Monday, November 26, 2007

Smell something bad. It's not from this onion.

Tor is a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet.

It also enables software developers to create new communication tools with built-in privacy features. Tor provides the foundation for a range of applications that allow organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy.

Tor allows clients and relays to offer hidden services. That is, you can offer a web server, SSH server, etc., without revealing your IP address to its users. In fact, because you don't use any public address, you can run a hidden service from behind your firewall.

Staying anonymous
Tor can't solve all anonymity problems. It focuses only on protecting the transport of data. You need to use protocol-specific support software if you don't want the sites you visit to see your identifying information. For example, you can use web proxies such as Privoxy while web browsing to block cookies and withhold information about your browser type.

Also, to protect your anonymity, be smart. Don't provide your name or other revealing information in web forms. Be aware that, like all anonymizing networks that are fast enough for web browsing, Tor does not provide protection against end-to-end timing attacks: If your attacker can watch the traffic coming out of your computer, and also the traffic arriving at your chosen destination, he can use statistical analysis to discover that they are part of the same circuit.

I am far from a security expert. My understanding of TOR is that it creates a tunnel where the data is encrypted once it hits the first router and is passed to multiple routers and handed back off to the destination unencrypted of course. The TOR web site shows you are encypted leaving your browser. I need to run some tests to see if this is true and I will update the blog later with the results. Read the link below for more details. I will include a article later on testing your TOR as well.

Warning: Want Tor to really work?

Basically this ensures your privacy from the far end web site. Your data and URL history (Destination IPaddress and or DNSname) still passes through your corprate network and DNS servers or local internet service provider unencrypted. You aren't hiding anything,this is simply securing your privacy from the far end. Privoxy will also help to ensure your privacy by blocking browser info and cookies.

The bad thing is that all of your internet traffic will use the TOR network and you don't know who the owners of the TOR routers are. In the work environment this is a serious problem because you could be compromising your companys security and your own. I take pride in my work and who I work for.

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