Enhancing your privacy further with Squid and Tor

In my last post I described how to use Squid and Privoxy to enhance your privacy while surfing the internet. We want to push this a little bit further by adding onion routing with Tor. If you heard about Tor but don’t really know how it works, I suggest reading the Tor overview first.

Based on my last post we’ll build an even longer chain of proxies: a request from our browser is sent to Squid and handed to Privoxy which in turn will hand it to Tor. Then the request makes its way through the onion router network and finally reaches the web server. The performance of the onion router network may be bad and sometimes worse. Unless you really want to take care of your anonymity (who doesn’t 😉 ) I suggest not using Tor. It’s not one of those things you just do for fun because it doesn’t hurt. If you’re paranoid enough and aren’t scared off to wait at best thirty seconds for one website to load then you should read on.

Configuring Tor

If you’re using a Debian system and aren’t on the unstable branch, you have to put the following into /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb http://ftp.debian.org/debian unstable main contrib non-free

Depending on your release you have to put this line into /etc/apt/apt.conf to prevent future updates coming from the unstable branch:

APT::Default-Release "testing";

After that you can use aptitude to install Tor:

aptitude update
aptitude install tor socat

Finally we need to tell Squid to forward requests to Privoxy, i.e. use it as a parent proxy. If you haven’t already done so add the following to squid.conf:

cache_peer localhost parent 8118 7 no-digest no-query
never_direct allow all

And Privoxy should forward to Tor. Put this into Privoxy’s config file:

forward-socks4a / .

That’s it. After starting Squid, Privoxy and Tor you’re ready to retrieve websites.

Torify everything

The problem with this setup is that it leaks DNS requests. I recommend reading the Torify Howto or the section Anonymizing various applications on Uwe Hermanns blog, if you’d like to get rid of this.