The privacy-oriented Linux distribution, Tails, has been updated with a new kernel to mitigate against Spectre. Tails 3.5 also comes with Tor Browser 7.5, a major upgrade in itself which includes some interface changes to make it more usable. There are also a plethora of smaller changes included in too.
The most important aspect of Tails 3.5 is the inclusion of Linux kernel 4.14.13 as it includes microcode firmware for AMD machines in order to mitigate against the Spectre vulnerability that has been causing headaches across the tech world. Tails 3.4 was released earlier this month, it included the 4.14.12 kernel which included a Meltdown patch but only partially mitigated Spectre.
Another major aspect is the inclusion of Tor Browser 7.5. It brings a new welcome screen which makes creating a Tor bridge or a local proxy connection more straightforward and is also built in a reproducible builds environment, this will allow the security conscious to test whether their Tor Browser has been compiled from a legitimate source and has not been tampered with in some way.
Some other small changes in the release include:
- Update Thunderbird to 52.5.
- Fix printing to a PDF in Tor Browser. (#13403 and #15024)
- Fix the opening of the Applications menu when the time synchronization changed the clock in the past. (#14250)
- Fix the opening of the documentation included in Tails for many non-English languages. (#15160)
- Fix translations of the time synchronization and "Tor is ready" notifications. (#13437)
- Remove the code to migrate from Claws Mail that was preventing Thunderbird to start in some cases. (#12734)
There’s still a known issue lingering from the previous release which says there’s a kernel bug during the bootup. Tails says this is nothing to worry about, despite being alarming, and are looking to fix it in an upcoming release.