EnGarde! The Guardian Project Podcast: Episode 1

EnGarde! is our first attempt at creating a regular podcast, providing updates right from the mouth of the Guardian Project team.

In today’s inaugural episode, @n8fr8 (Guardian Project Director, Nathan Freitas) provides an update on the Orfox->Tor Browser transition, latest release of Orbot, the new work on orbotmini, Matrix, and a few other exciting new efforts.

EnGarde! Episode 1

Tor Project: Orfox Paved the Way for Tor Browser on Android

Last month, we tagged the final release of Orfox, an important milestone for us in our work on Tor. Today, we pushed this final build out to all the Orfox users on Google Play, which forces them to upgrade to the official Tor Browser for Android.. Our goal was never to become the primary developer or maintainer of the “best” tor-enabled web browser app on Android. Instead, we chose to act as a catalyst to get the Tor Project and the Tor Browser development team themselves to take on Android development, and upstream our work into the primary codebase. [Read More]

Tor Project: Orfox Paved the Way for Tor Browser on Android

Last month, we tagged the final release of Orfox, an important milestone for us in our work on Tor. Today, we pushed this final build out to all the Orfox users on Google Play, which forces them to upgrade to the official Tor Browser for Android.. Our goal was never to become the primary developer or maintainer of the “best” tor-enabled web browser app on Android. Instead, we chose to act as a catalyst to get the Tor Project and the Tor Browser development team themselves to take on Android development, and upstream our work into the primary codebase. [Read More]

NetCipher update: global, SOCKS, and TLSv1.2

NetCipher has been relatively quiet in recent years, because it kept on working, doing it was doing. Now, we have had some recent discoveries about the guts of Android that mean NetCipher is a lot easier to use on recent Android versions. On top of that, TLSv1.2 now reigns supreme and is basically everywhere, so it is time to turn TLSv1.0 and TLSv1.1 entirely off. A single method to enable proxying for the whole app As of Android 8. [Read More]

Orbot v16: a whole new look, and easier to use!

Orbot: Tor for Android has a new release (tag and changelog), with a major update to the user experience and interface. This is the 16th major release of Orbot, since it was launched in late 2009. The main screen of the app now looks quite different, with all the major features and functions exposed for easy access. We have also added a new onboarding setup wizard for first time users, that assists with configuring connections to the Tor network for users in places where Tor itself is blocked. [Read More]

Building a Signing Server

The Android APK signing model sets the expectation that the signing key will be the same for the entire lifetime of the app. That can be seen in the recommended lifetype of an Android signing key: 20+ years. On top of that, it is difficult to migrate an app to a new key. Since the signing key is an essential part to preventing APKs from impersonating another, Android signing keys must be kept safe for the entire life of the app. [Read More]

No more “Root” features in Orbot… use Orfox & VPN instead!

Since I first announced the available of Orbot: Tor for Android about 8 years ago (wow!), myself and others have been working on various methods in which to make the capabilities of Tor available through the operating system. This post is to announce that as of the next, imminent release, Orbot v15.5, we will no longer be supporting the Root-required “Transproxy” method. This is due to many reasons. First, it turns out that allowing applications to get “root” access on your device seems like a good idea, it can also be seen as huge security hole. [Read More]

Tracking usage without tracking people

One thing that has become very clear over the past years is that there is a lot of value in data about people. Of course, the most well known examples these days are advertising and spy agencies, but tracking data is useful for many more things. For example, when trying to build software that is intuitive and easy to use, having real data about how people are using the software can make a massive difference when developers and designers are working on improving their software. [Read More]

HOWTO: get all your Debian packages via Tor Onion Services

Following up on some privacy leaks that we looked into a while back, there are now official Debian Tor Onion Services for getting software packages and security updates, thanks to the Debian Sys Admin team. This is important for high risk use cases like TAILS covers, but also it is useful to make it more difficult to do some kinds of targeted attacks against high-security servers. The default Debian and Ubuntu package servers use plain HTTP with unencrypted connections. [Read More]

Building the most private app store

App stores can work well without any tracking at all Attackers are increasingly seeing app stores as a prime attack vector, whether it is aimed at the masses like XCodeGhost or very targeted like in FBI vs Apple. When we install software from an app store, we are placing a lot of trust in a lot of different parties involved in getting the source code from the original developer delivered to our device in a useful form. [Read More]

