Tor - The Onion Router cloud of proxy servers

Tor - The Onion Router cloud of proxy servers

UPDATED 07 December 2013

  1. You may wish to make use of the Tor onion routing network, which can help to obscure your traceable IP address, when you are setting up or using a web email account e.g. Hushmail or Gmail etc. It can also be useful if your whistleblowing activities are only low level ones, which might be appropriate as an anonymous comment published on a web blog.

  2. The bundled Polipo socks proxy helps to hide your DNS requests and the TorButton Firefox web browser add-in with the NoScript add-in, helps to protect your anonymity from sneaky javascript, cookies and other attempt by a website to track repeated visitors.

  3. From our web log statistics, it seems that some people are getting to this article by searching for the Tor download page, from countries where this may be blocked or censored. The list of official mirror sites is at: and we have mirrored this mirror page as well.

  4. Here is a mirror copy of the Tor Browser Bundle which is designed to work standalone, e.g. from a USB flash memory device, which comes with a privacy configured version of the Firefox web browser. Here is our mirror copy of the Tor Browser Bundle version 2.3.25-15 (about 26Mb)

    Tor Browser Bundle PGP Signature and our mirror of it.

    The instructions for checking the PGP signature>/a> of this Tor Browser Bundle software distribution are also mirrored at Spy Blog.

    N.B. using the Tor Browser Bundle is now recommended, because of the difficulties that even the latest versions of TorButton have in keeping your session anonymous in the latest versions of the Firefox web browser, especially if you have lots of other plugins and extensions installed.

  5. Remember to read and understand the warnings about the ways in which you can still betray your real IP address, even if you are using Tor.

  6. If you have access to Hushmail or Google gmail or Yahoo mail or FastMail.FM (or any other email system which uses DKIM) then you can get a copy of the latest Tor software via an email to

    See GetTor e-mail autoresponder
    or send an email with "help" in the body of the email to get instructions. Just put one or more of these request names in the body of the email (you can leave the subject line blank).


    The requested software will be sent back to you automatically via email, as an attached compressed .zip file archive.

  7. There is a version of Tor which works on Android powered SmartPhones called Orbot which is useful for hiding your IP address from social media websites like Twitter.

    N.B. do not expect too much security or privacy from a SmartPhone, they are tracking devices which happen to have voice, SMS text and internet data capabilities.

    Even using Tor / Orbot on an Android SmartPhone will not hide your physical location from the Call Detail Records and mobile phone Cell Base Station or WiFi or Bluetooth or Near field communications location tracking logging systems.

  8. If you are moderately technically adept, and have at least ADSL internet connectivity, you might wish to consider donating some of the bandwidth by running Tor as a server, either just to help mix up the traffic within the Tor "cloud" or also to offer your Tor server as an Exit Node (with the appropriate exit policy and bandwidth restrictions). By doing so, you will be helping potential whistleblowers and political dissidents living under repressive regimes. This is a moral choice, which, in our view, far outweighs the possible use of this system by criminals and terrorists.

  9. In order to make censorship a little more difficult, a copy of this Spy Blog Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers guide, is also being published as a Tor Hidden Service.

    http://r3lb3r3an7uj7bos.onion/ (not guaranteed to be available available 24/7)

    You will need to have installed the Tor software and established a working Tor connection, and then you will be able access this copy via end to end encryption and a high degree of anonymity through the Tor cloud:

    Several of the post-WikiLeaks whistleblower websites already use, or plan to use of Tor Hidden Services e.g. or the still not yet live or

    See the wiki for a listing these post-WikiLeaks websites and official government tipoff websites etc., together with anonymity and security analyses of some of the,

  10. The former Labour Government's authoritarian legal powers have still not yet been repealed by the Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition government, who seem to be reneging on their election promises, so political bloggers, activists and mainstream media journalists should all get used to living and working electronically under surveillance.

    You should help projects like Tor, as a matter of self defence against Government, Bureaucrat, Corporate and Criminal snoopers.

About this blog

We know that there are decent, honest, trustworthy individual politicians, civil servants, law enforcement, intelligence agency personnel and broadcast, print and internet journalists etc., who often feel powerless or trapped in the system. They need the assistance of external, detailed, informed, public scrutiny to help them to resist deliberate or unthinking policies, which erode our freedoms and liberties.

Some of these people will, in the public interest, act as whistleblowers, and may try to leak documents or information to the mainstream media, or to political blog websites etc.

Here are some Spy Blog "Hints and Tips", giving some basic preecautions, and some more obscure technical tips, which both whistleblowers, journalists, and bloggers need to be aware of, in order to help preserve the anonymity of whisteleblowing or other journalistic sources, especially in the United Kingdom, but applicable in other countries as well.

Whistleblower anonymity may not always be possible, or even necessary, forever into the future, but it is usuially crucial during at least the early stages of a "leak", whilst it is being evaluated by others, to see if it merits wider publication and publicity.

Email & PGP Contact

Please feel free to email your views about this blog, or news about the issues it tries to comment on.


Our PGP public encryption key is available for those correspondents who wish to send us news or information in confidence, and also for those of you who value your privacy, even if you have got nothing to hide.

You can download a free copy of the PGP encryption software from
(available for most of the common computer operating systems, and also in various Open Source versions like GPG).

We look forward to the day when UK Government Legislation, Press Releases and Emails etc. are Digitally Signed so that we can be assured that they are not fakes. Trusting that the digitally signed content makes any sense, is another matter entirely.


Tag Cloud

CryptoParty London

CryptoParty London

Most months there is a CryptoParty London event. where some of these Hints and Tips and other techniques are demonstrated and taught.

Usually at:

Juju's Bar and Stage 15 Hanbury St, E1 6QR, London

Follow on Twitter: @CryptoPartyLDN

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Watching Them, Watching Us, UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

FreeFarid_150.jpg - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond

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Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Open Rights Group

renew for freedom - renew your passport in 2006
Renew For Freedom - renew your Passport in the Summer Autumn of 2006.

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

Amnesty International's campaign

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

wikileaks_logo_low.jpg - the controversial "uncensorable, anonymous whistleblowing" website based currently in Sweden.

Public Concern at Work - "(PCaW) is the independent authority on public interest whistleblowing. Established as a charity in 1993 following a series of scandals and disasters, PCaW has played a leading role in putting whistleblowing on the governance agenda and in developing legislation in the UK and abroad. All our work is informed by the free advice we offer to people with whistleblowing dilemmas and the professional support we provide to enlightened organisations."