BeagleBone Tor

My BeagleBone Black (BBB) is now helping preserve Internet freedom by running a Tor relay. Tor is:

free software and an open network that helps you defend against a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security known as traffic analysis.

For those new to Tor, the first step is to try the TorBrowser Bundle to help anonymize your traffic.  If this Tor thing feels a bit weird to you, know that normal people use Tor.

For those that want to help contribute to the freedom loving Internet, consider running a Tor relay on that nice 1GHz BBB.  Of course, you can run a relay from the Browser Bundle, but when your turn your computer off or close your laptop lid, your relay goes nighty-night too.  Plus the BBB is low-wattage so it won’t run up your electric bill as much while you help Tor grow.

The great Ladyada has an Onion Pi project which runs a Tor proxy and a wireless access point. It’s a very cool project but it’s not a relay AFAIK.  Also, if you want Tor to really work, you should use the Tor Browser Bundle.  So, these are directions for setting up a Tor relay, which helps others use Tor.

My BBB in the Adafruit Bone Box.
My BBB in the Adafruit Bone Box.

First of all, I’m running Ubuntu (Raring) on the BBB (instructions are here).  There is a BBB flasher image on that website that makes it very easy to install.  I have not tried this using Angstrom.

Follow the instructions here to install Tor.  I recommend also doing a sudo apt-get install arm to install Tor Arm for ARM (ha!), which is a nice command line monitoring app.  Installation is straightforward from those docs, just be sure NOT to run Tor as root but to use the /etc/init.d/tor scripts and you should be fine.

You are going to want to configure your torrc file before running the relay and the general instructions are here.  I would not recommend running an exit node from your home computer if you are an US broadband subscriber; you should be fine running a relay.  You should probably read the Tor legal FAQ created by the EFF as well.

If you do decide to run an exit node, start with tailored exit policies for certain protocols.  A good guide is here which limits the exit ports to ssh, ircs and a few others.

Relays will be listed, so if you want to put the BBB to use but don’t really want to be that public about it, that’s cool, run a bridge.  If you don’t want to do that, then try running a Tor bridge on an Amazon EC2 instance with Tor Cloud.  You’ll at least learn a bit about AWS…

So, give your Beagle a bone and run Tor!


8 thoughts on “BeagleBone Tor

    1. Great question. I did a simple iperf test for you here. I’ll do some OpenSSL tests later as I’m curious how much that crypto acceleration really works.

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