Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Tor (The Onion Router)

Tor (anonymity network)
[From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.]

Maintainer: Roger Dingledine and Nick Mathewson
Stable release: 0.1.0.15 (September 23, 2005) [+/-]
Preview release: 0.1.1.9-alpha (November 15, 2005) [+/-]
OS: Cross-platform
Genre: Onion routing
License: BSD license
Website: tor.eff.org

Tor is an implementation of second-generation onion routing - an anonymity system enabling its users to communicate anonymously on the Internet. Originally sponsored by the US Naval Research Laboratory, Tor became an Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) project in late 2004. The EFF supported Tor financially until November 2005, and continues to provide web hosting for the project.

I had to talk about it cause I had the opportunity of using and testing it too. I had read about Tor some time a year back. Then though I tried installing it I could not or rather should I say did not have enough inclination to really get it up and running. Things are a bit different today and I had to find some way of getting across the wall. And I took up the work of getting it running on my machine. It was tough and I can say it might not be easy initially. I had to do a bit of Googling to find out about the configuration details to set things up correctly. If you are expecting a gui based simple approach then this might not be for you. It requires you to have some level of understanding of your network you are on. My initial worry that work on Tor will be slow was dispelled when I actually used it. It might not be very fast but neither is it slow. It works well if you want to get through the wall and only http is allowed. It works well if you really want a truly anonymous presense on the internet. And its licensed under BSD. The code is public domain. its cross platform and can be run on Windows too.
To use the Tor network we will need Tor to be running and a proxy (like Privoxy another open source application) setup.

Check out their wiki at http://wiki.noreply.org/noreply/TheOnionRouter

27th December 2005: Today I found a very useful addon to Tor, the TorCP or the Tor Control Panel. You may download the bundle (TOR, Privoxy and TorCP) or just the TorCP if yu have already installed Tor and Privoxy.

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