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Attempted to connect to a Tor bridge (obfs4) using bridges.torproject.org but none of the bridges would connect. Would the next step be to request private bridges by e-mail? Also why does the tool only accept e-mail requests from Riseup or gmail? It's difficult to obtain an invite to get a Riseup account and gmail is not a good way to receive the bridges.

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Would the next step be to request private bridges by e-mail?

Well you have two options to get bridges:

  1. Email bridges@torproject.org through Gmail or Riseup.

  2. Use MOAT to fetch bridges from the Tor browser. If you want to know how to use MOAT, check out: https://tb-manual.torproject.org/bridges/.

Also why does the tool only accept e-mail requests from Riseup or gmail?

The Tor Project answers this here: https://tor.void.gr/docs/bridges.html.en :

You'll need to send this request from a Gmail, Riseup!, or Yahoo! account, though — we only accept these providers because otherwise we make it too easy for an attacker to make a lot of email addresses and learn about all the bridges.

Also, I do not believe Yahoo is used anymore, given that the main Tor project website does not include Yahoo as an option anymore.

Further references:

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  • Appreciate your response. I was able to use the BridgeDB Tool successfully, however, I noticed something interesting about the syntax of the bridge lines. If I enter "obfs" instead of "obfs4" the client will connect to the bridge, but if I enter the "obfs4" as given by the tool, the connection fails. is this some sort of syntax error? Also, the bridges provided appear to be from my host country or an adjacent country. Is this normal? Is it possible for the bridge to originate from a country farther away? – dinero Apr 29 at 21:09
  • And another thing...it appears to connect with or without the "cert" and "iat-mode" portions of the returned bridges when using "obfs" instead of "obfs4". I really think the instructions should be more specific about the syntax of the entered bridges. – dinero Apr 29 at 21:19
  • @dinero well I think that if entering "obfs" works but "obfs4" doesn't work, that is probably a bug. You should probably report it to the Tor Project's gitlab as I think they can tell you whether it is a bug or if it was meant this way. Also, you say that the bridge appears to be from your host country or an adjacent country - if your country censors Tor, then it is impossible for the bridge to be running in your country. However, the bridge might be running in an adjacent country if that country doesn't block Tor. Bridges can be run all over the world, excluding countries which censor Tor. – Swangie Apr 29 at 22:55
  • @dinero also, I believe the "cert" part of the syntax means certificate and I'm not exactly sure what the "iat-mode" part means (check out tor.stackexchange.com/questions/17981/…). – Swangie Apr 29 at 23:02
  • @dinero finally, if my answer helped helped you, I would greatly appreciate it if you marked it as correct. If you have any further questions, feel free to comment down below! – Swangie Apr 29 at 23:03

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