Scripps J School at Ohio University Trip Report

Ohio University EW Scripps Journalism School Trip Report for 07 to 09 November 2012

Danny O'Brien of Committee to Protect Journalists and I were invited to talk to journalism students at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism in Ohio University. The topics were around computer security risks and protections from the perspective of journalists. CPJ maintains a great guide for reporters to survive dangerous situations appropriately called the Journalist Security Guide. This covers both offline and online situations. My role was to highlight the experience of Tor, what we've seen, and how we've protected both citizen and professional journalists the world over. I also covered using Tails as one tool in your toolbox to let you do the work of a journalist from anywhere.

Andy Alexander was our host for the three days. We started off with a great dinner to share information about what both Danny and I have learned over the past few years in working with journalists. Andy has a long career of experience in foreign correspondence and reporting. His experiences covering a few decades highlight the need for journalists to learn how to protect themselves when reporting anywhere in the world.

The next day was a first-year class about journalism in general. Danny and I presented to around 200 students. The computer couldn't read my USB drive, so I couldn't use my presentation, rather I used the website to quickly cover Tor, how it works, and why journalists should care. I then discussed a range of attacks against an individual from fairly basic malware infections through more advanced traffic analysis and content swapping. My PirateBox did work, so anyone could get the presentations and copies of Tor locally if they so desired.

We had a great lunch with Professor Kalyango and then head off to WOUB for a 30 minute podcast/radio interview.

Afterwards, we went off to the main panel event to talk to fourth year and graduate students about online security and the risks for journalists. Once again, the USB drive couldn't be read, but the PirateBox worked fine. The lecture lasted around 90 minutes with a Q&A session. Unlike the freshman class, a number of people had questions or wanted to verify what Danny and I stated.

We were then taken out to dinner by the top students at the J School. It was a great Middle Eastern kabob place to have an hour of discussions with the students.

And thanks to Lindsay for getting up at 06:30 to drive me to the airport and for the great discussion along the way. I look forward to reading her dispatches from East Africa in the near future.

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Tails 0.14 is out!

Tails, The Amnesic Incognito Live System, version 0.14, is out.

All users must upgrade as soon as possible.

Download it now.

Thank you, and congrats, to everyone who helped make this happen!


Notable user-visible changes include:

  • Tor
  • Iceweasel
    • Upgrade iceweasel to 10.0.10esr-1+tails1, with anonymity enhancing patches from the TorBrowser applied
    • Fix Iceweasel's file associations. No more should you be suggested to open a PDF in the GIMP
  • Hardware support
    • Upgrade Linux to 3.2.32
    • Support more than 4GB of RAM
    • Support more than one CPU core
  • Miscellaneous
    • Mostly fix memory wiping at shutdown
    • gpgApplet can now handle public-key cryptography
    • Add a persistence preset for NetworkManager connections
    • Better support setting up persistence on large USB sticks
    • Make boot faster by fixing a read-ahead bug
    • Make shutdown faster by disabling useless scripts
  • Localization
    • Custom software is now translated in many more languages
    • Add Japanese input system

Plus the usual bunch of bug reports and minor improvements.

See the online
for technical details.

Don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

Updated Tor Cloud images

The Tor Cloud images for all the seven regions have been updated to include the latest cloud image for stable Ubuntu release 12.04.1 LTS (Precise Pangolin). These new images are available on the Tor Cloud website. You will not need to start a new instance you are already running a Tor Cloud instance with Ubuntu Precise.

Top changes in Tor since the 2004 design paper (Part 3)

In this third and final installment of Nick Mathewson and Steven Murdoch's blog series (previously part 1 and part 2) we discuss how Tor has made its traffic harder to fingerprint, as well as usability and security improvements to how users interact with Tor. read more »

New Tor Browser Bundles and alpha bundles

All of the Tor Browser Bundles have been updated with the latest Firefox 10.0.10esr release and all of the alpha packages, including the alpha Tor Browser Bundles, have been updated with the latest release of Tor

Further notes about Tor Browser Bundle updates:

Tor Browser Bundle (2.2.39-5)

  • Update Firefox to 10.0.10esr
  • Update NoScript to 2.5.9

Tor Browser Bundle (2.3.24-alpha-1)

  • Update Tor to
  • Update Firefox to 10.0.10esr
  • Update NoScript to 2.5.9
  • Update HTTPS Everywhere to 4.0development.2

New Tor Browser Bundles and alpha bundles

The stable Tor Browser Bundles have been updated to fix a crash bug that existed in the previous version. If you were experiencing problems, please update and let us know if you have any further problems.

All alpha bundles have also been updated to Tor We've downgraded the Firefox version in the alpha Tor Browser Bundles to 10.0.9esr and will continue to keep the same version of Firefox in both bundles for the foreseeable future. In addition to that, the Linux and OS X versions have automatic port selection re-enabled, so those of you who were experiencing trouble running a concurrent system Tor on those systems should no longer have any issues.

All users who were using Tor are strongly encouraged to upgrade.

Further notes about Tor Browser Bundle updates:

Tor Browser Bundle (2.2.39-4)

  • Update Firefox patches to prevent crashing (closes: #7128)
  • Update HTTPS Everywhere to 3.0.2
  • Update NoScript to 2.5.8

Tor Browser Bundle (2.3.23-alpha-1)

  • Update Tor to
  • Update Firefox to 10.0.9esr
  • Update HTTPS Everywhere to 4.0development.1
  • Update NoScript to 2.5.8
  • Re-enable automatic Control and SOCKS port selection on Linux and OSX

Top changes in Tor since the 2004 design paper (Part 2)

This is part 2 of Nick Mathewson and Steven Murdoch's series on what has changed in Tor's design since the original design paper in 2004. Part one is back over here.

In this installment, we cover changes in how we pick and use nodes in our circuits, and general anticensorship features. read more »

New Tor Browser Bundles

All of the stable Tor Browser Bundles have been updated with the latest Firefox 10.0.9esr release.

Further notes about Tor Browser Bundle updates:

Tor Browser Bundle (2.2.39-3)

  • Update Firefox to 10.0.9esr
  • Update Torbutton to
  • Update NoScript to 2.5.7
  • Update HTTPS Everywhere to 2.2.2
  • Update libpng to 1.5.13
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