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Re: [tor-talk] Questions about Directory Authority Servers

On Mon, Oct 15, 2018 at 08:08:03PM +0000, panoramix.druida wrote:
> From my understanding when a Tor proxy is started it downloads a list of relays from one of the ten  Directory Authority Servers listed here:
> https://metrics.torproject.org/rs.html#search/flag:authority
> Am I right?

Almost. First, it's actually only the nine v3 directory authorities.
The tenth one you see there, Serge, is a bridge authority, which is
different. And second, modern Tor clients fetch from a much larger
list, called the fallback directories, which are 100 or so relatively
stable relays.

The v3 directory authorities are responsible for collectively creating
the hourly networkstatus document, but that doesn't mean they need to
be the bottleneck for serving it.

You can learn more about the various roles here:

> If so who run these servers and how the people running them are chosen? I would like to know a bit on the governance on how this authority servers are chosen.

The simple answer is that we choose good people from among the core
Tor participant community.

You can learn more about the community here:

And more about our selection goals here:

> What could go wrong if one or more of these servers are compromise?

In theory, not much happens if a minority of them are compromised. If
a majority are compromised, things start to go bad, for example because
the attacker could create their own competing networkstatus documents.

Overall the v3 directory design still seems like a win though in terms
of trust, compared to the more-complex more-decentralized approaches,
where the complexity brings in new attacks, e.g.:


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