The Operating Systems which Edward Snowden recommends ||

If you are a computer user and want to get the best operating systems then you have come to the right place.

In this post, I will tell you about the operating system called by Edward Snowden.

Operating Systems || Edward Snowden

operating systems recommend by edward snowen

When former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden published internal documents on how and to what extent the NSA was spying on the general public,

he soon rose to a prominent figure in the global community of privacy advocates and civil rights activists.

Many people concerned about privacy and security listen to his opinions and follow his software recommendations.

But the most important system software, the operating systems, often gets neglected when looking for ways to improve privacy.

In the past, Snowden has approved two desktop operating systems in particular. Let’s look at what they are, how they work, and who should use them.

The operating systems most people use every day today aren’t really geared towards privacy.

Microsoft Windows 10

Windows operating system

Microsoft’s Windows 10 was criticized from the beginning for invading its user’s privacy by collecting excessive amounts of diagnostic data, monitoring usage, and analyzing behavior.

While it has improved slightly since its release, it definitely is not on Snowden’s recommended list.

Mac Operating Systems

Mac Operating systems

Apple’s macOS is a similar story. On the one hand, the operating system is often considered more secure and even slightly more private than Windows. On the other hand,

it is closed-source and developed by an American company meaning it is impossible to completely verify its privacy and independence from the US government agencies.

Linux Distributions

linux operating system

Then there are common Linux distributions like Mint, Debian, and Ubuntu. These are all a big step in a more private and secure direction but these weren’t thrones Snowden recommended.

Back in 2013, Snowden in fact used the operating systems Tails to communicate with journalists.

It’s designed to be booted as a live DVD or USB and to leave no trace on the machine.

This already hints at the fact, that it is not intended to replace a fully-featured everyday operating system but rather for specific sensitive tasks.

The advantage is You can even use it on other people‘s computers and carry selected documents and settings in an encrypted persistent storage of Tails.

All network traffic is automatically routed through the Tor network for anonymous communication and Tails includes some useful tools like an e-mail client, a password manager, an office suite, and a file-sharing application.

Tails help to avoid online surveillance, censorship, and tracking and are one of the few operating systems that aren‘t even easily compromised by physical access because of their temporary nature.

Everything the user did disappears once it‘s shut down.

Another Operating Systems

A few years later in 2016, Edward Snowden recommended another operating system, seemingly he had replaced Tails.

He tweeted about Qubes OS, a system that is all about security by isolation. Contrary to Tails, it can be used as a permanent operating system.

Qubes uses virtualization technology to isolate various programs from each other and even sandboxes many system components like networking and storage.

This way, even if one of these programs or components is vulnerable to attacks, it doesn’t affect the integrity of the entire system.

It‘s one of the most effective ways to defend against zero-day exploits.

Every window in Qubes has a certain color to indicate in which domain it runs, fully isolated from other domains.

The isolated compartments called Qubes like the operating system are categorized by purposes, level of trust, and template virtual machines.

Linux Distribution

Apart from popular Linux distributions like Fedora and Debian, Qubes can also run Windows Programs in its virtual machine.

That should be a deciding factor for many users thinking about switching from Windows.

The system kind of reminds me of the Firefox add-on „Temporary Containers“ which opens every tab in its own isolated container.

It looks a bit complicated at first glance, probably lowers system performance because of the virtualization and makes some tasks like copy-pasting between applications more tedious but that is a small trade-off for the security it provides.

I‘m guessing it isn‘t targeted at grandma checking Facebook once a day anyway.

Depending on if you are looking for a private portable operating system or a permanent secure one, give Tails or Qubes a try.

They are both freely available and recommended by the world‘s top security experts.

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Pawan Chauhan

I'm a Web Developer and Software Trainer.

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