Tails 4.20 arrives with Tor Connection assistant but you still have to build bridges

The Tails logo on a city background

Tails 4.20 has been released with several big changes, namely the Tor Connection assistant that makes it easier to get set up using a Tor bridge. If you’re not familiar with bridges, they’re designed for people in authoritarian countries where Tor usage is dangerous, by connecting to a bridge as your first node in the Tor network, anyone monitoring your activities won’t know you’re on Tor.

The Tor Browser made it really easy to connect to bridges a while back because it removed the need to enter bridge details manually. Tails still hadn’t built in this functionality and even with the new Tor Connection assistant, it still doesn’t offer the feature. What this update does, however, it makes it easier to set up a bridge connection by giving users the option as soon as they get connected to Wi-Fi. In older releases, you had to go into the advanced settings before starting the Tails session.

The Tor Connection assistant

In future, the Tor Connection assistant will let you save Tor bridges to persistent storage, help detect when Wi-Fi isn’t working, detect if you have to sign in to a local network via a captive portal, improve clock synchronization to make bridges work better in Asia, and it’ll make bridge discovery easier.

Another welcome change in this update is the inclusion of OnionShare 2.2. This major update allows people to host a website from a Tor onion service. Once your site is up, other people can access it from the unique onion URL which is only accessible via the Tor Browser. You can still use OnionShare to send ordinary files to other people via Tor too.

If you ever tried Tails before and suffered from hardware incompatibility issues, this update includes the Linux 5.10.46 kernel which comes with support for newer graphics cards, Wi-Fi cards, and other hardware.

To get started with Tails head over to the project's website. If you already have a Tails USB device, plug it in and connect to Wi-Fi, you will then be shown a prompt to perform the upgrade.

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