After installing TorBox either by using the image and the corresponding start-up introduction or manually according to our detailed manual, the main menu automatically starts by opening a terminal. The primary purpose of the main menu is to offer a simple way of changing connection modes. The main menu also offers access to additional submenus. In the following, we look at all menu entries one by one:
- Menu entry 1: Tor statistics: This starts Nyx, a very informative statistic tool. Besides showing the actual data transfer rate and the last log messages, you can also get a new identity or reset Tor. Press “h” to display a brief help window, “m” to activate a simple pull-down menu, and use twice “q” to quit the statistics.
Important: Nyx, which shows the Tor statistics, uses the control port of the local Tor installation. If Tor gets stuck establishing a connection with the Tor network or takes too long (possible in case of network connection problems or censorship), this menu entry shows only a black screen with a blinking courser. In this case, go to the countermeasure & troubleshooting submenu and use menu entry 11 “Show the Tor log file” to identify the problem with Tor. The screen updates automatically when a new entry is written to the log file. Press CTRL-C to leave the log.
- Menu entry 2: Enforce a new exit node with a new IP: The title of this menu entry is without doubt self-explanatory. By default, Tor changes all 10 minutes the used circuit, which results in a change of the external IP address. With this menu entry, you force an immediate change. This can solve problems with unresponsive or slow circuits, or blocked IPs from known exit nodes. Notice: Even if the middle and exit nodes change, the entry guard remains the same. That’s intentional: a fast and stable relay remains as entry guard in your circuit for 2-3 months to protect against a known anonymity-breaking attack (for more information, see here).
- Menu entry 3: Go to the countermeasure & troubleshooting menu…: This submenu deals with the circumvention of censorship by using bridges. It allows you to enable, disable or/and configure the bridge mode easily. Furthermore, it offers a measure against a disconnection if the connection is not used. Finally, it gives the possibility to reset Tor and the network manager, if necessary.
- Menu entry 4: Go to the configuration & update menu…: Here, you can change some basic configurations and update the base system (currently, you cannot update from an older TorBox version to a newer).
- Menu entry 5: Go to defend the open internet…: The primary purpose of this submenu is to offer a simple way to set up a bridge relay. However, to do so, you need a public IP address, 24/7 internet connectivity over a long time, and a bandwidth of at least 1 Mbps. By setting up an obfs4 bridge, you can help censored users connect to the open internet through Tor.
- Menu entries 6-8: These menu entries are only available if the client uses TorBox through WiFi. This is the default mode. The first of these menu entries is based on the assumption that TorBox uses an Ethernet cable to access the internet. The second entry connects TorBox to another wireless network (e.g., from a hotel, coffee, etc.), and the third entry supports tethering on an iPhone. For the connection with another wireless network, you need to plug in an additional low powered USB WiFi adapter (for a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, preferably in a blue marked USB 3.0 slot).
- Menu entries 9-11: These menu entries are only available if the client is connected to the TorBox via Ethernet cable, which is plugged into the Ethernet connector fix assembled on the board (eth0). The first of these menu entries is based on the assumption that TorBox uses another Ethernet cable plugged into an additional USB ethernet adapter to access the internet. The second entry connects TorBox to a wireless network (e.g., from a hotel, coffee, etc.), and the third entry supports tethering on an iPhone.
- Menu entry 12: Change wireless <-> cable client: By default, TorBox assumes that clients connect via the established wireless network. This menu entry changes that: the client has to be connected with an Ethernet cable, which is plugged into the Ethernet connector fix assembled on the board (eth0). Important: In the “cable mode” a client can’t connect your TorBox wirelessly until you change back to the “wireless mode”, which can be done with the same menu entry. If you are in “cable mode”, and your client cannot connect to the TorBox via cable for some reason, and local access to the TorBox is not possible, then you have successfully locked out yourself.
- Menu entry 13: Save the current connection setting: Freshly launched, TorBox awaits the client via the established wireless network and the internet via cable. This can be changed with the menu entries described above, resulting in a change in the processing of the data packets. With this menu entry, these changes are permanently saved so that TorBox can be used immediately after the next restart – if it has not changed otherwise (without any further configuration). Important: This menu entry has nothing to do with the other configuration options in the submenus.
- Menu entries 14 and 15: Reboot / Shutdown: These two menu entries are quite self-explanatory.
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Pressing the ESC key exits the TorBox main menu, and you are taken to the command line. This gives you full access to your entire system. You can reload the menu with the command ./menu in ~/torbox. The menu is reloaded each time when you open a new console. If you like to avoid that, then use the following procedures:
cd sudo nano .profile
Remove the following lines at the end of .profile:
cd torbox sleep 2 ./menu
Important: Network transfers from the command line do not pass through Tor and are, therefore, by default, not secured or anonymized.
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“TOR is working”
A little message (“TOR is working”) in the right corner of the main menu shows you immediately if you are connected with the Tor network (meaning https://check.torproject.org returns a positive result). Since a missing response does not automatically mean that there is no connection to the Tor network, no error message is displayed. In other words, if this message is missing, there may or may not be a connection problem.
“Open access” or “captive portal”
All “cable-internet” and “wireless-internet” menu entries support “open access” or “captive portals”. “Open access” means that you have already an access password to the provided network, but you don’t have to fill out an additional login/authentication page. By contrast, “captive portals” are additional login pages, for which you have to register. If unsure, chose “captive portals”.
Using the network manager (wicd)
Whenever you choose a wireless network, during the configuration, the network manager is getting started, and the list with available wireless networks is refreshed three times — please be patient. Afterward, choose the specific wireless network with the up-/down-arrow-keys and press the right-arrow-key. Always activate “Use these settings for all networks sharing this essid” and “Automatically connect to this network”. If necessary, toggle “Use encryption” on, usually select “WPA 1/2 (Passphrase)” and write the password in the field below. Save with SHIFT-S. Back in the list with the available wireless networks, press SHIFT-P and choose “Automatic Reconnection” “Automatically reconnect on connection loss”. Save again with SHIFT-S.
After this procedure, check again, if the designated wireless network is still selected and press ENTER or SHIFT-C. Wait a minute or two. The connection was successful if you can read “Connected to…” in the left corner.
Important: Occasionally, the network manager (wicd) has some problems with saved configuration. This may result in crashing when trying to change the configuration of a network (e.g., using the right-arrow-key) or not loading at all. In this case, go to the countermeasure & troubleshooting submenu and use menu entry 12 “Reset network manager” reset the network manager.
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Problems and questions
- I can’t get tethering to work. What’s wrong with it? –> see here.
- Tor statistics don’t show up — the screen stays black. What can I do? –> see here.
- Wicd (the network manager) tries to connect a wireless network, but it sticks with “Validating authentication”, the program crashes and/or seems to have many bugs. What’s wrong? –> see here.