Creative Commons

2007-08-13 20:20:19

Be Anonymous with Tor and Privoxy

So I decided that I've had enough of the world knowing what I'm doing. I've gone anonymous with Tor and Privoxy. What are they, you ask? Privoxy is a proxy server, that also has many settings to strip ads and such. Tor is a network of virtual tunnels that allow us to anonymize our traffic. You can read more about Tor at their website and Privoxy at their website.
So, I installed Privoxy from the RPM and Tor from the tarball (since the RPM complained about dependencies that I actually had). After installing both of them, I had to edit both of their configs. So, editing /etc/privoxy/config to point Privoxy to Tor:
forward-socks4a / .
Then editing /usr/local/etc/tor/torrc (copied from torrc.sample) to tell Tor that my firewall is Fascist and only allows ports 80 and 443 outboung:
FascistFirewall 1
After those two changes, start Privoxy (via `service privoxy start`) and Tor (via `tor`). Privoxy should tell you everything is OK, but Tor might take a few seconds until it gathers enough information to create a "circuit" (it will tell you of this), at which point you can throw it to the background.
Now you have to tell your programs to use Privoxy/Tor in order for your traffic to be anonymous. First things first, clear your private data... all of it. I don't care if you have to reenter all of your passwords, clear everything! Then install the Torbutton extension for Firefox. This will do nothing more than configure Firefox's proxy settings for localhost:8118. It will also give you a nice status in your statusbar saying whether Tor is enabled or not. That's it for Firefox, visit this page to make sure your browsing is anonymous,
If you use Pidgin, which you should, edit your account to use a SOCKS 5 proxy, host, port 9050. The initial connect will take about a minute til your connection finds it's way through the Tor network, so don't give up so soon like I did.
If you use Thunderbird, which you also should, there's also a Torbutton extension for that too. One catch is if you use the same server for POP (incoming) and SMTP (outgoing). You probably won't be able to use Tor for your outgoing mail, but you can use it for incoming. So, figure out the IP for your mail server and use that for your SMTP server. Then go to Thunderbird's network settings and exclude that IP in the proxy list. That will make your incoming mail anonymous but still let your outgoing mail act like normal.
Those are the normal programs you might use. If you do a lot of work from the console, like I do, you should also configure the HTTP_PROXY variable so your console HTTP access is anonymous. If you use tcsh for your shell, which you should, add the following line to the end of your /etc/csh.cshrc:
That's it, happy anonymous internet usage!


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