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The Tor BSD Diversity Project is encouraging and enabling BSD-using firms to operate Tor relays.
In 2015, Mozilla deployed twelve Tor relays. This is a significant step in increasing the bandwidth of the Tor network and extending the legitimacy of anonymous communications.
As of June 2015, BSD-running Tor relays account for under 5% of total network bandwidth. If firms that employed *BSD infrastructures contributed Tor relays, that number could change drastically.
TDP is directly querying *BSD firms with adequate infrastructure and staff to replicate Mozilla’s commendable efforts. Configuring and maintaining a Tor relay is a small cost for any entity seeking to strengthen the global anonymity network. TDP is looking to not only encourage this step, but also to assist these firms on various levels.
TDP could either administer the server or assist the relay administrator(s). The Tor-BSD mailing list could be of assistance, not to mention the Tor relays list.
None of the current TDP relays are exit nodes, however, examples such as the Bynum Law Office PLLC node should remove some of the relevant legal black magic.
A simplified, well-commented torrc file is here
Our implementation recommendations include:
use an IP space separate from the production network
keep the relays physically separate from the production network
previously used hardware can be employed, but consider well-supported network interface cards and drivers for high-bandwidth relays
optimizing FreeBSD may not be necessary, while changes for other BSDs are quite simple
OpenBSD requires some /etc/login.conf changes, and the ports/packages only includes the stable version of Tor, and if time is no constraint, run and maintain Tor on a recent snapshot
ensure there is a regular routine of maintaining and updating the relays’ ports/packages and base operating system, especially the SSL implementation
particular attention should be made to keeping the Tor port/package updated, as anonymity is an “arms race” that can require critical changes to the code
consider using the unstable version of Tor as opposed to the stable version, as the former version gets more attention
in the case the entity is operating more than one relay, make sure the MyFamily knob is designated in the torrc file
for high-bandwidth relays, please consult these links for every insight
For firms that use BSDs, there are multiple benefits in running Tor relays.
First, Tor relays can be a useful platform for assessing the BSDs’ networking stacks. It’s an opportunity to test portable BSD code such as LibreSSL and hardware encryption in a production scenario, as system changes are not detrimental to the business.
Second, providing a more prominent role to the BSDs encourages the overwhelmingly youthful crowd of Tor relay users and administrators to begin trying and using BSDs. Potentially, the pool of BSD-familiar administrators could grow, strengthening the entire BSD ecosystem.
Finally, more Tor relays run by competent BSD sysadmins can mean more upstream patches and changes beneficial to everyone.
More generally, the case for corporate use of anonymity and privacy technologies has grown. Most profoundly noticeable among journalists, these technologies will become fundamental aspects of corporate IT infrastructure. The safest means of ensuring the integrity of firms employing the Tor network is to contribute Tor relays themselves.
Every firm has an interest in anonymity and privacy technologies, particularly in a competitive global economy. Industrial espionage is the norm, not the exception. Firms’ activities cross borders as a norm, and the globe is saturated by surveillance and censorship by a variety of hostile parties. Tor is a critical tool in mitigating such threats.
Please contact us with any questions on deploying Tor relays on BSDs. We hope our efforts increase the number of BSD-running Tor relays, simultaneously strengthening the Tor network.
verbal agreement for two relays on 100mbps pipes at a provider
Copyright © 2016 by The Tor BSD Diversity Project (TDP). All Rights Reserved.
last updated: Sun Feb 19 21:10:03 2017 UTC