The Tails Project has announced the availability of Tails 5.8. The team has said that this release is the most important one in years as it brings a “major redesign of existing features, important usability improvements, and hardened security.” Perhaps the most notable change is the complete redesign of Persistent Storage, which hasn’t changed that much since 2012.
With the new Persistent Storage update, you no longer have to restart after creating a Persistent Storage space or when you activate a new feature. You can change your Persistent Storage password with the updated application, and you can choose to create a Persistent Storage space from the Welcome Screen if one isn’t yet set up.
Another change in Tails 5.8 is the deprecation of X.Org and the use of Wayland instead. Tails users won’t really notice a difference but Wayland is more secure and helps prevent compromised programs from affecting other programs. With Tails 4.8, the Unsafe Browser was disabled by default due to a security vulnerability that could de-anonymize you; Wayland fixes this issue so the Unsafe Browser has been re-enabled.
You shouldn’t use the Unsafe Browser when you can avoid it but sometimes it is necessary if you’re on public Wi-Fi and have to jump through some hoops to get connected to the network. With the introduction of Wayland, other features are now available in Unsafe Browser that were not available before including sound, uploads and downloads, alternative input methods for Chinese and other non-Latin languages, and accessibility features like the screen reader and virtual keyboard.
Finally, Tails 5.8 allows you to scan QR codes containing Tor bridges. Tor bridges help to obfuscate the fact that you’re connecting to the Tor network, this is helpful in repressive countries that frown on the usage of Tor. To get a QR code, you can send an empty e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org from a Gmail or Riseup e-mail address, or by visiting the Tor Bridges website and printing a QR code onto paper.