What’s this all about?

TorBox is an easy to use, anonymizing router based on a Raspberry Pi. TorBox creates a separate WiFi that routes the encrypted network data over the Tor network. The type of client (desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile, etc.) and operating system on the client don’t matter.

Tor, on which TorBox is based, encrypts your network data from your client to the Tor exit node, overcomes censorship, and anonymizes your data stream. Commonly, Tor is used by the Tor Browser, which facilitates surfing the web or accessing hidden services (.onion – Websites). However, there are also other programs using Tor, like the Tor Messenger and TorBirdy (an extension for ​Mozilla Thunderbird). Though wouldn’t it convenient to route all your data through the Tor network, independently from the client, the service, and the program be used?

TorBox accomplishes this by creating a separate WiFi and routing all network data over the Tor network. The TorBox image file, available here (about 675 MB), can be run on a low-priced Raspberry Pi.

TorBox can be connected to an Internet router through cable, but it can also be used in connection with another (unsecured) WiFi, even if it has a captive portal.

Three different ways to transfer data (all without https://): left - normal data transfer over an unsecured connection; center - access to web pages using Tor Browser (other protocols and mobile devices are left out); right - access to various services using diverse devices through TorBox.
Three different ways to transfer data (all without https://): left – normal data transfer over an unsecured connection; center – access to web pages using Tor Browser (other protocols and mobile devices are left out); right – access to various services using diverse devices through TorBox.

A word of warning!

Use it at your own risk!

TorBox is ideal for providing additional protection for the entire data stream up to the Tor network and for overcoming censorship. However, anonymity is hard to get – solely using Tor doesn’t guarantee it. Malware, Cookies, Java, Flash, Javascript, and more will most certainly compromise your anonymity. Even the people from the Tor Project themselves state that “Tor can’t solve all anonymity problems. It focuses only on protecting the transport of data.” Therefore, it is strongly advised not to use TorBox if your well-being depends on your anonymity. In such a situation, it is advisable to use Tails (read here, here and here why). Here are additional browser add-ons to improve anonymity, security, and/or usability.

Where to go from here?

  1. Download the latest TorBox image file (TorBox v.0.3.1 based on Raspberry Pi OS “Buster” Lite with the Linux Kernel 4.19.118 and Tor version 0.4.2.7; about 675 MB) and verify the integrity of the downloaded file.
  2. Transfer the downloaded image file on an SD Card; for example, with Etcher. TorBox needs at least a 4 GB SD Card, but at least 8 GB are recommended.
  3. Put the SD Card into your Raspberry Pi, link it with an Internet router using an Ethernet cable, or place a USB WiFi adapter in one of the USB ports to use an already existing WiFi. Afterward, start the Raspberry Pi. During the start, the system on the SD card automatically expands over the entire free partition – user interaction, screen, and peripherals are not required.
  4. After 2-3 minutes, when the green LED stops to flicker, connect your client to the new WiFi “TorBox031” (password: CHANGE-IT). Then use an SSH-client to access 192.168.42.1 (username: pi / password: CHANGE-IT). Now, you should see the TorBox main menu. Choose the preferred connection setup and change the default passwords as soon as possible (the associated entries are placed in the configuration sub-menu).

A Raspberry Pi 3 (Model B / Model B+) or a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B is recommended.

Features

  • TorBox routes all your network data through the Tor network. At the same time, TorBox acts as an external firewall and prevents IP leakage.
  • With the SSH-accessible menu, TorBox provides you with a user-friendly interface.
  • TorBox supports Internet access via cable (Ethernet), WiFi, tethering devices, cellular links, and USB dongles (eth1/ppp0/usb0).
  • Clients can connect TorBox via WiFi (in most cases, an additional USB WiFi adapter is necessary) and cable (simultaneously; see here).
  • It easily overcomes captive portals and offers, if necessary, measures against “disconnect when idle features” (sometimes seen with WiFis in airports, hotels, coffee houses).
  • TorBox supports OBFS4 bridges, which help to overcome censorship (with an easy to use interface).
  • If you have a public IP address, 24/7 Internet connectivity over a long time, and a bandwidth of at least 1 Mbps, TorBox can provide a bridge relay, easily configurable via a user-friendly interface to allow censored users access to the open Internet.
  • It provides SOCKS v5 proxy functionality.
  • It allows easy access to .onion websites without client configuration (Chrome) or via SOCKS v5 proxy (Firefox).

Alternative installation method with the TorBox installation script

Alternatively, you can download the latest version of Raspberry Pi OS Lite, ensure stable Internet connectivity, localize your installation with raspi-config (optional), download and execute our installation script:

cd
wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/radio24/TorBox/master/install/run_install.sh
chmod a+x run_install.sh
./run_install.sh

 

We recommend running TorBox on a Raspberry Pi 3 (Model B / Model B+) or a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B under Raspberry Pi OS “Buster” Lite. However, there is another installation script that installs TorBox on Ubuntu Server 20.04 LTS (32/64 bit) and therefore, might run on other hardware platforms (this script is currently in an experimental state).

Building from scratch

All you need to run TorBox on your Raspberry Pi is the image file. However, if you want to build it from scratch, whether you like to implement it to an existing system, to another hardware, respectively another operating system or you don’t trust an image file, which you didn’t bundle of your own, then check out our detailed manual for a Raspberry Pi with Raspberry Pi OS Lite or for Ubuntu Server 20.04 LTS (32/64 bit).

I want to help…

GREAT! There is a lot to improve and to fix (security of the entire system, graphical menu, cool logos …). We are searching for people who want to help, and we need especially your feedback to improve the system. You can start to contribute to our GitHub page or contact me. You can also donate to the Tor Project — without them, TorBox would not exist.