qubes for different activities, each with its own VM. You could have a “work” qube with all your files, a messaging app, a word processor, etc.
Then you could switch to your “personal” qube to stream shows and access personal files.
Each qube is independent of the other. For example, your browsing history of the “personal” qube won’t be the same as your “work” qube. Even if the browsers are the same.
This reduces the surface of attack, as what happens in one qube has little or nothing at all to do with the others.
All of these private operating systems are open source, and the code can be reviewed and modified to your needs.
And all of these OS are completely free.
Each of these OS has similar privacy features and software and they can work hand in hand. For example, if you install Qubes OS, Whonix is pre-installed inside of it.
And keep your VPN handy to keep your internet traffic hidden and encrypted.