Is it safe to run TAILS on a corporate computer?

I mean a corporate computer that has hardware cryptography and probably some backdoors; and, by safe, I mean that nobody will be able to recover what I did with TAILS locally.

ps : by corporate computer I meant a laptop and using it at mcDonalds or starbucks.

  • 1
    Anyone monitoring the network would definitely be able to detect the TOR traffic, though they wouldn't be able to see what you're doing. But why would you take the risk?
    – tlng05
    Dec 29, 2014 at 19:41

2 Answers 2


Tails (https://tails.boum.org/) is a "live" bootable system. That is, you boot it from DVD, USB, etc. According to the "About" page, it forces all traffic through Tor.

If you booted Tails from a work computer, the IT folk would be able to tell that you shut down the OS and rebooted it some time later, "some time" being the length of your Tails session. They'll also be able to tell that you connected to a Tor node. Those two things together are likely to cause some difficult questions from your bosses if they're noticed.

Can they see exactly what you did? Probably not. There are some attacks on Tor detailed here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tor_%28anonymity_network%29#Weaknesses Whether your corporate IT department is up to those I do not know. Probably not. They might, however, try to block Tor, either on general principles or because they noticed activity. Tails claims to be able to circumvent certain kinds of blocking. It is at least plausible that your IT department will notice attempts to circumvent blocking, and quite likely if they've blocked Tor because they observed you using it.

I see that you are in France. I have no idea what the French government thinks of people using Tor, but you should find out before you try it!

Best advice: While at work, do work. While at home, play.

  • I wrongly expressed myself, I don't plan on using this on a desktop workstation using the company network, but on my corporate laptop over starbuck wifi Dec 29, 2014 at 20:04
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    @sliders_alpha: Then it is probable that your corporate IT people will not be able to detect your use of Tail. The people who run the Starbucks network will be able to detect it and may try to block Tor as a matter of business practice. The Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure can also notice if they care to. They might save your encrypted communications as a matter of course, even if they do not try to decrypt them. ibtimes.com/…
    – Bob Brown
    Dec 29, 2014 at 20:50

It depends what type of auditing system they have implemented but if you're taking the laptop to a Starbucks or McDonald's to use their Wi-Fi while running tails on your corporate laptop then the only thing they would be able to detect is that the host OS was offline during that time as suggested above.

However your network communications would not be known to them as your not on their network, making it impossible to know that you were connecting to tor, the only people that would know are the people monitoring the Starbucks or McDonalds network.

Its also possible to for them to know if you plugged in a USB drive or put in a disc to boot from, so be careful and try to understand your company's security policy as well as how thoroughly they audit activity.

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