I know that you're not "supposed" to use plugins in Tor - Flash and Java are two of the stupidest things you could use while trying not to be discovered.

But let's say you'd like to view a video file - is there any way at all to install a plugin in the Tor Browser Bundle for Linux? I've already installed npapi-vlc-git, and it works for Chromium, but I can't figure out where I need to symlink/copy /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/libvlcplugin.so to.

If something was changed in the browser at compile-time that disables plugins, what must I do to re-enable them? I just want the one plugin, but I'd like to keep all the other security tweaks present in the Tor browser (otherwise, I'd just replace it with the vanilla Firefox ESR.)

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This question came from our site for users of Linux, FreeBSD and other Un*x-like operating systems.

  • Hmmm an interesting question. I just had a quick poke through the download to see if there was any obvious place, and I couldn't find one. I also couldn't immediately see anything in the Tor Browser build scripts, but I've never actually looked into building firefox before. As Tor Browser Bundle is designed to be standalone, I'd expect the location to be somewhere in the extracted directory structure. – Megan Walker Oct 21 '13 at 18:12
  • Just so you guys know - I've already got VLC configured to use Tor. This question assumes that I understand the risks associated with enabling a plugin. – JamesTheAwesomeDude Oct 24 '13 at 1:36

Installing any sort of plugins on TBB is a bad idea.

The best way to watch a video (if HTML5 player not available) is to download the video, disconnect from Internet and watch it offline. Otherwise it may try to make a connection over internet and ruin your anonymity.

  • 1
    As true as this is, and although should probably preface any answer to where to put plugin-ins, this doesn't actually answer the question.... – Megan Walker Oct 22 '13 at 22:13
  • 2
    @SamuelWalker - Tor browser is based on Firefox, so plugins should likely be installed in the same relative locations as in Firefox, with that said, it's definitely okay to say "don't do that" as an answer, if the question the asker is posing could lead to great harm. See How to Answer for details, which says: "The answer can be “don’t do that”, but it should also include “try this instead”", which it does by advising the op to download the video and watch offline. Hope this helps! :) – jmort253 Oct 23 '13 at 2:32
  • That's a good point. It's just my personal preference to answer a question directly when it's possible - I'll make sure to bear that in mind in future. :) – Megan Walker Oct 23 '13 at 17:17
  • I've already got the plugin installed to the usual location (/usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/,) but the Tor browser isn't picking it up. It's most likely because it isn't installed to the regular location; the Tor Browser Bundle is packed into ~/.tor-browser-en/ rather than distributed throughout /usr/bin/, /usr/lib/, etc. I thought I made that clear in my question. As jmort253 said, this would be an indisposable preface to an actual answer - but in its current state, your 'answer' would be better served by being posted as a Comment. – JamesTheAwesomeDude Oct 24 '13 at 1:24

Firstly, I agree with mrphs' answer; enabling any plugins would be a very bad idea. Unless you have analyzed the sources/behavior of the VLC plugin in detail (I haven't!), you should not assume that you understand the implications of enabling it. For example, it may be possible to use the plugin to fingerprint your machine, based on the codecs you have installed, even if you have configured VLC to send all network traffic via Tor.

Secondly, Tor Browser is patched to prevent plugins (except Flash!) from even loading, so you would probably have to rebuild Tor Browser without this patch to use the VLC plugin.

Further references:

  • While I do appreciate your more in-depth explanation on why this might be a bad idea, this is still not an answer. As stated in the original post, an aswer describing how to enable a plugin at compile-time would also be acceptable. This does not provide that. (However, thank you for doing a better job explaining whe why behind this. I suppose I can't downvote you ;) – JamesTheAwesomeDude Nov 2 '13 at 14:55

This technique makes the TOR browser think that your VLC plugin is Flash, so it will let you enable it.

You need to copy /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/libvlcplugin.so to ~/Downloads/tor-browser_en-US/Browser/browser/plugins/usr/libflashplayer.so and ~/Downloads/tor-browser_en-US/Browser/browser/plugins/libflashplayer.so. Then, click on the onion logo and click Privacy and Security Settings. Then, uncheck Disable browser plugins (Such as Flash). Next, go to about:addons and click on Plugins on the left-hand side. Finally, change Never activate to Ask to Activate if necessary.

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