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Accessing Tor Using Bridge Relays

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Hi. Now, you've really been enjoying using Tor and you like the fact that it's protecting your security and privacy online. But one day, you go to turn on the Tor service and it doesn't work. What does this mean? This means that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is filtering all of the known Tor Relays in your area. Well we need a way to get around this in order to continue being secure and anonymous online. To do this, Tor has come up with what they call "Bridge Relays". "Bridge Relays" or "Bridges" are Tor Relays that are not listed in the main Tor directory. Because there is no public list of them, there is a good chance that your ISP doesn't know they exist and they probably aren't blocking them. So, connecting to the Tor Network through one of these Bridge Relays is the best way to get around your ISP's filtering of the known Tor Relay Network. Let me show you how to access the Tor Bridge Relays. The first thing that you want to make sure of is that you actually have the software. I have explained how to download and install the Tor software in another tutorial. Here's a quick recap. If you don't have it, and you want to get the software, go to http://www.torproject.org, click on the "Download" tab, and then choose either the Browser Bundle or the Vidalia Bundle. In this tutorial I will be using the Vidalia Bundle, but it works the same with both so you can still follow along with my directions. If you want to learn a little bit more about the bridges before we get started you can go to http://www.torproject.org/bridges. This will give you an overview of what the bridges are and tell you how to get them. For right now, because there's some useful information on this page that I will use later, I'm going to minimize the window. The first thing that we want to do is start the Tor software. Go to the Vidalia Bundle and start the user interface. My computer will connect to the Tor service but that's because my ISP isn't blocking access to the Tor Relay Network. Now we're going to go into settings. Once you're in settings click the network tab and right here where it says "My ISP blocks connections to the Tor network" you want to check that box. It will bring up this dialog box. Here is "Add a Bridge" and this is the dialog box that will be full of bridges that you add to Tor. The more bridges you have, the better. If you have one bridge that's fine, you'll still get connected to the network, but if your ISP discovers that bridge and blocks it you won't be able to access the network anymore. So the more you have, the better. There's one very easy way to get a bridge going. There's a button below the dialog box that says "Find Bridges Now". Click this button and it will try to find bridges in your area. It would appear that I have three. It will connect to any of these. Just select one and click "OK". Obviously, since I'm already connected, it didn't need to use the bridge. Now let's imagine that you couldn't find any bridges in the area, or maybe you just want to add more. This is where we want to go back to http://www.torproject.org/bridges and look at the section called "Finding more bridges for Tor" where it gives you information. That information includes an email address that you can send a request to and Tor will send you a list of bridges to use. What we're going to do now is copy the email address ([email protected]). Before you leave the page make sure that you read the whole paragraph under "finding more bridges for tor". The paragraph tells you that you need to add the line "get bridges" to the subject line of the email and that you have to use a "gmail" (http://www.gmail.com) account to send the request. I have a gmail account so I'm going to go to www.gmail.com and sign in. One great thing about gmail is that it uses "HTTPS" encryption. So if you don't already have a gmail account, you might consider getting one because of the enhanced security. Now we're going to compose a new message and paste [email protected] into the "To" line. I'm going to put "get bridges" into the subject line and the body of the email. And then I'm going to click send. Now all we have to do is wait for the response from Tor. Okay, so as you can see, Tor has sent us back an email about the bridges. We're going to go into the email and they give us info again on how to use bridges with the Tor program. What we're going to do is copy and paste each on of these into the Tor program. I'm going to highlight this one, copy it, open the Tor program, go back into settings, click on the network tab, and paste the bridge into the field that says "Add a Bridge". Then you want to click the green cross to add the bridge. Now we've successfully added the bridge to our list of bridges. That's really all there is to setting up a Tor bridge relay. The Tor Bridge Relays are not just important for people who's ISP has blocked the Tor Network, they are also important for people who live in countries where using anonymity software is frowned upon. The reason that they are important is because these Bridge Relays are not immediately associated with Tor. Because they aren't listed on Tor's public network, it is harder for an ISP to discover that they are bridging the connection between your computer and the Tor network. So, it might be better for people who live in countries where it's frowned upon, to use bridge relays to connect to the Tor network so that you can protect your privacy and your security online. I hope you now have a better understanding of how to use the bridge relays so that you can continue to enjoy the security and privacy that the Tor network offers you.

Video Details

Duration: 7 minutes and 14 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Calvin Rhodes
Director: Calvin Rhodes
Views: 843
Posted by: therhodesahead on Jun 1, 2010

A tutorial on how to access Tor using Bridge Relays.

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