2017 Was a Big Year for Tor


We achieved a lot in the last 12 months.

The free and open internet was under attack in 2017, but Tor was there to fight for privacy and security every step of the way. 

Here are just some of the ways we kept Tor and the fight for internet freedom strong: 

  • We released our next-generation onion services featuring cutting-edge crypto algorithms and improved authentication schemes.
  • We released a big update to Tor Browser, which brought major security improvements to Tor, isolating attacks on our software so they don’t compromise a user’s computer. This process is called sandboxing, and it works by separating Tor network processes from rest of a user’s computer, denying malicious actors access to users’ files, documents, and IP address. Sandboxed Tor Browser is available for Mac and Linux and is coming soon to Windows.
  • We launched our first public bounty, paying people to #HackTor (responsibly!). To date, we’ve paid out over $7,000.
  • Our friends at OONI released the ooniprobe app, a tool for monitoring network surveillance and censorship. They also documented censorship in Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, Egypt, Cuba, Catalonia, and Pakistan.
  • We redesigned our Tor Metrics website and launched the a whole host of new features, including Relay Search.
  • We launched our support wiki, making it easier to find answers to frequently asked questions about Tor.
  • We added a new feature to the Tor network, changing how traffic gets distributed and preventing the network from becoming overwhelmed.

What’s Next

We have big plans for 2018, too. In the next 12 months, we’ll port Tor to mobile (building on work we laid out before), make it easier for third-party developers to integrate Tor’s privacy and security protections into their apps, and make Tor more user-friendly, so that more people can obtain, install, and run Tor, giving more people a highly secure way of browsing the internet without being tracked or monitored or having their personal information shared and exploited.

Join us

We want you to be a part of this important work. We’re always looking for volunteers to help make the world’s strongest privacy software even better. You can help us make the network faster and more decentralized by running a relay, especially if you live in a part of the world where we don’t have a lot of relays yet. If you can, please donate to Tor today


January 10, 2018


For Meltdown, if your kernel is Linux, plz upgrade it to a fixed version.
For Spectre, there is no universal fix yet, I think our best bet is to set the security level in Tor Browser to high and only enable javascript when absolutely necessary.

I agree, adding that all the cybersecurity stuff most of us have been doing all along (regularly updating our systems, avoiding to click on dodgy links) is still worthdoing despite the amazingly disastrous consequences of the complete breakage of the distinction between kernel space and user space memory, because it appears that some currently known examples of Meltdown and Spectre attacks require the attacker to have already gained sufficient access to your device to run their malicious code on it.

My problem is that I rely on the onion mirrors to obtain security upgrades for Debian, and so for I have not seen *any* upgrades from 2018 appear when I use "reload" in Synaptic. But I know from the security-announce mailing list archive that about a dozen have already appeared, including the critical patch to the kernel which should help prevent basic Meltdown attacks.

"high": this blog does not work unless you set the slider to "medium" or "low". I write this using Tails 3.4 which does include the linux kernel patched to defend against basic Meltdown, and also with some patches which could prevent some Spectre attacks.


January 12, 2018


Why is the main venue for discussion on Tor and Meltdown/Specter this comments thread? It's almost halfway into January, shouldn't there be a top level blog post to set out the Tor Project's mitigation plan? Very surprised and disappointed by the inaction shown so far. -


January 13, 2018


From the announcement of the new stable Tor:

> Better crypto (replaced SHA1/DH/RSA1024 with SHA3/ed25519/curve25519)

I see that the new Tails signing subkey is ed25519.

Great stuff, thanks all!


January 14, 2018


Great going in 2017.

It would be great if the community can develop a simpler user guide for TOR. Something non tech people can easily use. This can increase TOR users.

I have made one here https://darkwebnews.com/tor-guide/

I would be happy help and make a better one for TOR community.

OT: I'm not sure where to drop my question so I raise it here.

How safe or unsafe is it to use real name accounts with Tor Browser?

I know that SSL can protect against bad exit nodes to a certain degree but not every bad exit node behaves in an obvious way which for instance provokes browser alerts.

