2

Newbie to Tor. I installed Tor via Tor browser-launcher on a deb-based distribution. Apparently the torrc is a sort of configuration file which affects behavior of Tor. Now a little investigation revealed that torrc is at two places in my system.

The first is /etc/tor/torrc .

/etc/tor$cat torrc
## Configuration file for a typical Tor user
## Last updated 12 September 2012 for Tor 0.2.4.3-alpha.
## (may or may not work for much older or much newer versions of Tor.)
##
## Lines that begin with "## " try to explain what's going on. Lines
## that begin with just "#" are disabled commands: you can enable them
## by removing the "#" symbol.
##
## See 'man tor', or https://www.torproject.org/docs/tor-manual.html,
## for more options you can use in this file.
##
## Tor will look for this file in various places based on your platform:
## https://www.torproject.org/docs/faq#torrc

## Tor opens a socks proxy on port 9050 by default -- even if you don't
## configure one below. Set "SocksPort 0" if you plan to run Tor only
## as a relay, and not make any local application connections yourself.
#SocksPort 9050 # Default: Bind to localhost:9050 for local connections.
#SocksPort 192.168.0.1:9100 # Bind to this address:port too.

## Entry policies to allow/deny SOCKS requests based on IP address.
## First entry that matches wins. If no SocksPolicy is set, we accept
## all (and only) requests that reach a SocksPort. Untrusted users who
## can access your SocksPort may be able to learn about the connections
## you make.
#SocksPolicy accept 192.168.0.0/16
#SocksPolicy reject *

## Logs go to stdout at level "notice" unless redirected by something
## else, like one of the below lines. You can have as many Log lines as
## you want.
##
## We advise using "notice" in most cases, since anything more verbose
## may provide sensitive information to an attacker who obtains the logs.
##
## Send all messages of level 'notice' or higher to /var/log/tor/notices.log
#Log notice file /var/log/tor/notices.log
## Send every possible message to /var/log/tor/debug.log
#Log debug file /var/log/tor/debug.log
## Use the system log instead of Tor's logfiles
#Log notice syslog
## To send all messages to stderr:
#Log debug stderr

## Uncomment this to start the process in the background... or use
## --runasdaemon 1 on the command line. This is ignored on Windows;
## see the FAQ entry if you want Tor to run as an NT service.
#RunAsDaemon 1

## The directory for keeping all the keys/etc. By default, we store
## things in $HOME/.tor on Unix, and in Application Data\tor on Windows.
#DataDirectory /var/lib/tor

## The port on which Tor will listen for local connections from Tor
## controller applications, as documented in control-spec.txt.
#ControlPort 9051
## If you enable the controlport, be sure to enable one of these
## authentication methods, to prevent attackers from accessing it.
#HashedControlPassword 16:872860B76453A77D60CA2BB8C1A7042072093276A3D701AD684053EC4C
#CookieAuthentication 1

############### This section is just for location-hidden services ###

## Once you have configured a hidden service, you can look at the
## contents of the file ".../hidden_service/hostname" for the address
## to tell people.
##
## HiddenServicePort x y:z says to redirect requests on port x to the
## address y:z.

#HiddenServiceDir /var/lib/tor/hidden_service/
#HiddenServicePort 80 127.0.0.1:80

#HiddenServiceDir /var/lib/tor/other_hidden_service/
#HiddenServicePort 80 127.0.0.1:80
#HiddenServicePort 22 127.0.0.1:22

################ This section is just for relays #####################
#
## See https://www.torproject.org/docs/tor-doc-relay for details.

## Required: what port to advertise for incoming Tor connections.
#ORPort 9001
## If you want to listen on a port other than the one advertised in
## ORPort (e.g. to advertise 443 but bind to 9090), you can do it as
## follows.  You'll need to do ipchains or other port forwarding
## yourself to make this work.
#ORPort 443 NoListen
#ORPort 127.0.0.1:9090 NoAdvertise

## The IP address or full DNS name for incoming connections to your
## relay. Leave commented out and Tor will guess.
#Address noname.example.com

## If you have multiple network interfaces, you can specify one for
## outgoing traffic to use.
# OutboundBindAddress 10.0.0.5

## A handle for your relay, so people don't have to refer to it by key.
#Nickname ididnteditheconfig

## Define these to limit how much relayed traffic you will allow. Your
## own traffic is still unthrottled. Note that RelayBandwidthRate must
## be at least 20 KB.
## Note that units for these config options are bytes per second, not bits
## per second, and that prefixes are binary prefixes, i.e. 2^10, 2^20, etc.
#RelayBandwidthRate 100 KB  # Throttle traffic to 100KB/s (800Kbps)
#RelayBandwidthBurst 200 KB # But allow bursts up to 200KB/s (1600Kbps)

## Use these to restrict the maximum traffic per day, week, or month.
## Note that this threshold applies separately to sent and received bytes,
## not to their sum: setting "4 GB" may allow up to 8 GB total before
## hibernating.
##
## Set a maximum of 4 gigabytes each way per period.
#AccountingMax 4 GB
## Each period starts daily at midnight (AccountingMax is per day)
#AccountingStart day 00:00
## Each period starts on the 3rd of the month at 15:00 (AccountingMax
## is per month)
#AccountingStart month 3 15:00

## Contact info to be published in the directory, so we can contact you
## if your relay is misconfigured or something else goes wrong. Google
## indexes this, so spammers might also collect it.
#ContactInfo Random Person <nobody AT example dot com>
## You might also include your PGP or GPG fingerprint if you have one:
#ContactInfo 0xFFFFFFFF Random Person <nobody AT example dot com>

