Onionize Against Censorship, Big Tor Browser Updates, Volunteer ❤, Events

Published on 2018-01-31

// Activists & News Orgs: Onionize Your Sites Against Censorship //

In many countries, censorship of websites with critical information or news is commonplace. If opinions, analysis, or facts contrary to the country’s narrative are published, repressive governments can quickly silence those voices by blocking access to those websites.

For instance, in September 2017, one day after Human Rights Watch released a report on systematic torture in Egypt’s jails, Egypt blocked access to the HRW website, curtailing its people’s access to the report and leaving them uninformed about their own countries treatment of its citizens. Egypt has also blocked numerous news sites, including Al Jazeera, so when AJ reported on Egypt’s block of HRW after the report on torture was released, the most critical audience, the Egyptian people, were less likely to be reached.

Publishing a website using onion services over the Tor network is a way to circumvent many state-led methods of censorship. These website addresses end in the TLD .onion. Similar to how the https:// protocol of a website provides more security than the http:// protocol, an onion address also appears to be the same site but gives a visitor more privacy and security through end-to-end encryption and improved authentication.

Visiting an onion address is easy. All that’s needed is Tor Browser (Tor Browser is built from Firefox and is similar to use); you visit the onion address in Tor Browser like you visit any web address.

Here’s the onion address of torproject.org: http://expyuzz4wqqyqhjn.onion/

The New York Times has an onion address: https://www.nytimes3xbfgragh.onion/

So does ProPublica: https://www.propub3r6espa33w.onion/

Download Tor Browser and check them out.

If your organization’s site is already blocked anywhere in the world, or if you are calling out injustices, sharing state-suppressed resources, or just want to provide your site and users with better privacy and security, creating an onion version of your website should be your next step.

Alec Muffett, a security researcher and longtime member of the Tor Community, has created the Enterprise Onion Toolkit (EOTK) to make it easier for you to give a public site a corresponding onion address. You can ping Alec on Twitter or join the EOTK mailing list if you have any questions about how to use it.

We want a free and open internet for all, so let’s onionize and build it.

// Tor Browser has a New Launcher & Now Supports Next-Gen Onion Services //

The Tor Browser Team proudly announced the first stable release in the 7.5 series. This release is available from the Tor Browser Project page and also from our distribution directory.

Apart from the usual Firefox security updates it contains some notable improvements compared to the 7.0 series. Here are the highlights:

Redesigned Tor Launcher

Support for the Next Generation of Onion Services

Enabled content sandboxing on Windows

Moved away from Gitian/tor-browser-bundle as the base of our reproducible builds environment

Learn more about the improvements and checkout the full changelog: https://blog.torproject.org/tor-browser-75-released

// Volunteer Spotlights //

Alec Helps Companies Activate Onion Services

Alec has worked in security for 30 years, and has long recognized the importance of distributed systems and Tor’s onion routing features: “Enabling two peers to communicate with nobody 'getting between' them was part of the intention of the original internet. Nowadays there's a saying: 'if you want to share a photo with a friend, why do you have to give it to a multi-billion-dollar corporation, first?'; but Tor offers a disintermediation solution for this, and perhaps all similar, problems."

He continues: "I believe that disintermediated communication is an important capability, and so I built the Enterprise Onion Toolkit to assist publishers, writers, and virtual communities to connect directly, securely, efficiently, and without intermediaries, to their audiences and membership.” Read more about Alec and the EOTK: https://blog.torproject.org/volunteer-spotlight-alec-helps-companies-activate-onion-services

Kat, a Privacy Activism Veteran, Has Been Around Tor People Longer than There's Been a Tor

We like to thank our volunteer relay operators by sending them a Tor t-shirt, and Kat helps Jon get those t-shirts out the door. She’s also helping with the website, as we begin our redesign and revamp our support and community portals. As if all that wasn’t enough, Kat has also set up her own relay, making the Tor network faster, more reliable, and more decentralized.

Setting up a relay is easy, she says. “I'd encourage anyone who has access to a server, some bandwidth, and reasonable sysadmin skills to give it a go. More relays mean a stronger Tor network, which means we can better protect the privacy of Tor users around the world.”

