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Best Linux distro for privacy and security in 2020

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We look at the best privacy keeping and penetration testing Linux distros that are available.
The best Linux distros for privacy and security make it easier to secure your computer against cybersecurity threats, from malware to hacker intrusion attempts. Additionally, privacy and security have become increasing concerns for internet users, not least with increased government monitoring and corporate collection of user data, and a long string of well-publicized hack attacked in which this user data has been stolen and mis-used. While Windows and macOS computers have some protections in place, and there are additional options such as using a VPN or Tor browser, a number of Linux distros are now available that put privacy and security at their core. For some of these Linux distros it’s a case of building in privacy protection by default using a variety of tools. For others, it’s a matter of including security software as standard for those who need to do penetration testing. Each of these distros has a different focus on privacy and/or security according to user interests and needs. Here we’ll list the best for you to consider. While definitely not for novice users, Qubes is one of the top privacy-conscious distros. The graphical installer must be used to install the OS to your hard drive, which will be encrypted. Qubes OS uses the Xen Hypervisor to run a number of virtual machines, compartmentalising your life into ‘personal’, ‘work’, ‘internet’ and so on for the sake of security. This means if you accidentally download malware on your work machine for instance, your personal files won’t be compromised. The main desktop uses colour-coded windows to show different virtual machines, making it easy for you to tell them apart. Tails (which stands for ‘The Amnesiac Incognito Live System’) is probably the most well-known privacy-focused distro. It can be run from a DVD in Live mode whereby it loads entirely into your system RAM and will leave no trace of its activity. The OS can also be used in ‘persistent’ mode where your settings can be stored on an encrypted USB stick. All connections are routed through the anonymity network Tor, which conceals your location. The applications in Tails have also been carefully selected to enhance your privacy – for example, there’s the KeePassX password manager and Paperkey, a command line tool used to export OpenPGP secret keys to print on paper. There are also a small number of productivity apps such as Mozilla Thunderbird and the powerful LibreOffice suite.

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