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[tor-talk] Tor Weekly News â August 13th, 2014

Tor Weekly News                                        August 13th, 2014

Welcome to the thirty-second issue of Tor Weekly News in 2014, the
weekly newsletter that covers what is happening in the Tor community.

Torsocks 2.0 is now considered stable

TorsocksÂ[1] is a wrapper program that will force an applicationâs
network connections to go through the Tor network. David Goulet
releasedÂ[2] version 2.0.0, blessing the new codebase as stable after
more than a year of effortsÂ[3].

Davidâs original email highlighted several reasons for a complete
rewrite of torsocks. Among the issues were maintainability, error
handling, thread safety, and a lack of proper compatibility layer for
multiple architectures. The new implementation addresses all these
issues while staying about the same size as the previous version (4,000
lines of C according to sloccount), and test coverage has been vastly

Torsocks comes in handy when a piece of software does not natively
support the use of a SOCKS proxy. In most cases, the new version may be
safer, as torsocks will prevent DNS requests and non-torified
connections from happening.

Integrators and power users should watch their steps while migrating to
the new version. The configuration file format has changed, and some
applications might behave differently as more system calls are now

  [1]: https://gitweb.torproject.org/torsocks.git/blob/HEAD:/README.md
  [2]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2014-August/007330.html
  [3]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2013-June/004959.html

Next generation Hidden Services and Introduction Points

When Tor clients need to connect to a Hidden Service, the first step is
to create a circuit to its âIntroduction Pointâ. There, the Tor client
serving the Hidden Service will be waiting through another circuit to
agree on a âRendezvous Pointâ and pursue the communication through
circuits connecting to this freshly selected Tor node.

This general design is not subject to any changes in the revision of
hidden servicesÂ[4] currently being worked on. But there are still some
questions left unanswered regarding the best way to select Introduction
Points. George Kadianakis summarizedÂ[5] them as: âHow many IPs should
an HS have? Which relays can be IPs? Whatâs the lifetime of an IP?â

For each of these questions, George collected possible answers and
assessed whether or not they could respond to several attacks identified
in the past. Anyone interested should help with the research needed and
join the discussion.

In the meantime, Michael Rogers is also trying to find waysÂ[6] to
improve hidden service performance in mobile contexts. One way to do so
would be to âkeep the set of introduction points as stable as possibleâ.
However, a naive approach to doing so would ease the job of attackers
trying to locate a hidden service. The idea would be to always use the
same guard and middle node for a given introduction point, but this
might also open the doors to new attacks. Michael suggests experimenting
with the recently published Java research frameworkÂ[7] to gain a better
understanding of the implications.

  [4]: https://gitweb.torproject.org/torspec.git/blob/HEAD:/proposals/224-rend-spec-ng.txt
  [5]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2014-August/007335.html
  [6]: https://fulpool.org/pipermail/hidden-services/2014-August/000019.html
  [7]: https://github.com/drgowen/tor-research-framework

More status reports for July 2014

The wave of regular monthly reports from Tor project members for the
month of July continued, with submissions from Andrew LewmanÂ[8],
Colin C.Â[9], and Damian JohnsonÂ[10].

Roger Dingledine sent out the report for SponsorFÂ[11]. Arturo FilastÃ
described what the OONI teamÂ[12] was up to. The Tails team covered
their activity for June and JulyÂ[13].

  [8]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-reports/2014-August/000615.html
  [9]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-reports/2014-August/000616.html
 [10]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-reports/2014-August/000617.html
 [11]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-reports/2014-August/000619.html
 [12]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-reports/2014-August/000621.html
 [13]: https://tails.boum.org/news/report_2014_06-07/

Miscellaneous news

Two Tor Browser releases are at QA stage: 4.0-alpha-1Â[14] including
meek and a new directory layout, and 3.6.4Â[15] for security fixes.