“I want everyone to be able to communicate freely so they can work together to make their worlds better places,” she says. “I care deeply about privacy, both in the ‘right to be let alone’ sense and in the ‘space to build and nurture one's identity’ sense.” Read more about Kat and her work with Tor: https://blog.torproject.org/volunteer-spotlight-kat-privacy-activism-veteran

DONATE NOW: donate.torproject.org

// Upcoming Events with Tor //

Explore Tor, NYC! Meetup and Q&A, NYU Tandon, February 15, 2017: https://blog.torproject.org/explore-tor-nyc-meetup-feb-15

Scholar and Feminist Conference Self-Defense Lab with Alison, Barnard College, February 16, 2017: https://blog.torproject.org/events/barnard-college-scholar-and-feminist-conference-self-defense-lab-alison

LibrePlanet, Cambridge, March 24-25, 2017: https://blog.torproject.org/events/many-tor-people-cambridge-libreplanet

// Thanks to the 3260 donors who made our end-of-year campaign such a success! //

With Mozilla's generous matching grant, we raised $420,522.84 in less than three months. You can still take a stand against tracking, surveillance, and censorship. Donate to the Tor Project today, and power the digital resistance: donate.torproject.org

--

The Tor Project is a US 501(c)(3) non-profit organization advancing human rights and freedoms by creating and deploying free and open-source anonymity and privacy technologies, supporting their unrestricted availability and use, and furthering their scientific and popular understanding.

Twitter: twitter.com/torproject Facebook: facebook.com/torproject

Volunteer Love, LatAm & NYC Meetups + Upcoming Event

Published on 2017-12-31

// We <3 Tor Volunteers! //

Tor is a labor of love, built by a small group of committed individuals, but we’re lucky to have the support of a dedicated volunteer base who help us make Tor the strongest anonymity tool out there.

Damian Johnson, aka atagar, has been contributing to Tor since 2009, when he was developing a real-time relay which started as a Google’s Summer of Code application. Damian has since become central to Tor.

In the past eight years, he has continued to develop arm (which just got a big overhaul, and is now called Nyx) and Stem, a Python controller library to use with Tor. He also graduated to running Google’s Summer of Code for six years, runs DocTor, a tool which monitors relay consensus health, and helps us run Tor’s many mailing lists, and helps onboard new core Tor members.

We’re grateful to Damian’s commitment to internet freedom, and for rolling up his sleeves and helping to improve Tor. Thank you, Damian!

We want to keep showing our volunteers some love, so if we don't reach out to you and you'd like to be featured in a volunteer spotlight, let Steph or Tommy know.

// Explore Tor, NYC! A New Meetup Starting December 7 //

The Tor community is vast and deep yet remains a virtual entity outside periodic physical events. In NYC on December 7, we are going to start to change that with a new meetup happening every two months: Explore Tor, NYC! Our first topic of discussion will be Running a Relay.

Current and future Tor relay operators will assemble on the 20th floor of 150 Broadway, in the LMHQ shared meeting space, at 6:45 PM. This face-to-face gathering is an opportunity to meet others who run Tor relays in NYC, and for those investigating the possibility of running a relay or a bridge. NYC apartments and offices are filled with high-bandwidth connections, and there is plenty to spare to help users around the world facing censorship and surveillance. Learn more about the meetup: https://blog.torproject.org/explore-tor-new-york-city-new-meetup-starting-dec-7

We hope you'll consider running a relay, especially if you live in a part of the world where we don’t have a lot of relays yet. We'll be releasing what we want to become a comprehensive guide to running a relay in the next few weeks and look forward to your questions and feedback.

// The Intersection of Technology, Culture, and Politics in LatAm //

Last weekend, a Tor meetup was held during the Primavera Hacker festival (hacker spring), a yearly free gathering organized in Santiago de Chile around the relationships between technology, politics, and culture in every aspect of contemporary life. It's necessary and urgent to open up the discussion on the use, design, and development of technology, how it is incorporated in daily life, and to encourage the development of alternative solutions that come from the communities themselves.

The context in Latin America has many faces and shapes. Extreme capitalism, femicides, and wide spread corruption are just a few. Sadly, some of these issues are also replicated into the digital world.

Tor offers a set of tools that can help people protect themselves and challenge some of these issues. The interception of communications, corporate surveillance, and digital threats are just around the corner. But there are yet many other communities to reach and contexts to be discovered, such as academic and technical groups.

The Tor meetup in Santiago, along with other meetups held in the region, is a tiny step in the effort to fill this gap. Join the Tor global south mailing list to stay tuned about other meetups and activities: https://lists.torproject.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/global-south

// Tor is a vital tool for protecting privacy and resisting repressive censorship and surveillance around the world, and you can help us make it stronger. //

Mozilla is generously matching every donation up to $500,000, so now’s your chance to double your impact towards a more free and open internet for all.

DONATE NOW: donate.torproject.org

// Upcoming Events with Tor //

[Explore Tor, NYC!] Running a Relay; December 7, 2017: https://blog.torproject.org/events/running-relay-explore-tor-nyc

Library Freedom Project training with Alison; Free Library of Philadelphia; December 8, 2017: https://blog.torproject.org/events/alison-does-library-freedom-project-training-free-library-philadelphia

Cyber Challenges to International Human Rights; Jerusalem; December 11-12, 2017: https://blog.torproject.org/events/roger-does-two-tor-talks-israel

34C3; Leipzig, Germany; December 27-30, 2017: https://blog.torproject.org/events/many-tor-people-leipzig-ccc

--

The Tor Project is a US 501(c)(3) non-profit organization advancing human rights and freedoms by creating and deploying free and open-source anonymity and privacy technologies, supporting their unrestricted availability and use, and furthering their scientific and popular understanding.

