Monday, 3 February 2014


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Running the Tor client on Microsoft Windows

Note that these are advanced installation instructions for running Tor. If you want to use Tor just for anonymous web browsing, simply download the Tor Browser Bundleand you are done.

If you want to relay traffic for others to help the network grow (please do), read the Configuring a relay guide.
Freedom House has produced a video on how to install Tor. You can view it at How to install Tor on Windows. Know of a better video, or one translated into your language? Let us know!

Step One: Download and Install Tor

The Vidalia Bundles for Windows contain Tor and Vidalia (a graphical user interface for Tor). They come in different flavors, preconfigured for a convenient setup: The Relay bundle is set to forward traffic for other Tor users, the Bridge bundle turns your computer into a bridge. Apart from that preconfiguration, all Vidalia bundles are the same and can easily be reconfigured.
For anonymous web browsing, please use Tor Browser and not one of the Vidalia bundles. If you want to use Tor as a client for other applications, download one of the Vidalia bundles and turn it into a client (Settings -> Sharing -> Run as a client only).
tor installer splash page
If you have previously installed Tor and Vidalia you can deselect whichever components you do not need to install in the dialog shown below.
select components to install
After you have completed the installer, the components you selected will automatically be started for you.

Step Two: Configure your applications to use Tor

Tor: Pluggable Transports

An increasing number of censoring countries are using Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) to classify Internet traffic flows by protocol. While Tor uses bridge relays to get around a censor that blocks by IP address, the censor can use DPI to recognize and filter Tor traffic flows even when they connect to unexpected IP addresses.
Pluggable transports transform the Tor traffic flow between the client and the bridge. This way, censors who monitor traffic between the client and the bridge will see innocent-looking transformed traffic instead of the actual Tor traffic. External programs can talk to Tor clients and Tor bridges using the pluggable transport API, to make it easier to build interoperable programs.

  • Obfsproxy is a Python framework for implementing new pluggable transports. It uses Twisted for its networking needs, and pyptlib for some pluggable transport-related features. It supports the obfs2 and obfs3 pluggable transports. Maintained by George Kadianakis.
    Status: Deployed
  • Flashproxy turns ordinary web browsers into bridges using websockets, and has a little python stub to hook Tor clients to the websocket connection. See its web pagegit repository, and design paper. Maintained by David Fifield.
    Status: Deployed
  • ScrambleSuit is a pluggable transport that protects against follow-up probing attacks and is also capable of changing its network fingerprint (packet length distribution, inter-arrival times, etc.). It's part of the Obfsproxy framework. See its official page. Maintained by Philipp Winter.
    Status: Undeployed
  • StegoTorus is an Obfsproxy fork that extends it to a) split Tor streams across multiple connections to avoid packet size signatures, and b) embed the traffic flows in traces that look like html, javascript, or pdf. See its git repository. Maintained by Zack Weinberg.
    Status: Undeployed
  • SkypeMorph transforms Tor traffic flows so they look like Skype Video. See its source code and design paper. Maintained by Ian Goldberg.
    Status: Undeployed
  • Dust aims to provide a packet-based (rather than connection-based) DPI-resistant protocol. See its git repository. Maintained by Brandon Wiley.
    Status: Undeployed
  • Format-Transforming Encryption (FTE) transforms Tor traffic to arbitrary formats using their language descriptions. See the research paper and web page.
    Status: Undeployed

Hubblecast 13: A "Cosmic Fossil" by Hubble Space Telescope
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