At the DoD description page they write it is only secure because it is a Live OS (if you got a malware it won't persist for the next boot). But that is it. No other additional security mentioned.
It has Adobe Flash Player installed and the Firefox with the default configuration...
It may be ok for the military guys so they have their own root certificates and commonly used software on a Live OS, but most people should stay away from this.
It has some nice features and on the whole it is useful and stable. But as a security release it has some serious short comings.
First and most glaring is that it doesn't have any way of saving settings from one boot to another. So one has to set up the system to your liking each and every time the system is started.
The system has no facility to change the mac address at will. Nor does it have a way to lock the system if one leave the system unattended for even a short time. That is a big issue with a lot of folks. Noscripts is disabled, if you can believe that, when the system boots. It would be helpful for the system to be able to run TOR too. TOR can be installed but TOR doesn't run. HTTPS is installed and started on boot but it is not set a 'tight' as it could be. Firefox preferences are not set as 'tight' as I would set them. Worse still, Firefox is not set to check for never check for updates. That is a big time security issue.
I believe all of those shortcomings could be coded into the OS it self with out any lots of security.
Another issue I have is the USAF delivers a new version of the OS whenever. And the USAF pretty much states that fact. If ones reviews the release history they will see I am correct.
Lastly and most endearing, if one emails the USAF a comment, suggestion, question, etc. about the OS one rarely, if ever, gets a response.
I think a rating of 8.4 is generous. I am doing a 7. TENS could be a startlingly good OS that would be very useful to a lot of folks. There is a need for such an OS like TENS. But TENS is a product from the government and...well, it is about as useful as most anything the government offers to folks.
To start, I am a servicemember and a DoD employee, so discovering this distro was a godsend. Why don't they tell DoD employees that this exists, and encourage us to use it? Who knows. Normally, if I wanted to access my DoD email or any .mil sites outside of work, I'd either have to check out a work computer and have our IT staff configure a VPN on it (and request VPN access, which is a hundred-step process from hell, as with anything in the government), and then lug that around with me in addition to my regular laptop.
Thanks to this product, I can just carry around my regular laptop. I boot this in a VM on the laptop itself, and am able to do everything I can do on our secure work computers, on my personal laptop, in a secure and contained environment.
My main gripes about this are that you can't install additional applications to it - but hey, it has pretty much everything you'd normally need right out of the box.
If the DoD wants an ideal next step for where to take this, they should build a package manager for it so that one can keep their TENS image up to date, update the applications in it, and install new software (or, the DoD could just use an existing package manager while hosting a repo with up-to-date packages themselves).
I use TENS on a netbook with dual core Atom 1.6 GHz processors and 2 GB RAM. I run it off a USB stick and plug in just when I need it, eg for secure tasks like banking. Although settings cannot be saved in TENS, it is easy to save Firefox browser add-ons, eg firewall, ad block, file downloader, etc via Mozilla Synch facility built in to browser.
You can save bookmarks on a separate memory stick and install into Firefox each time via the 'Bookmarks' tab.
In my opinion, TENS would be better if there were a choice to use the Chromium browser instead of Firefox and make use of all the Chrome apps in the Google Store. Then it would really fly!
My wif fi works well and is very sensitive. If the previous commentator has a problem, try reloading TENS from the source on to a bootable USB and start again..
Useful, secure enough and more versatile than you might think with its range of utilities and other software.