Twitter: twitter.com/torproject Facebook: facebook.com/torproject

Next-Gen Onions, Bastet, KIST, Mobile Browsing, Events

Published on 2017-11-08

We've got a lot to tell you.

To keep you informed with updates and opportunities from across the organization, we’re starting Tor News again and will send it around once a month to start. This format is a little different than what some of you originally signed up for, but we hope you’ll stick around and hear what Tor is doing to protect internet freedom. We're now using CiviCRM to send Tor News, and as in the past, we will not publish, sell, trade, share, or rent any information about you. If you’d rather unsubscribe, you can in the footer below. As always, we have team-specific mailing lists you can join.

Here’s what we’ve been up to.

Our New Harvest: the Next Generation of Onion Services

We are hyped to present the next generation of onion services! We've been working on this project non-stop for the past 4 years and we officially launched it a couple weeks ago by publishing our first alpha releases.

We are assuming you are familiar with traditional onion services: fun little sites that look like nytimes3xbfgragh.onion. Onion services have been around for over 10 years and are used for all sorts of tasty things. News organizations use them for private information disclosure (see SecureDrop). Websites use them to defeat censorship and provide a secure gateway for their users (e.g. ProPublica). The cryptocurrency ecosystem uses them to perform private transactions and mining. People use them for their reachability and permanent onion address if they are behind NAT or dynamic IP.

We believe that being able to express yourself and publish content with privacy is as important as being able to browse the web privately, and hence we consider onion services a critical part of the internet.

So let's get a taste of the improvements these next generation onions provide us with:

On the cryptography side, we are looking at cutting-edge crypto algorithms and improved authentication schemes. On the protocol end, we redesigned the directory system to defend against info leaks and reduce the overall attack surface. Read more: blog.torproject.org/tors-fall-harvest-next-generation-onion-services

Introducing Bastet: Our New Directory Authority

How does the network choose the route that Tor traffic takes through the network? How does every Tor user get the same information on relays? How does Tor authenticate the connection to any given relay?

The answer is through directory authorities — dedicated servers which tell Tor clients which relays make up the Tor network. Information about these directory authorities, located around the world and maintained by super trusted we-know-you-and-have-had-many-beers-with-you Tor volunteers, are hard-coded into Tor. Every hour, these volunteer-run directory authorities vote on and reach a consensus on the relays that make up the Tor network.

We added a new directory authority last month, increasing the diversity and stability of the directory authority system. The latest authority, named “Bastet” after the ancient Egyptian goddess, is run by Tor contributor Stefani. Continue reading: blog.torproject.org/introducing-bastet-our-new-directory-authority

Tor's Traffic Got KIST

Starting with Tor 0.3.2.1-alpha, we've had a new feature to address traffic congestion in the Tor network. The new algorithm —Kernel Informed Socket Transport (KIST)— prevents connections between Tor relays from becoming overwhelmed by changing how traffic is distributed throughout the Tor network.

The previous design often meant too much data was being written to each Tor relay connection, which would overwhelm relays and lead to traffic delays. KIST, on the other hand, intelligently considers how to write data across all connections to other relays in a way that allows traffic to pass through the network more quickly. Clients can run KIST, but the benefits accrue when it’s widely used by relays. Currently, KIST is only available on Linux-like systems because of how they handle TCP information, but a variant, KISTlite, runs on all systems. Learn more: blog.torproject.org/kist-and-tell-tors-new-traffic-scheduling-feature

We're Upping Our Support to Mobile Browsing

Around a year ago, folks from the Tor Project and the Guardian Project met to discuss the future of Tor Browser on mobile devices. The discussion began with Orfox, a Google Summer of Code (GSoC) project for mobile browsing over the Tor network. Since then, we have been working towards Orfox having similar functionality and security guarantees as Tor Browser for desktop.

Our first improvement was to port the Security Slider from Tor Browser desktop to Orfox. To adapt this feature from a desktop application into a mobile application, we had to change how the UI works for the mobile screen. Learn more about our plans for mobile: blog.torproject.org/blog/upping-support-mobile-browsing

Upcoming Events with Tor: https://blog.torproject.org/events/month

Vasilis at ENUCOMP, Parnaíba, Brazil; November 15-17, 2017 Alison at the International Forum Freedom of Research; Paris, France; November 16-18, 201 Vasilis at V INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM LAVITS 2017, Santiago, Chile; November 29, 2017 - December 01, 2017 ilv, gus, vasilis and others at Primavera Hacker 17, Santiago, Chile; December 02-03, 2017

Take a Stand Against Tracking, Censorship, and Surveillance

There's never been a better time to donate to the Tor Project. Give today, and Mozilla will match your donation. We're standing up for privacy and powering digital resistance. Join us: https://www.torproject.org/donate-email2

The Tor Project is a US 501(c)(3) non-profit organization advancing human rights and freedoms by creating and deploying free and open-source anonymity and privacy technologies, supporting their unrestricted availability and use, and furthering their scientific and popular understanding.

