Tor Network

Anonymize your instant messaging traffic over the Tor Network.

Tor, which stands for “The Onion Router”, is an open-sourced software that allows people to hide their internet traffic by bouncing it through a series of routers that are not aware of the start-point and end-point of the packets. Routing traffic this way makes it impossible to trace the packets back to a real person.

Tor also wraps traffic in encrypted layers as it transports it through the Tor network, giving plain-text traffic transport layer encryption.

V2 and V3 .onion Addressses

A v2 .onion address is easier to use than a v3 address because it is much shorter. If you are interested in the technical difference, review this page.

I have experienced moments in which the v2 address resolves (connects) and the v3 address does not resolve from my home in Colombia. At that moment of inconsistency, I tested from a remote server in Canada and both addresses resolve properly there. This has to be because of a problem on the Tor network and not a server issue. The linux commands used to prove that the .onion addresses resolve:

curl --socks5-hostname 127.0.0.1:9050 e2eee76tt2ptmcau.onion
curl --socks5-hostname 127.0.0.1:9050 e2eee76htm7znipwviwbjzdy7spoeje2gzcn23jyl77pplvhfa7lfyqd.onion

The Tor Browser

The Tor Project has created a browser that uses the Tor network. The Tor browser is easy to install and requires no special configuration. The Tor browser can be used to access e2e.ee, including the web client.

To access the e2e.ee web client using the Tor Browser, use one of the onion addresses copied from this page.

Running Tor as a Service

To connect a software client through Tor, you will need to install the Tor service. On Windows or Linux the Tor service just runs in the background and listens for connections from you on port 9050. When you send traffic to port 9050 on your localhost, the traffic will be routed through Tor.

Linux

On Linux, installing and configuring Tor is very easy. Just run the commands to install it and configure it as you prefer. Here are the commands on Debian:

sudo apt -y install tor        #install tor service
sudo service tor stop          #stop tor service
sudo service tor start         #start tor service
sudo update-rc.d tor enable    #enable tor service for auto-start on reboot
sudo update-rc.d tor disable   #tor service will not auto-start on reboot

Windows

In Windows, the install of Tor service is not as automatic, but the principal is the same. First, download the Windows Expert Bundle.

You will have a file called tor-win32-0.4.3.5.zip. Unzip the file and enter the directory called Tor. You will find a number of files. The one that runs the Tor service is Tor.exe. For the first run of the process, I recommend that it be run from a command prompt because doing so will allow you to kill the process by typing Control+C within the cmd window.

Running Tor as a service in Windows.

If you want to run Tor as a more permanent service on windows, first ensure that the directory is in a more permanent location. I have moved mine from “C:\temp\Tor” to “C:\Program Files (x86)\Tor”.

Next, run "c:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe" as administrator.

On the windows command line, we will run the following commands:

cd "c:\Program Files (x86)"\Tor\
echo #torrc is the CONFIGURATION FILE for the Tor Service > torrc
tor.exe --service install -options -f "c:\Program Files (x86)\Tor\torrc"

Change directory, create a torrc file, then add tor.exe as a service.

Tor is now a service on Windows that can be managed through the Windows Services Dialog.

Testing Tor with Firefox

The firefox browser is ideal for testing that Tor is working correctly. This is because Firefox is the same on Linux and Windows and because it allows you to configure a proxy just for the browser.

From the Menu button on Firefox, find “Options”. In the search menu at the top, type “proxy”, then click the “Settings” button.

In the Connections dialog, select Manual Proxy Configuration, Socks Host: 127.0.0.1, Port 9050, and choose Proxy DNS when using SOCKS v5.

Now, visit the webpage check.torproject.org with the Firefox browser. If the page shows green onion, you are using Tor. If not, disable all of the addons, especially any that provide VPN services. Manage Addons from about:addons.

Disable Firefox Addons.

Once you have verified that Firefox can see a green onion on the page check.torproject.org, you can use the Firefox browser to connect to any .onion address!

You can return Firefox to not use Tor service through the “Connection Settings” dialog by selecting the “No Proxy” option.

Connecting Gajim over Tor

Before you begin, take your Gajim client offline.

Launch the Accounts dialog from the main menu. For the account in question, click "Connection".

Gajim has a prebuilt Tor configuration. You can review it by clicking the wrench button.

Select the prebuilt Tor proxy.

Including a hostname and port is recommended. By doing so, your traffic will not appear on the open internet from Tor exit-node to e2e.ee. The hostname should be either the v2 or v3 .onion address displayed on this page.

When connecting over Tor and indicating a hostname, Gajim periodically fails with this message. This is likely due to poor performance of the Tor network. In my tests, turning off the hostname and port solves the problem.

Connecting Psi-Plus over Tor

The configuration for Psi-Plus to connect over Tor is identical to that of Gajim. If you prefer to avoid sending traffic from a Tor exit node, you can indicate a Host and Port as shown.

Connecting Pidgin over Tor

Here we see that Pidgin also offers the same configuration as Gajim and Psi-Plus.


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Last modified July 2, 2020