Spreading the good word about Tor and the BeagleBone Black

I presented a few slides on Tor, the BeagleBone Black (BBB), and my BeagleBone Black Tor relay tonight.  I think it went over well.  There were some people who hadn’t heard of the BBB and they were excited about using it in all sorts of ways.  On the Tor side, the question were more technical.  The Tor project is an impressive example of security and anonymity engineering; even the NSA thinks so.

There was a good question about the practicality of the BBB’s hardware random number generator.  I ceded to this point as I have yet to see much documentation (besides a marketing white paper) on the technical details of the HW_RNG.  In response to my thread on the mailing list, somebody recommend looking into haveged, which seems to be a good way to gather entropy on headless servers.  Anyway, my last message to the list outlines my next steps.

I’m happy to be the local BeagleBone Black and Tor Evangelist!


Quest for Crypto Acceleration on the BeagleBone Black

According to the BeagleBone Black (BBB) system reference manual, the TI processor supports cryptographic acceleration of AES, SHA (1 I assume), MD5 and has a hardware RNG.  The performance with hardware acceleration is much better than just using the CPU.  To date, I do not know how to take advantage of the hardware in a user-space application, like OpenSSL.  In this post, I’ll document what I tried and hopefully I’ll either solve it later (look for a pingback below) or somebody will help post a solution!


I’m running a tor relay on my BBB, which establishes TLS connections that use AES and SHA according to the spec.  My relay runs at about 70% CPU usage and I’m hoping I can lower that with hardware acceleration.


Continue reading “Quest for Crypto Acceleration on the BeagleBone Black”