 [14]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-qa/2014-August/000436.html
 [15]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-qa/2014-August/000439.html

The recent serious attack against Tor hidden servicesÂ[16] was also a
Sybil attack: a large number of malicious nodes joined the network at
once. This led to a renewal of interest in detecting Sybil attacks
against the Tor network more quickly. Karsten Loesing published some
codeÂ[17] computing similarity metrics, and David Fifield has explored
visualizationsÂ[18] of the consensus that made the recent attack

 [16]: https://blog.torproject.org/blog/tor-security-advisory-relay-early-traffic-confirmation-attack
 [17]: https://github.com/kloesing/SAD
 [18]: https://bugs.torproject.org/12813

Gareth Owen sent out an updateÂ[19] about the Java Tor Research
Framework. This prompted a discussion with George Kadianakis and Tim
about the best way to perform fuzz testingÂ[20] on Tor. Have a look if
you want to comment on Timâs approachesÂ[21].

 [19]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2014-August/007328.html
 [20]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuzz_testing
 [21]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2014-August/007334.html

Thanks to Daniel ThillÂ[22] for running a mirror of the Tor Project

 [22]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-mirrors/2014-August/000651.html

ban mentionedÂ[23] a new service collecting donations for the Tor
network. OnionTipÂ[24], set up by Donncha OâCearbhaill, will collect
bitcoins and redistribute them to relay operators who put a bitcoin
address in their contact information. As the redistribution is currently
done according to the consensus weight, Sebastian Hahn warnedÂ[25] that
this might encourage people to âcheat the consensus weightâ because that
now means âmore money from oniontipâ.

 [23]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-relays/2014-August/005073.html 
 [24]: https://oniontip.com/
 [25]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-relays/2014-August/005077.html

Juha Nurmi sent another updateÂ[26] on the ahmia.fi GSoC project.

 [26]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-reports/2014-August/000620.html

News from Tor StackExchange

arvee wants to redirect some TCP connections through Tor on OS XÂ[28];
RedsocksÂ[27] should help to route packets for port 443 over Tor.
mirimir explained that given the user's pf configuration, the setting
âSocksPort 8888â was probably missing.

 [27]: https://tor.stackexchange.com/q/3802/88
 [28]: http://darkk.net.ru/redsocks/

meee asked a question and offered a bounty for an answer: the circuit
handshake entry in Torâs log file contains some numbers, and meee wants
to know what their meaning isÂ[29]: âCircuit handshake stats since last
time: 1833867/1833868 TAP, 159257/159257 NTor.â

 [29]: https://tor.stackexchange.com/q/3213/88

Easy development tasks to get involved with

The bridge distributor BridgeDBÂ[30] usually gives out bridges by
responding to user requests via HTTPS and email. A while ago, BridgeDB
also gave out bridges to a very small number of people who would then
redistribute bridges using their social network. We would like to resume
sending bridges to these people, but only if BridgeDB can be made to
send them via GnuPG-encrypted emailsÂ[31]. If youâd like to dive into
the BridgeDB code and add support for GnuPG-encrypted emails, please
take a look at the ticket and give it a try.

 [30]: https://bridges.torproject.org/
 [31]: https://bugs.torproject.org/9332

Upcoming events

 Aug. 13 13:30 UTC | little-t tor development meeting
                   | https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2014-August/007314.html
                   | #tor-dev, irc.oftc.net
 Aug. 13 16:00 UTC | Pluggable transport online meeting
                   | https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2014-August/007317.html
                   | #tor-dev, irc.oftc.net
 Aug. 18 18:00 UTC | Tor Browser online meeting
                   | #tor-dev, irc.oftc.net
                   | https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tbb-dev/2014-August/000100.html
 August 18         | Roger @ FOCI â14
                   | San Diego, California, USA
                   | https://www.usenix.org/conference/foci14
 August 20-22      | Roger @ USENIX Security Symposium â14
                   | San Diego, California, USA
                   | https://www.usenix.org/conference/usenixsecurity14

This issue of Tor Weekly News has been assembled by Lunar, qbi,
Karsten Loesing, harmony, and Philipp Winter.

Want to continue reading TWN? Please help us create this newsletter.
We still need more volunteers to watch the Tor community and report
important news. Please see the project pageÂ[32], write down your
name and subscribe to the team mailing listÂ[33] if you want to
get involved!

 [32]: https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/TorWeeklyNews
 [33]: https://lists.torproject.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/news-team

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