Power Digital Resistance with Tor!

Published on 2017-10-27

Power Digital Resistance with Tor!

“I think Tor is the most important privacy-enhancing technology project being used today.” —Edward Snowden

Friend,

Thank you so much for being a member of the Tor community. As part of the Tor Project’s end-of-year fundraising campaign, we’re highlighting how Tor powers digital resistance and promotes and protects essential human rights around the world.

And if you donate now, Mozilla will match your donation up to a total of $500,000!

MAKE A DONATION: https://donate.torproject.org

For the past decade, we’ve been building and distributing software that saves lives. Activists and journalists use Tor to alert the world to human rights abuses, people in countries that censor the internet use Tor to access critical resources, and ordinary users use Tor to evade pervasive surveillance and tracking. Millions of people rely on Tor every day for a safer, more secure way to access the internet.

This vital work is made possible thanks, in no small part, to supporters like you.

Corporate whistleblowers, health care workers, politicians, lawyers, and members of marginalized communities all depend on Tor to protect themselves. We’ve got big plans for improving Tor in 2018, bringing its privacy protections to mobile devices and encouraging more third-party developers to integrate Tor’s protection into their apps.

Let’s fight for free expression together. Donate today, get some cool swag, and have your gift matched by Mozilla’s generous matching program.

We rely on the generous support of our donors, and you can help us make the world’s strongest privacy tool even stronger by lending a hand. Whether you can give $5 or $500, you’ll be helping promote basic human rights worldwide. Join the digital resistance and support the Tor Project today!

Yours in privacy, Tommy

Tommy Collison Writer/Editor The Tor Project

MAKE A DONATION: https://donate.torproject.org

Sandboxing, Tor Metrics Library, Hackfest, Job Opening, Upcoming Events

Published on 2017-07-07

Tor Browser Now Protects Your Privacy with Sandboxing

Tor Browser now protects your privacy with sandboxing: https://blog.torproject.org/blog/tor-browser-70-released While we are still working on the sandboxing part for Windows, both Linux and macOS have had content sandboxing enabled by default since Tor Browser 7.0. Sandboxing creates a separate environment within your computer, so it's harder for exploits to reveal your identity. The idea is that exploits targeting Tor Browser are trapped inside the sandbox and can’t get out and mess with the rest of your computer or deanonymize you. To learn more, check out this Q&A with Yawning Angel, a longtime Tor developer, about his work on a Linux prototype for a Tor Browser sandbox: https://blog.torproject.org/blog/q-and-yawning-angel

The Wilmington Watch: A Tor Hackfest

The Tor network team is a small team responsible for developing the core Tor daemon. They're located around the globe, so they periodically meet in person for team hackfests to keep our team fresh and up to date with all things Tor, and to fast-track features and improvements.

They worked intensely for several days and nights in Wilmington, researching, planning, and cooking meals for each other. Find out what they worked on: https://blog.torproject.org/blog/network-team-hackfest-wilmington-watch

Tor Descriptors à la carte: Tor Metrics Library 2

We're often asked by researchers, users, and journalists for Tor network data. How can you find out how many people use the Tor network daily? How many relays make up the network? How many times has Tor Browser been downloaded in your language? In order to get to these answers from archived data, we have to continuously fetch, parse, and evaluate Tor descriptors. We do this with the Tor Metrics Library. The Tor Metrics Team has proudly announced major improvements and launched Tor Metrics Library version 2.0.0: https://blog.torproject.org/blog/tor-descriptors-la-carte-tor-metrics-library-2

We're Hiring a Browser Developer

As a browser developer, your job would be to work closely with other members of the Tor Browser development team on C++ patches to our Firefox-based browser, writing new APIs, altering functionality for privacy and security, and making improvements to our collection of Firefox add-ons (JavaScript code). Learn more: https://www.torproject.org/about/jobs-browserdeveloper.html.en

Upcoming Events with Tor

Help Us Protect Your Privacy and Anonymity. Make a Donation: https://donate.torproject.org

The Tor Project is a US 501(c)(3) non-profit organization advancing human rights and freedoms by creating and deploying free and open-source anonymity and privacy technologies, supporting their unrestricted availability and use, and furthering their scientific and popular understanding.