Tails 5.1 arrives with a fix for a serious JavaScript security vulnerability

The Tails logo on a white and purple background

The Tails project has announced the release of Tails 5.1. It comes with improvements to the Tor Connection assistant, the Unsafe Browser and captive portals, and most importantly, a fix for a serious vulnerability that was present in the Tor Browser in Tails 5.0. On May 24, the project warned people not to use Tails due to this vulnerability.

With regards to the Tor Connection assistant, Tails 5.1 fixes the clock computer for those who choose to connect to Tor automatically. The project said this makes it easier for those in Asia to get online. To do this, Tails uses Fedora’s captive portal detection service – which is present on many Linux distributions. One of the drawbacks is that this connection doesn’t use the Tor network. You can read the project’s assessment of using this software in the FAQ.

Another nice change that has been made to the Tor Connection assistant is the last screen which clarifies whether you’ve connected to Tor using bridges. This should help with the general usability of the Tails operating system.

Regarding the Unsafe Browser, the team behind Tails says it has created a new homepage for this browser for when you’re not yet connected to Tor. The homepage explains better to users how to sign in to the Wi-Fi network using a captive portal. If you didn’t choose to enable the Unsafe Browser on the Welcome Screen, Tails now presents a confirmation before restarting the system so you don’t accidentally lose your work.

If you have a Tails USB already set up, you can boot it up and connect to the net which should trigger a pop-up offering you the new version. It will be securely downloaded over Tor and installed in place. If you want to download Tails for the first time, check out the Get Tails page.

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