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[tor-talk] Tor Weekly News â September 4th, 2015

Tor Weekly News                                      September 4th, 2015

Welcome to the thirty-fourth issue in 2015 of Tor Weekly News, the
weekly newsletter that covers whatâs happening in the Tor community.


 1. Tor Browser 5.0.2 and 5.5a2 are out
 2. Final reports from two Summer of Privacy students
 3. Should cloud-based Tor relays be rejected?
 4. Miscellaneous news
 5. Upcoming events

Tor Browser 5.0.2 and 5.5a2 are out

The Tor Browser team announced new stable and alpha releases of the
privacy-preserving web browser. Version 5.0.2 [1] fixes a bug that was
causing the browserâs launcher icons in the Ubuntu Unity and GNOME
desktops to be duplicated, and includes a newer version of the NoScript
add-on. Version 5.5a2 [2] incorporates these updates along with another
small crash bug fix from the stable series.

Both new releases include important security updates to their respective
Firefox versions, so please ensure you upgrade as soon as possible. If
you are already running a recent Tor Browser, it has probably updated
itself already; if not, head to the project page [3] to download your
copy now.

  [1]: https://blog.torproject.org/blog/tor-browser-502-released
  [2]: https://blog.torproject.org/blog/tor-browser-55a2-released
  [3]: https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html

Final reports from two Summer of Privacy students

Two of the developers participating in Torâs first-ever Summer of
Privacy coding season [4], Jesse Victors [5] and Donncha
OâCearbhaill [6], submitted their final progress reports after months of
intensive development.

Jesseâs DNS-like naming system for onion services is already in a
testable state [7]. âAll of the infrastructure for OnioNS is in placeâ,
and while a few protocols are still to be finished, âthe client-side and
HS-side software is pretty reliable and stable at this pointâ, with
support for Debian, Ubuntu, Mint, and Fedora. Development will continue
into the future, and âonce the OnioNS software is fully ready, no
modifications to Tor should be necessary to merge OnioNS into the Tor

Donnchaâs project, the onion service load-balancing manager
OnionBalance, has also seen one testing release [8], and the next steps
in development are to package the software for Debian, clarify the
documentation, and implement âsmartcard / HSM support master service key
storage and signingâ. âIâll continue developing OnionBalance so that if
possible, it can facilitate some form of load balancing and redundancy
with next-gen hidden servicesâ.

Congratulations to Jesse and Donncha on getting their innovative
projects to this stage, and thanks to the mentors and coordinators who
have made the Summer of Privacy a success. The southern-hemisphere
development timetable is still ongoing, however, so stay tuned for
updates from Israel and CristÃbal Leiva on their TSoP projects.

  [4]: https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/org/TorSoP
  [5]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2015-August/009375.html
  [6]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2015-August/009376.html
  [7]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2015-August/009221.html
  [8]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-talk/2015-July/038312.html

Should cloud-based Tor relays be rejected?

Observing that âwe sometimes see attacks from relays that are hosted on
cloud platformsâ, Philipp Winter investigated [9] the actual benefit to
the Tor network that these relays provide. He found that in an average
consensus from July 2015, âcloud-hosted relays contributed only around
0.8% of bandwidthâ (with the caveat that âthis is just a lower boundâ).
Rejecting such relays from the consensus might force attackers to jump
through more hoops, but would mean âobtaining the netblocks that are
periodically published by all three (and perhaps more) cloud providersâ.

Tim Wilson-Brown (teor) wondered [10] about the effect this might have
on Tor developers and researchers who would like to use cloud-based
relays, while nusenu requested [11] that any rejection be publicly
documented âso volunteers donât waste their time and money setting up
blacklisted relaysâ.

  [9]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2015-August/009389.html
 [10]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2015-August/009390.html
 [11]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2015-August/009391.html

Miscellaneous news

Karsten Loesing announced [12] version 2.6 of Onionoo, the Tor network
data observatory. This release adds two new relay family-related fields
to details documents that, together with the âeffective_familyâ field
introduced in version 2.4, replace the older âfamilyâ field, which is
now deprecated. These new fields support different family-mapping
use-cases that may be required by Tor network tools such as Atlas,
Globe, and Roster. âThe current âfamilyâ field will stay available until
Atlas and Globe are updated. If I should also wait for other clients to
be updated, please let me know.â

 [12]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2015-August/009385.html

After several television appearances over the past few years, Tor made
its literary debut last month in the fourth installment of the late
Stieg Larssonâs Millennium series. A warm Tor community welcome to
Lisbeth Salander â though a subscription to Tor Weekly News might clear
up some of her misconceptionsâ [13]

 [13]: http://penguinrandomhouse.ca/content/penguin-random-house-canada/blog/excerpt-girl-spiders-web

Upcoming events

  Sep 07 17:00 UTC | OONI development meeting
                   | #ooni, irc.oftc.net
  Sep 07 18:00 UTC | Tor Browser meeting
                   | #tor-dev, irc.oftc.net
  Sep 08 18:00 UTC | little-t tor patch workshop
                   | #tor-dev, irc.oftc.net
  Sep 09 13:30 UTC | little-t tor development meeting
                   | #tor-dev, irc.oftc.net
  Sep 09 14:00 UTC | Measurement team meeting
                   | #tor-project, irc.oftc.net
  Sep 12 19:00 UTC | Tails low-hanging fruit session
                   | #tails-dev, irc.oftc.net
                   | https://mailman.boum.org/pipermail/tails-project/2015-September/000301.html
  Sep 27 - Oct 03  | Tor summer dev meeting 2015
                   | Berlin, Germany
                   | https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/org/meetings/2015SummerDevMeeting
  Oct 01 - Oct 03  | ADINA15: A Dive Into Network Anomalies
                   | Rome, Italy
                   | https://ooni.torproject.org/event/adina15/

This issue of Tor Weekly News has been assembled by Harmony.

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