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The Tor browser
#1
The Tor browser
Hey, guys!
What do you think about the Tor browser?
To me it seems like it's going to become a necessity for doing research on-line sooner or later. Chinese Internet censorship has gotten quite severe in the last few years (they've banned Wikipedia *again* recently, and quite a few VPNs have stopped working), so has the Turkish (Wikipedia has been banned for years now there), and the destructive laws similar to SOPA and PIPA will soon be implemented in the European Union, and it's hard to predict what kind of effect it's going to have. Wikipedia is probably safe in the EU, but it's hard to tell whether Britannica is safe, yet alone if the blogs and free hosting services are safe. I don't think the Croatian right-wing media is exaggerating the situation here (maybe a little, they seem to be implying it's going to happen now, when it probably will happen, but after a few years).
So, I think there are two important questions about the Tor browser:
1. Is Tor going to last longer than the VPNs as a censorship circumvention method? To me it seems like Tor is going to last as long as Microsoft wants it to. If Microsoft prevents domain fronting and prevents its VPS-es to be used as Tor bridges, Tor as we know it is over. Google, Amazon and Cloudflare have already done that, but, as far as I can see, Microsoft puts slightly more effort into protecting free speech and anonymity on-line. Since GitHub has been acquired by Microsoft, Microsoft can also decide to delete the source code of Tor from GitHub, thereby making making the development and downloading Tor harder, but there is no indication it will do that. VPNs will work as long as ISPs aren't willing to block them, they are, as far as I am aware, as easy to block as an ordinary website is. So I think Tor is going to last for longer.
2. Does using the "meek-azure" protocol really make it impossible for ISPs to see that you are using Tor? Of course, using ordinary Tor (or, for that sake, a VPN) makes it impossible for your ISP and/or government to see which websites you are visiting, but they can see that you are using Tor or VPN and suppose you are engaging in illegal activities. My understanding is that using "meek-azure" protocol makes connecting to the Tor network, from the perspective of the ISP, indistinguishable from connecting to some Microsoft server to, for instance, download JQuery or something else hosted on it. The only shortcoming is that it is significantly slower to connect to the Tor network that way. However, once you've connected to it that way, you can perhaps get the IP addresses of some obfs4 proxies, which are way faster than meek-azure, but that brings us to the third question:
3. Does using the "obfs4" protocol really make it impossible for your ISP to see that you are using Tor? And my guess is that it actually doesn't. The ISP can see that you are connecting to some unknown server using an unknown and cyphered protocol. In "obfs2", the ISP can see that it's indeed a Tor server by closely examining the TLS. In "obfs3", it can see it's a Tor server if it attempts to communicate with it, and it responds in a way typical for a Tor server. If you are using the "obfs4" protocol, it can't easily prove you are using Tor, but you are at least suspicious then.
Let's hear your thoughts!
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#2
RE: The Tor browser
1. Tor has nothing to do with Microsoft. Microsoft disallowing Tor exit nodes on Azure will just mean exit nodes will move to a new host that does allow them. There are plenty of options. If Microsoft deletes the Tor GitHub repo, the Tor project will just move it to a new service (e.g. GitLab, BitBucket).

2. Yes, obfuscation layers such as meek and obfs4 make it impossible, or at the very least highly unlikely for an ISP to know you are using TOR. They achieve this by accepting TOR packets that are disguised as other service protocols. Theoretically even an ISP doing deep packet analysis wouldn’t be able to tell what the traffic was.
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#3
RE: The Tor browser
Tiberius Wrote:Microsoft disallowing Tor exit nodes on Azure will just mean exit nodes will move to a new host that does allow them.
I am not talking about exit nodes, I mean the BRIDGES that can be used by the meek protocol. See here:
https://blog.torproject.org/domain-front...l-open-web
Until both ESNI and DNS over TLS become widely accepted (and they might not become widely accepted for quite a while, because the governments can make those things illegal to be used by the servers operating in their country), Microsoft can easily stop the meek protocol from working, thereby making Tor stop being a viable method of circumventing the Internet censorship. Do you think I am wrong?
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#4
RE: The Tor browser
I've never felt the need for the Tor browser. Why? Because I'm not worried about being watched when I'm not doing anything illegal.

Similarly, I've never understood people who tell me that I should put some tape over my webcam, either. How can anybody who hacks into my webcam actually harm me? How does seeing my face harm me? What if they see me masturbating? Is masturbation illegal? No.

If you're a criminal or a cop then the Tor browser makes sense. If you get irrationally squeamish about being spied on even when the spy can do know harm to you ... then the Tor browser makes sense (but, makes sense to you only because you're irrational). Otherwise, it's pointless.
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#5
RE: The Tor browser
(June 16, 2019 at 7:33 am)SenseMaker007 Wrote: I've never felt the need for the Tor browser. Why? Because I'm not worried about being watched when I'm not doing anything illegal.

Similarly, I've never understood people who tell me that I should put some tape over my webcam, either. How can anybody who hacks into my webcam actually harm me? How does seeing my face harm me? What if they see me masturbating? Is masturbation illegal? No.