Orfox: Aspiring to bring Tor Browser to Android

Update 24 September, 2015: Orfox BETA is now on Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=info.guardianproject.orfox  In the summer of 2014 (https://lists.mayfirst.org/pipermail/guardian-dev/2014-August/003717.html{.external}), we announced that the results of work by Amogh Pradeep (https://github.com/amoghbl1{.external}), our 2014 Google Summer of Code student, has proven we could build Firefox for Android with some of the settings and configurations from the Tor Browser desktop software. We called this app Orfox, in homage to Orbot and our current Orweb browser. [Read More]

Reducing metadata leakage from software updates

Update: now you can do this with Tor Onion Services Many software update systems use code signing to ensure that only the correct software is downloaded and installed, and to prevent the code from being altered. This is an effective way to prevent the code from being modified, and because of that, software update systems often use plain, unencrypted HTTP connections for downloading code updates. That means that the metadata of what packages a machine has installed is available in plain text for any network observer, from someone sitting on the same public WiFi as you, to state actors with full network observation capabilities. [Read More]

Automatic, private distribution of our test builds

One thing we are very lucky to have is a good community of people willing to test out unfinished builds of our software. That is a very valuable contribution to the process of developing usable, secure apps. So we want to make this process as easy as possible while keeping it as secure and private as possible. To that end, we have set up an FDroid repository of apps generated from the test builds that our build server generates automatically every time we publish new code. [Read More]

Your own private dropbox with free software

There are lots of file storage and sharing software packages out there that make it easy for a group of people to share files. Dropbox is perhaps the most well known of the group, it provides an easy way for a group of people to share files. The downside of Dropbox is that it is not a private service, just like any cloud-based service. Dropbox has total access to your files that you store there. [Read More]

Issues when distributing software

There is currently a discussion underway on the Debian-security list about adding TLS and Tor functionality to the official repositories (repos) of Debian packages that is highlighting how we need to update how we think about the risks when distributing software. Mostly, we are used to thinking about making sure that the software that the user is installing is the same exact software that has been posted for distribution. This is generally handled by signing the software package, then verifying that signature on the user’s machine. [Read More]

Orweb Security Advisory: Possible IP leakage with HTML5 video/audio

The Orweb browser app is vulnerable to leak the actual IP of the device it is on, if it loads a page with HTML5 video or audio tags on them, and those tags are set to auto-start or display a poster frame. On some versions of Android, the video and audio player start/load events happen without the user requesting anything, and the request to the URL for the media src or through image poster is made outside of the proxy settings. [Read More]
orbot  orweb  tor 

Orbot v12 now in beta

After much too long, we’ve got a new build of Orbot out, and it is… a stable beta! Nothing radically new here, just many small changes to continue to improve the experience of our hundreds of thousands of active users out in the world. There will likely be one or two more “beta” releases to iron out small issues in v12, but for now, this one is good to go. [Read More]

The Only Way to Visit Strongbox on a Phone

The New Yorker magazine just launched Strongbox, a whistleblower submission system that’s hosted on a hidden website. There’s only one way to access the hidden site on a phone or tablet, and that’s with our Orweb app. Here’s a simple breakdown of how to do securely and anonymously blow the whistle, explained in an interactive tutorial: Visit guardianproject.info/howto/strongbox for an interactive tutorial on using Strongbox on your phone. The website exists as a hidden site on what is widely known as the darknet, since you are going there hidden or “in the dark. [Read More]

Security Awareness Party

In the security world, there’s a pesky belief that a tool can either be secure or easy to use, but not both. Some experts also argue that training people to be safe online is too hard and doesn’t accomplish much (see Bruce Schneier’s recent post Security Awareness Training). Without a thoughtful approach, that’s usually how it plays out. But it doesn’t have to be that way! We’re committed to making online security fun to learn and fun to use, and we’re launching a new series of interactive tutorials to make it happen. [Read More]

Mumble and the Bandwidth – Anonymous CB radio with Mumble and Tor

The journey towards anonymous and secure voice communication is a long one. There’s lots of roadblocks to get your voice from point A to point B over the Internet if you need to prevent eavesdropping or censorship. There is the limited bandwidth of mobile data connections. There is the high latency of the TCP protocol. To achieve anonymity via Tor, there’s even more latency added to each packet. Mumble is a non-standard protocol that was originally designed for realtime voice chat for video games. [Read More]