cloud

Updated Tor Cloud images, and action required

The Tor Cloud images for all the seven regions have been updated to include the latest cloud image for stable Ubuntu release 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx). These new images are available on the Tor Cloud website.

If you are already running a Tor Cloud bridge, you will need to either manually update your image, or set up a new Tor Cloud bridge and terminate the old one. If you decide not to take action, your image may fail to download package updates correctly.

What follows is an important message from the ubuntu-cloud mailing list:

In an effort to improve on reliability of the Ubuntu archive mirrors for EC2 instances, Canonical is replacing the existing EC2 archive mirrors with mirrors backed by Amazon S3. This change itself will be done via modification of DNS entries and will be transparent to users.

However, due to a bug in the http pipelining implementation in S3 a change to apt configuration needs to be made to avoid download errors. We have chosen to deliver this change via a package upgrade in cloud-init.

The action required is one of the following:

  • Upgrade cloud-init using sudo apt-get update ; sudo apt-get install -y cloud-init
  • Launch official AMI's released after 2012-04-01, which will have the fix included
  • Manually disable http pipeline use in apt using echo 'Acquire::http::Pipeline-Depth "0";' | sudo tee /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/99-no-pipelining

Should you choose not to take appropriate action, you will likely experience transient apt downloading errors after the change is implemented. In order to give appropriate time to apply the change, this transition will not occur before April 18, 2012.

Set up a bridge or a relay and join the Tor network today

The Tor network relies on volunteers to donate bandwidth. The more people who run Tor as a bridge or a relay, the faster and safer the network becomes. Tactical Tech created a video to encourage you to join the Tor Network. The video, and information about how you can set up a bridge or a relay, can be found on https://www.torproject.org/relays. If you want to help us translate the video into your language, let us know!

The full HD video can be found here: https://media.torproject.org/video/2012-03-04-BuildingBridges-HD.ogv

Refreshed 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 10.04.4 LTS (Lucid Lynx). These new images are available on the Tor Cloud website.

Users who wish to update their existing installations can do so with: apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade && reboot.

Updated Tor Cloud images

The Tor Cloud images for all the seven regions have been updated to include the anonymizing relay monitor (arm). This works much like top does for system usage, providing real time statistics for bandwidth, cpu, memory usage, current Tor configuration, connection details etc.

If you're already running a Tor Cloud instance and wish to install arm, connect to your instance with SSH and run sudo aptitude install tor-arm.

Run Tor as a bridge in the Amazon Cloud

The Tor Cloud project gives you a user-friendly way of deploying bridges to help users access an uncensored Internet. By setting up a bridge, you donate bandwidth to the Tor network and help improve the safety and speed at which users can access the Internet.

Bridges are Tor relays that aren't listed in the main directory. This means that to use a bridge, you'll need to locate one first. And because there is no complete public list of all the bridges, they are also harder to block. A bridge will act as the first hop in a circuit, and will only forward traffic on to other relays in the Tor network.

Setting up a Tor bridge on Amazon EC2 is simple and will only take you a couple of minutes. The images have been configured with automatic package updates and port forwarding, so you do not have to worry about Tor not working or the server not getting security updates.

You should not have to do anything once the instance is up and running. Tor will start up as a bridge, confirm that it is reachable from the outside, and then tell the bridge authority that it exists. After that, the address for your bridge will be given out to users.

To help new customers get started in the cloud, Amazon is introducing a free usage tier. The Tor Cloud images are all micro instances, and new customers will be able to run a free micro instance for a whole year. The Tor Cloud images have been configured with a bandwidth limit, so customers who don't qualify for the free usage tier should only have to pay an estimated $30 a month.

For more information, see the Tor Cloud website.

UPDATE: Some users have asked about the AWS free usage tier and pointed out that it only includes 15 GB of bandwidth out per month. I have updated the Tor Cloud website (changes should go live soon) with the following:

The Tor Cloud images have been configured to use no more than 40 GB of bandwidth out per month. We have estimated that customers who do not qualify for the free usage tier will pay up to $30 a month. Customers who qualify for the free usage tier, but who run bridges that use more than 15 GB of bandwidth out per month, will pay up to $3 per month.

I hope that this better clarifies the cost of running a bridge in the Amazon cloud, let me know if you have any questions.

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