tor made easy

Tor is the well known Onion Routing network. It lets people communicate over the internet without revealing their location.

Using the Tor network is easy*) if all you need is browsing. Just run Tails or Whonix and browse. The sites can’t figure out where you are. This is good for your privacy, your anonymity. And good for people in countries that censor parts of the rest of the world.

Others use Tor to host a hidden server. It lets them run a site without revealing their location. This is good against censorship too. And to sell contraband to much chagrin of law enforcement.

We offer a different use case: Connect to friends via Tor.

The basics of Eccentric Authentication is to be able to authenticate someone. In other words: to make sure it’s the same person as before. Once that’s established, there is no limits on the form of communication.

In this blog, we’re going to show how to set up the stuff to make that happen. Then we show how to use it to chat with a friend, either with text chat or voice chat.

*) Using Tor safely requires a bit more consideration. One must make sure to obey certain do’s and don’ts to prevent leaking of identifying information. Especially against active attacks to determine one’s identity or location.

setting up

Download this virtual machine and run it. Direct: eccentric-demo-3.ova or via torrent: eccentric-demo-3.ova.torrent.

using it

In the VM, log in with username ‘user’ and password ‘user’. If you need, user root has password root.

  • Double click the “Ecca Proxy 1” icon.
    It starts the user agent service. It opens in a terminal and will show lots of debugging. Ignore that for now.

  • Double click the “Iceweasel 1” icon.
    It starts the Firefox browser that uses the Ecca Proxy 1 for its authentication services. In other words: it uses the Proxy 1 to do all the cryptographic work for you.

  • The browser opens with http://cryptoblog.wtmnd.nl
    Notice: it doesn’t use https but don’t worry, the ecca-proxy takes care of security (and does use https).

  • Browse the menu entry “The Blogs”;
    Feel free to read any blogs, just don’t press any buttons on those blog pages, we’ll get to them later,

  • After reading, get back to “The Blogs” and press the “Create blog” link.
    Expect a page stating: 401 - Eccentric Authentication required. This page is your Ecca Proxy 1 telling you the site requires you to log in with an account.
    As you don’t have any, it offers to create an account.
    Either specify a username (the part before @@) or let your ecca-proxy generate an ‘anon-12345678’ random username. If the name is still available, you’ll get it, otherwise chose a (slighty) different one. It should take a few seconds to sign up.
    When that succeeds, you’ll get a split screen. On top, it’s the ecca-proxy telling you it has created and account and logged you in. At the main part, it’s the cryptoblog site waiting for your blog.
    Be creative and write something that would attract some followers. When finished, post your blog.

Now, we leave this browser window and pretend to be a different user who comes across your blog.

  • Double click the “Ecca Proxy 2” icon. It starts up a second (and independent) proxy.
    Then double click the “Iceweasel 2” icon. It will represent your different user.

  • Select “The blogs” and select the blog you just wrote in Proxy 1.
    You could write a comment and post it to the world. Feel free to do so.
    Or you could send a private message that is encrypted so only the (from Iceweasel/Proxy 1 could read it).

  • Or you could invite your alter ego (from Proxy 1) for a chat via Tor.
    To do so: click the “Send invitation to connect”-button.
    Select ‘chat’; it’s simpler to test that two audio streams to and from your computer.

Your Proxy 2 now does a few things:

  1. It creates a Tor Hidden Service for you. This will be the listening point for the other user to connect to.

  2. It sends its address in a private message to your alter ego.

  3. It keeps waiting for the intended computer to connect (your first user) and kicks everyone else out. It’s a private connection.

Now go back to Iceweasel 1. Browse to the ‘Read Messages’ tab and behold, there is an invitation from your second account. When you click the ‘Connect’-button, the Proxy 1 makes a connection to the Tor Hidden Service address and both sides start the chat app.

Happy chatting.