Perhaps using Tor Browser to access real name accounts is not a good idea, when the bank, email provider or company where one is customer knows the user identity anyway?

it is safe without javascript.
few email provider allow that. few company allow an anonymous account so you must access with your real name but you can ask to the admin a pseudo. a bank allows anonymous access , you must ask an alias.
if email provider bank or company do not allow an anonymous access , it is not your account but their account.
is it safe to access in their account with your real name ? it is strongly recommended and not at all anonymous of course but .if they know who you are they should not know where you are.

Not a TP employee or a network engineer, just a user like you, but FWIW:

I have tried to suggest that if banks used onions for their customer account interface, this might provide improved cybersecurity, provided that customers seperate Tor Browser sessions where they wish to surf anonymously from Tor Browser sessions where they wish to log in to some on-line real name account. I do not claim to have attempted to really think this idea through, and I certainly have not tested it, but I have suggested this would be a suitable topic for brainstorming, e.g. at future NYC Tor meetups.

slow as shit on Windows, slow as hell on Android. I updated the browser and always says out of date. Completely pointless

3rd day the browser [7.0.11] is not working, i installed a new DMG and try on 2 computers, both don't open the browser. only a warning window that it's not working

Followup on the problems with the onion mirrors for the Debian repositories which are described in comments above:

These problems seem to be resolved. Over the weekend I saw what appear to be normal (if undesirable) delays, probably due to server overload, but I have been able to upgrade a variety of architectures, both stable (Debian 9, "stretch") and oldstable (Debian 8, "jessie"), both 32 bit and 64 bit, to obtain the crucial anti-Meltdown kernel patch.

After you download the new kernel (and other packages with security upgrades) and reboot, if you have a stable/oldstable system of the most common type (amd64 for 64 bit PCs and laptops) your /proc/version should show respectively
If you have another architecture look in debian.org (using Tor Browser of course!) for the package lists and look up "linux-image" to find the current kernel for your architecture.

Hope this is helpful to other Debian users!

I consider the onion mirrors a long-needed and critical resource for endangered users all over the world. We know from Snowden leaked documents that NSA routinely inserts malware "on the fly" into software being downloaded by "targets", including people who think they are downloading from official "trusted" repositories. Further, they abuse bug reports and system update queries to try to catalog all the unplugged security vulnerabilities on every computing device in the world, just in case NSA/TAO and friends decide to try to "gain a persistent presence" on a particular device (often a server inside a telco, bank, or newspaper). Other nations no doubt do much the same. Thus, Debian users who get their upgrades from the onion mirrors likely gain very considerable protection from some of the nastiest tricksters, in several ways:
o extra confidence they are reaching genuine "trusted" repositories
o extra confidence adversaries will find it more difficult to know they are vulnerable to some publicly known problem before a patch becomes available and before the user can download the patch.

The patched Debian linux kernels became available on 4 Jan and 9 Jan and it is troubling that it apparently took until the weekend of 20 Jan for them to show up in the onion mirrors. I trust TP and DP are working to ensure this situation is not repeated, and that the onions have enough capacity to deal with heavy load at times when everyone is trying to obtain a widely publicized and critical security patch. (Smart users upload all security patches as they become available, but many wait until they hear reports which really frighten them.)

Someone commented in the (closed) Library freedom thread:

> can't exist as long as encryption (pgp e.g.) & to be the owner of our hardware will be prohibited in almost (not all) countries/territories/regions.

I am concerned that this situation might come to pass if we do not work hard to prevent it, but AFAIK this is not currently true: neither PGP nor owning a computer outright are explicitly outlawed in "almost all countries".

I agree that some countries appear to try hard to make using Tor and even open source generally "effectively illegal" (or at least "strongly discouraged") without actually making these literally illegal. Sadly, one country where our enemies are trying very hard to make Tor illegal is the USA, where Tor is based. However, I think Tor is not without friends and it may still make sense to follow the strategy which TP has traditionally followed, of working to ensure that Tor remains fully legal in "the West" while also working to extend "Western" freedoms to Asia, Africa, Latin America, maybe even (one day) China and Russia, and while working to decrease or even eliminate TP's financial dependence upon grants tied to a specific government with often double plus ungood "national interests" (the USA).