Submenu: Countermeasures & Troubleshooting

The Countermeasures & Troubleshooting Menu of TorBox v.0.2.5.
The Countermeasures & Troubleshooting Menu of TorBox v.0.2.5.

The primary purpose of this submenu is to offer a simple way of using bridges. Bridges circumvent censorship, eg., on networks where Tor guard nodes and Tor connection handshakes are blocked. They are providing an entry to the Tor network. Additionally, the implementation of pluggable transports makes it possible to disguise Tor traffic in such a way that an ISP, network, government, or other censors cannot detect the use of Tor. The traffic then looks like http or another protocol. TorBox currently supports only OBFS4, because it is to date the most effective transport to bypass censorship. We are looking forward to add meek-azure in one of the next TorBox releases.

The activation of the bridge support is a three-step process:

  1. Activate the BRIDGE MODE (menu entry 2).
  2. Activate already configured bridges or add/replace new bridges (menu entry 4 and 5).
  3. Restart Tor (menu entry 9). After restarting Tor, the process to build circuits could last for several minutes, depending on your network and the contacted bridge server! In the end, you should see “Bootstrapped 100%: Done”

There are already several Bridges ready to use in TorBox (see them with menu entry 3). Nevertheless, you probably have to add additional bridges. You have two ways to obtain the necessary bridge-addresses:

  1. Get them here: https://bridges.torproject.org/ (chose “Advanced Options”, “obfs4” and press “Get Bridges)
  2. Or send an email to [email protected], using an address from Riseup, Gmail or Yahoo with “get transport obfs4” in the body of the mail.

In the following, we look at all menu entries one by one:

  • Menu entry 1: All about bridges – read me first: This brief introduction is intended to help new users, in particular, understand and simplify the use of the Bridge feature within TorBox step-by-step. It is a summary of what has been written above.
  • Menu entry 2: Toggle Bridge Mode: You either can switch the Bridge Mode on or off. Activating bridge mode is the first step to using bridges. With the bridges already included, you should at best be able to connect to the Tor network immediately after restarting Tor (menu entry 9). Otherwise, more bridges have to be requested and added (menu entry 5).
  • Menu entry 3: List all xy bridge(s): This menu entry is quite self-explanatory. Each line is one bridge and is listed as Number: IP:Port Fingerprint. With this information, you can check the validity of the bridge with the Relay Search Tool on the Tor Metrics by using the fingerprint or performing a TCP reachability test with the IP and the port.
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    The elements of a bridge address
    The elements of a bridge address

  • Menu entry 4: Activate all configured bridge(s): This activates all bridges in the configuration file and which were listed with the menu entry 3.
  • Menu entry 5: Add additional bridges – keep the old ones: Another quite self-explanatory menu entry. It adds additional bridges — important is that you can only add one bridge in one input box. In other words: if you say that you want three bridges than the input box appears three times. Select menu entry 8, if you want to add several bridges at once. Get new bridges here (chose “Advanced Options”, “obfs4” and press “Get Bridges”) or send an email to [email protected], using an address from Riseup, Gmail or Yahoo with “get transport obfs4” in the body of the mail.
  • An example of a list of bridges.
    An example of a list of bridges.
    Menu entry 6: Remove selected bridges: After viewing the list of all bridges (menu entry 3), you can enter here the bridge numbers you would like to have deleted.
  • Menu entry 7: Remove all configured bridges: As it says: delete em all!
  • Menu entry 8: Enter the advanced configuration editor: This loads the Tor configuration file into a textual editor. You should know what you are doing before you change anything in the configuration file — here, you can break your TorBox. If you are unsure, then contact us: [email protected]. Did you something wrong? You can always overwrite this configuration with the default one, stored in ~/torbox/etc/tor/. After changing the configuration, use the following commands in the editor: CTRL-O followed with an ENTER to save the changes. CTRL-X to exit the editor.
  • Menu entry 9: Restart Tor – check if it is working: To toggle the Bridge Mode on doesn’t restart Tor. After configuring your bridges (if necessary) and activated them, you have to restart Tor with that menu entry — that’s the final step. Please be patient! It can take up to 5 minutes for Tor to be ready for connections.

    This menu entry can also be used as a troubleshooter, regardless of the Bridge Mode. This could be the case, i.e., if Tor doesn’t work as expected and therefore you want to restart it. If you want only check the log file, without restarting Tor, use menu entry 11. Press CTRL-C to leave the log.

  • The advanced configuration editor
    The advanced configuration editor
  • Menu entry 10: Countermeasure against a disconnection when idle feature: Certain internet provider (usually at airports, in hotels, coffee houses, etc.) disconnect the network connection after a particular time of inactivity. In this case, the Tor statistics (main menu entry 1) no longer shows any data transfer. Usually, after about 15 seconds, errors in communication with the Tor network appear. This menu entry activates a recurring Ping to google.com to prevent disconnection by an internet provider with an activated “disconnect when idle feature”.
  • Menu entry 11: Show the Tor log file: Does, what it says: shows the log file. This can be useful in case of errors and when the Tor statistics (main menu entry) refuses to load. Press CTRL-C to leave the log.
  • Menu entry 12: Reset network manager: 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. This menu entry resets the network manager so that it functions normally again. However, the configuration of wireless networks is deleted.
  • Menu entry 13: Reset Tor and force a change of the permanent entry node: Again – it does, what it says. However, this menu entry should only be used if it is not possible to have a stable connection to an entry guard. 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). As an alternative, you could try to connect with the Tor network using bridges (see above).

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Problems and questions

  • Tor statistics doesn’t show up — the screen stays black. What can I do? –> see here.
  • I’m connected to a public wireless network; everything works as expected. However, every x minutes, the connection to the wireless network stops completely, and I have to repeat the entire login procedure. What could be the reason? –> see here.