Updated July 18th, 2019
Right up there with Whonix as a contender for the best OS to access the deep web is Tails. The Amnesic Incognito Live System or “Tails” is a live system that aims to preserve your privacy and anonymity which is very important when accessing the deep web. Unlike Whonix, it is not made to be run on a virtual machine but instead off of a DVD, USB stick or SD card. While this is a bit more of a hassle, you may want to go with this option because of the additional features that serve to protect your identity.
Tails uses Tor to connect to the internet and blocks any attempts to connect directly to the Internet. This means that all the software it comes with is configured to automatically connect using the Tor network. What is most useful about the OS though is the fact that it doesn’t store anything on your hard-drive. The only storage space used is the RAM which is automatically erased when the computer shuts down. This is where the “amnesic” part of the name comes from. Sensitive documents can still be saved to another external device of your choosing but unless you specifically do that – anything you were working on will be gone without a trace. It also includes a variety of encryption tools to assist the protection of your identity while using Tails.
To get started, go to their official download page and torrent or direct download their latest version.
After doing so you will want to verify the integrity of the ISO image to make sure that you haven’t been victim of a man-in-the-middle attack. If you already understand OpenPGP (which you really should by now) then this step will be easy. If not then they have a guide to explain how to use it to check the integrity of what you just downloaded with their signing key.
You now have to decide whether or not you want to burn it to a DVD or use Tails Installer to put it onto a USB stick / SD card. There are benefits and drawbacks to each, So decide it for yourself after research.
Now insert the DVD or USB/SD and restart your computer. If the OS doesn’t boot up then you will have to go into your BIOS and change the boot order to put whatever drive you want to boot from first on the list. You can get to the BIOS settings menu by pushing the key that is prompted when starting up your computer. Once you have changed the boot order then just restart your computer again and TAILS will start.
There is more documentation on their website for how to use all the functions of TAILS but it is quite self-explanatory. It provides a very safe way for you to browse the web, access the Deep Web, and work with sensitive documents.
If this sounds like too much of a hassle and you want an OS that can be run in the background while you are doing other work then try Whonix instead. Don’t just browse on your default operating system.