How to Configure Anonymous Web Surfing on Linux with Tor

Tor is a Open Source distributed network of virtual tunnels for the purpose of anonmity online.  Here is a excerpt from their site describing the mission of Tor:

Ongoing trends in law, policy, and technology threaten anonymity as never before, undermining our ability to speak and read freely online. These trends also undermine national security and critical infrastructure by making communication among individuals, organizations, corporations, and governments more vulnerable to analysis. Each new user and relay provides additional diversity, enhancing Tor’s ability to put control over your security and privacy back into your hands.

In simple words Tor helps disguise your true IP address, making it more difficult on third partyies to snoop on your web browsing.  For my installation I’m using Fedora 13 i686 and Firefox version 3.1.13.

Goals of this post:

– Install Tor client
– Install Polipo proxy
– Install Torbutton Firefox extensions

Install Tor and Polipo from yum.

yum install polipo

Start Tor and Polipo.

[root@mattcom ~]# service polipo start
Starting polipo:                                           [  OK  ]
[root@mattcom ~]# service tor start
Starting /usr/bin/tor:                                     [  OK  ]

Check Polipo to what port it is listening on.  Many online tutorials including the default Firefox plugin configure Polipo to listen on port 8118.  In Fedora by default Polipo listens on 8123.  This is important information; when we configure Firefox to use Polipo as a proxy to forward to the Tor client. Navigate to ‘/var/log/’ and check the port we need to set in Firefox.

[root@mattcom log]# tail Polipo

Established listening socket on port 8123.
[root@mattcom log]#

Polipo must be set to forward to the Tor client.

[root@mattcom ~]# cd /etc/polipo/
[root@mattcom polipo]# ls
config  forbidden
[root@mattcom polipo]# nano config

# Uncomment this if you want to use a parent SOCKS proxy:
socksParentProxy = “localhost:9050”

Install the Torbutton Firefox extension(addons.mozilla.org).  Torbutton has a built-in status indicator and automatically adjust your proxy settings.  Except after installation the network proxy setting will have to be adjusted to the correct Polipo port.

The last step is to click on Torbutton in the bottom right hand corner of the Firefox browser.  It should light up green.  Go to http://www.whatismyip.com/ verify that the IP ADDRESS they see is different from your actual one.

Written by mattb in: Linux | Tags: , , , , ,

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