[tor-talk] Best devices to boot Tails off of?

Dave Warren davew at hireahit.com
Sat Aug 15 06:11:11 UTC 2015

On 2015-08-14 22:20, Qaz wrote:
> Are there flash drives that really work well with Tails? Or does it not
> really matter?

In theory, it shouldn't matter. In practice, well, things are possibly 
more complicated if an attack were targeted at Tails in particular.

> I installed Tails on a Sandisk Cruzer and it seems it
> wouldn't boot or at least show the login screen, just gets stuck with
> the blue and white progress bar. I think I have seen a list of which
> devices will probably work well with Tails but I'm not sure.

At least in theory, most any flash drive should work. But it's dependent 
on the drive, BIOS/UEFI and it's configuration, whether it passes off 
control of the USB drive properly, etc. But most modern hardware should 
handle this just fine; I haven't personally run into a non-bootable USB 
disk or motherboard in quite some time.

But that's not to say you won't, or that your hardware is configured 
appropriately for your media.

> Are DVD-R's
> the safest way to boot Tails off of?

Safest, probably. At least in theory, once you finalize optical media, 
it should be truly read-only, and the worst that could happen is that 
bits could be written (which would corrupt the disk-level checksums, 
destroying the disk)

I wouldn't totally trust flash media to be read-only, even if it has a 
physical switch as these could easily be poorly implemented and allow a 
compromised OS to persist between reboots.

> How do can I further protect my
> Tails installation on a flash drive? Would doing a checksum from another
> OS on my Tails device help ensure it's safeness/integrity?

Yes, you shouldn't trust any checksum or other verification from the 
compromised device itself.

(All "in my opinion",  as a lay-person, I have no specific knowledge of 
Tails specific issues)

Dave Warren

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