If you're a criminal or a cop then the Tor browser makes sense. If you get irrationally squeamish about being spied on even when the spy can do know harm to you ... then the Tor browser makes sense (but, makes sense to you only because you're irrational). Otherwise, it's pointless.

You think you have nothing to hide. So had the people who had their identity stolen been thinking... until that happened. "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about." is one of the most dangerous ways of thinking. And, by the way, I am not much interested in the pornography on the Internet.

What I care about most is, for example, what if mainstream search engines stop indexing HRCAK (the biggest Croatian on-line archive of the academic journals) in response to the Article 11? Or what if HRCAK itself becomes illegal due to Article 13, along with all the similar services? Then circumventing the censorship becomes a necessity in order to do any kind of research on-line. And what if all the large blogging services decide to censor all the anti-government content (as they are pretty much doing already), and the small blogging services can't afford to operate in the European Union due to Article 13? Then, in order to get any kind of unbiased picture about current events, you need to circumvent the censorship. And so on...
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#6
RE: The Tor browser
It's fun to use to lurk around the deep web, Not that I would recommend it
"For the only way to eternal glory is a life lived in service of our Lord, FSM; Verily it is FSM who is the perfect being the name higher than all names, king of all kings and will bestow upon us all, one day, The great reclaiming"  -The Prophet Boiardi-

FSM Grin
Lost Sheep I've defeated with the power of FSM:  Clickable Link  Newest member: John 6IX Breezy Most Defeated: Drippy Drich
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#7
RE: The Tor browser
(June 16, 2019 at 11:01 am)Nay_Sayer Wrote: It's fun to use to lurk around the deep web, Not that I would recommend it

And what do you think is on the Dark Web? Did you know FaceBook and New York Times have dedicated servers to be more fast to access from the Tor browser? And there are also a few sites on the dark web containing mostly academic papers, for example, about the glaciers, which are illegal to publish on-line due to the nonsensical copyright laws.
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#8
RE: The Tor browser
(June 16, 2019 at 1:02 pm)FlatAssembler Wrote:
(June 16, 2019 at 11:01 am)Nay_Sayer Wrote: It's fun to use to lurk around the deep web, Not that I would recommend it

And what do you think is on the Dark Web? Did you know FaceBook and New York Times have dedicated servers to be more fast to access from the Tor browser? And there are also a few sites on the dark web containing mostly academic papers, for example, about the glaciers, which are illegal to publish on-line due to the nonsensical copyright laws.
There is an onion link that I use. Mostly silk road clones.
"For the only way to eternal glory is a life lived in service of our Lord, FSM; Verily it is FSM who is the perfect being the name higher than all names, king of all kings and will bestow upon us all, one day, The great reclaiming"  -The Prophet Boiardi-

FSM Grin
Lost Sheep I've defeated with the power of FSM:  Clickable Link  Newest member: John 6IX Breezy Most Defeated: Drippy Drich
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#9
RE: The Tor browser
(June 16, 2019 at 8:29 am)FlatAssembler Wrote: You think you have nothing to hide. So had the people who had their identity stolen been thinking... until that happened. "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about." is one of the most dangerous ways of thinking. And, by the way, I am not much interested in the pornography on the Internet.

People who have their identity stolen are just unlucky. Even without the Tor browser.

I'm far more likely to get cancer before age 40 ... and I'm far more worried about something like that.

And ... I'm not paranoid.
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#10
RE: The Tor browser
(June 16, 2019 at 8:29 am)FlatAssembler Wrote:
(June 16, 2019 at 7:33 am)SenseMaker007 Wrote: I've never felt the need for the Tor browser. Why? Because I'm not worried about being watched when I'm not doing anything illegal.

Similarly, I've never understood people who tell me that I should put some tape over my webcam, either. How can anybody who hacks into my webcam actually harm me? How does seeing my face harm me? What if they see me masturbating? Is masturbation illegal? No.

If you're a criminal or a cop then the Tor browser makes sense. If you get irrationally squeamish about being spied on even when the spy can do know harm to you ... then the Tor browser makes sense (but, makes sense to you only because you're irrational). Otherwise, it's pointless.

You think you have nothing to hide. So had the people who had their identity stolen been thinking... until that happened. "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about." is one of the most dangerous ways of thinking. And, by the way, I am not much interested in the pornography on the Internet.

What I care about most is, for example, what if mainstream search engines stop indexing HRCAK (the biggest Croatian on-line archive of the academic journals) in response to the Article 11? Or what if HRCAK itself becomes illegal due to Article 13, along with all the similar services? Then circumventing the censorship becomes a necessity in order to do any kind of research on-line. And what if all the large blogging services decide to censor all the anti-government content (as they are pretty much doing already), and the small blogging services can't afford to operate in the European Union due to Article 13? Then, in order to get any kind of unbiased picture about current events, you need to circumvent the censorship. And so on...

Until banks and other companies that house sensitive info start securing their shit better, I doubt using Tor can protect you from identity theft.
Memento Mori
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