## Uncomment this to mirror directory information for others. Please do
## if you have enough bandwidth.
#DirPort 9030 # what port to advertise for directory connections
## If you want to listen on a port other than the one advertised in
## DirPort (e.g. to advertise 80 but bind to 9091), you can do it as
## follows.  below too. You'll need to do ipchains or other port
## forwarding yourself to make this work.
#DirPort 80 NoListen
#DirPort 127.0.0.1:9091 NoAdvertise
## Uncomment to return an arbitrary blob of html on your DirPort. Now you
## can explain what Tor is if anybody wonders why your IP address is
## contacting them. See contrib/tor-exit-notice.html in Tor's source
## distribution for a sample.
#DirPortFrontPage /etc/tor/tor-exit-notice.html

## Uncomment this if you run more than one Tor relay, and add the identity
## key fingerprint of each Tor relay you control, even if they're on
## different networks. You declare it here so Tor clients can avoid
## using more than one of your relays in a single circuit. See
## https://www.torproject.org/docs/faq#MultipleRelays
## However, you should never include a bridge's fingerprint here, as it would
## break its concealability and potentionally reveal its IP/TCP address.
#MyFamily $keyid,$keyid,...

## A comma-separated list of exit policies. They're considered first
## to last, and the first match wins. If you want to _replace_
## the default exit policy, end this with either a reject *:* or an
## accept *:*. Otherwise, you're _augmenting_ (prepending to) the
## default exit policy. Leave commented to just use the default, which is
## described in the man page or at
## https://www.torproject.org/documentation.html
##
## Look at https://www.torproject.org/faq-abuse.html#TypicalAbuses
## for issues you might encounter if you use the default exit policy.
##
## If certain IPs and ports are blocked externally, e.g. by your firewall,
## you should update your exit policy to reflect this -- otherwise Tor
## users will be told that those destinations are down.
##
## For security, by default Tor rejects connections to private (local)
## networks, including to your public IP address. See the man page entry
## for ExitPolicyRejectPrivate if you want to allow "exit enclaving".
##
#ExitPolicy accept *:6660-6667,reject *:* # allow irc ports but no more
#ExitPolicy accept *:119 # accept nntp as well as default exit policy
#ExitPolicy reject *:* # no exits allowed

## Bridge relays (or "bridges") are Tor relays that aren't listed in the
## main directory. Since there is no complete public list of them, even an
## ISP that filters connections to all the known Tor relays probably
## won't be able to block all the bridges. Also, websites won't treat you
## differently because they won't know you're running Tor. If you can
## be a real relay, please do; but if not, be a bridge!
#BridgeRelay 1
## By default, Tor will advertise your bridge to users through various
## mechanisms like https://bridges.torproject.org/. If you want to run
## a private bridge, for example because you'll give out your bridge
## address manually to your friends, uncomment this line:
#PublishServerDescriptor 0

Obviously this is a pretty old torrc file and the developers need to modify it to show what the latest can do.

The other torrc file is a short file in a longwinded path at :-

~/.local/share/torbrowser/tbb/x86_64/tor-browser_en-US/Data/Tor$ cat torrc
# This file was generated by Tor; if you edit it, comments will not be preserved
# The old torrc file was renamed to torrc.orig.1 or similar, and Tor will ignore it

Update 14/10/2017 - With the recent versions of Tor in Debian testing-buster it has been made more longwinded than ever as the place is now -

~/.local/share/torbrowser/tbb/x86_64/tor-browser_en-US/Browser/TorBrowser/Data/Tor/$ cat torrc

DataDirectory /home/<USERNAME>/.local/share/torbrowser/tbb/x86_64/tor-browser_en-US/Data/Tor
DirReqStatistics 0
GeoIPFile /home/<USERNAME>/.local/share/torbrowser/tbb/x86_64/tor-browser_en-US/Data/Tor/geoip
GeoIPv6File /home/<USERNAME>/.local/share/torbrowser/tbb/x86_64/tor-browser_en-US/Data/Tor/geoip6

I am an end-user. I want to use Tor for browsing and downloading short files (at times). Are there any tips or recommendations so that I can have good time using Tor while at the same time am a good citizen in the Tor world.

1

If you are new to Tor I would recommend spending some time using it and understanding how it works before considering any tweaks. After you become more comfortable with it, you may want to test different modifications of the torrc file. Make sure you don't engage in any sensitive activities during this period. From experience, you will usually render it unusable in the process, so be sure to keep a backup of the original file.

However, as they say in the classics, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". This is particularly apropos when it comes to Tor. Only after trying an inordinate amount of tweaks trying to make it "better" did I end up with settings that were essentially the same as the original torrc file. It was actually a good feeling: surprise, surprise, the people who designed Tor know precisely what they're doing, and the default end-user configuration is something that has been well thought out. If you're anything like me, however, you will still want to pull it apart and put it back together.

With regards to being a "good Tor citizen", I believe the best way to support Tor is to use it to browse for entirely banal things that you would typically do anyway. (Aside from logging into Facebook or high-bandwidth downloading, say). Doing so normalises its use and offers plausible deniability to those who do need it to protect their anonymity.

And of course, if you want to be a "super-awesome Tor citizen" you could always offer time or resources into helping the project. Amongst others, you could donate your bandwidth as a Tor relay https://www.torproject.org/docs/tor-doc-relay.html.en; perhaps of personal interest to you, doing so would involve modifications to the torrc file.

0

The

/etc/tor/torrc

is the default configuration file for when you install the tor standalone package. The other one is for your browser bundle.

The recommended way is to just use the defaults for both if you just want to 'use' it. If you have some specific things you want to enable with it then you have to be more specific about the settings you want to enable so that we can guide you if needed.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.