Top 7 Free and Open-Source Linux Distributions for Privacy and Anonymity

The diversity provided by Linux and its distributions is unmatched by the rest of the operating systems (OS). In recent times, we are also witnessing a growing number of terrorisms around us which has caused the security agencies to be more active and precautious than ever before. The security agencies, to acquire information regarding dubious and suspected individuals and agencies, acquire solutions and hackers that are able to breach the privacy of the systems and connections around the world. This puts one's privacy at risk. The security breaches by the government and other hackers around the globe also cause leaks of private data along with any financial data. Especially, if one is dealing with online banking and financial transactions, their privacy is of utmost importance. To secure incoming and outgoing data and ensure one’s anonymity, many Linux distributions take measures to enable one's seamless and breach-less experience. 

Here at LinuxAPT, as part of our Server Management Services, we regularly help our Customers to perform related Linux System Security queries.

In this context, we shall look into the best Linux distributions that provide privacy and anonymity capabilities that are highly recommended by Linux users and reviewers around the globe.

1. Qubes OS

Released in 2012, Qubes operating system is one of the best and highly recommended Linux distributions that ensures one’s privacy and anonymity. Qubes is an open-source operating system that comes with a GPL license. The security-focused desktop operating system provides and ensures utmost privacy and zero data breaches through via isolation or anonymity. The platform provides the capability of creating different virtualizations (VMs) via Xen. Qubes provides support for Debian, Fedora, Microsoft Windows, and Whonix, user environments. Not the best choice for beginners, the OS is highly recommended for its advanced capabilities and features and is used by many professionals around the globe.

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2. Tails OS

One of the best-rated, Tails OS was released in 2009 and was specially designed to answer the security concerns of personal computers. Tails is an acronym that stands for The Amnesic Incognito Live System. The enhanced and most advanced OS is a Debian-based Linux distribution that comes equipped with the features to preserve and ensure privacy and anonymity. Tails pass all the incoming and outgoing data and network connections through Tor which certifies that block every non-anonymous connection and assures that no malware and threat is incorporated. The system is designed to be booted as a live USB or live DVD and comes with a GNU GPLv3 license. Tails are designed to leave no digital footprint on the machine unless the user has enabled a setting to do so.

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3. Kali Linux

Kali Linux, formerly known as BackTrack, is an open-source Debian-derived Linux distribution. The OS comes under the GPLv3 license. The product was designed for forensic experts and pen-testing purposes. Security tools such as Aircrack-ng, Wireshark, kismet, Ettercap, maltgeo, foremost, and such other tools come equipped in the OS thereby ensuring privacy and anonymity via vast enhancements, features, and capabilities enabled in the OS. Kali Linux also provides an integrated graphical cyber attacking tool called Armitage. Kali Linux can be booted via USB or DVD.

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4. Discreete Linux

One of the most enhanced and feature-packed Linux distributions that ensure zero data breaches. The tool comes equipped with advanced capabilities enabling users to secure and protect their precious data including financial transactions or any other private information. The intuitive and minimal OS does not establish any external connections with the internet while a user is working, which separates the data and the cryptographic keys to be more protected from any non-trusted network. Furthermore, the Discreete Linux is a simple live system; thus, you do not need to install it on your computer system inspire you can run it quickly with a USB stick.

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5. Parrot OS

The free and open-source operating system was released in 2013 and comes under the GNU GPL and Creative_Commons license. The advanced Debian-based Linux distribution was designed with security in mind and therefore ensures and provides optimal measures for security, privacy, and development. The OS was designed to detect, identify and refrain from any unauthorized simulated attacks along with any external or internal system vulnerabilities. Parrot OS comes equipped with a portable laboratory that provides system protection from unwanted diseases and is also a forensic expert. With Parrot OS, users can enjoy a seamless browsing experience.

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6. Whonix

Released in 2013 under the GNU GPL v3 and free software license, Whonix is a renowned platform for providing efficient measures and mechanisms for anonymity. Providing security and privacy through anonymity and isolation, the Debian-based Linux distribution was formerly known as the TORBox. As the name suggests, Whonix functions on two virtual machines (VMs), i.e., workstation and gateway. Gateway works as a middle name that passes all the connections through the tor network thereby guaranteeing zero chances of IP address leakages. This way, the platform ensures the overall user’s network security and privacy and also ensures a threat and malware-free operating system.

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7. BlackArch Linux

BlackArch is a penetration testing Linux distribution that is known for its penetration testing capabilities. The tool, despite offering its users the best platform for penetration testing, also provides a list of features that provides and ensures data security and minimizes one's system's vulnerability to threats and malware. The enhanced and advanced penetration testing is a free and open-source operating system that comes with no less than 2600 tools and features to provide utmost security and privacy to one's network and computer system. Despite offering all the commendable functionalities, the tool is significantly lightweight and guarantees an enhanced user experience.

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[Need help in securing your Linux System? We can help you. ]

This article covers best functioning, free and open-source Linux distributions that provide privacy and anonymity such as Qubes, Tails, Kali, Discreete, Parrot, Whonix, and BlackArch. The good thing about Linux is that it has got a distribution for (almost) everyone’s needs. Privacy is not an exception. There are Linux distributions specifically focused on privacy. These privacy-focused Linux distributions provide you with tools and configurations to escape electronic surveillance, hide your digital footprints and retain your anonymity from advertisers, data gatherers, etc.

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