Installing Torbutton on Mandriva 2009.1

As it seems we are all about 2 be surveillanced to an extend where it really starts to hurt even me as an “ordinary” user. So one of the possibilities one has is to use Tor [1]. Tor essentially allows you to browse the internet without others eavesdropping you and tracking, what sites you accessed (or at least, it makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible).

The steps to have it up and running on my Mandriva 2009.1 installation are straight forward:

  • install Tor [1]
    % urpmi tor
    and then start it
    %/etc/init.d/tor start
  • install Privoxy [2]:
    Privoxy is a transparent SOCKS proxy that eventually connects your Firefox with the Tor infrastructure. Basic installation is easy again with urpmi:

    % urpmi privoxy
  • configure Privoxy:
    That is a bit “more” tricky, because the default configuration coming with Mandriva’s Privoxy is – without suprize – not really suitable for Tor usage. So the easiest way to get things going replacte the contents in /etc/privoxy/config with the following lines of magic, coming mostly from [3]

    # Tor listens as a SOCKS4a proxy here:
    forward-socks4a / .
    confdir /etc/privoxy
    logdir /var/log/privoxy
    actionsfile standard.action
    actionsfile default.action
    actionsfile user.action
    filterfile default.filter

    # Don't log interesting things, only startup messages, warnings and errors
    #logfile logfile
    #jarfile jarfile
    #debug 0 # show each GET/POST/CONNECT request
    #debug 4096 # Startup banner and warnings
    debug 8192 # Errors - *we highly recommended enabling this*

    user-manual /usr/share/doc/privoxy/user-manual
    toggle 1
    enable-remote-toggle 0
    enable-edit-actions 0
    enable-remote-http-toggle 0
    buffer-limit 4096

    Then start privoxy:
    % /etc/init.d/privoxy start

  • grab Torbutton [4]:
    What I ideally wanted was a simple tool integrating nicely and easily with my Firefox 3.x, and Torbutton is exactly that. Installation directly from [4] is hasslefree.
  • test drive:
    Right-Click on the red “Tor Disabled” message in the right bottom of the FF statusbar, choose “Preferences” and in the “Proxy Settings” panel left click “Test Settings”. The test may take a while, for me it was 1 minute or so, so be patient.
  • engage:
    If the test from above was successfull, you may turn on Tor by left clicking on the red “Tor Disabled” message in the right bottom of the statusbar and try to access some sites.

    If you feel happy enough to use Tor permantently, you should of course not forget to permantently enable the Tor and privoxy services (eg. using chkconfig).

Not too complicated to do, but a huge security improvement.

The major drawback however is that the connection speed is … “slow” to say at least, but maybe there are still problems on my side.

Next step will be further optimizations and maybe even setting up a Tor relay, but let’s see first how things are going.


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