Opened 2 years ago

Last modified 13 months ago

#28556 new project

Detect other installed circumvention tools and offer them as transports

Reported by: arma Owned by: tbb-team
Priority: Medium Milestone:
Component: Applications/Tor Browser Version:
Severity: Normal Keywords: ux-team, tor-pt, s32-o32a2
Cc: Actual Points:
Parent ID: #31283 Points:
Reviewer: Sponsor: Sponsor30-can


If the Tor Browser user has Lantern installed on the system too, and direct Tor traffic is blocked, wouldn't it be cool to offer the user the option to send their Tor traffic via Lantern into the Tor network?

More broadly, many tools focus on "access" rather than Tor's more comprehensive goal of "safe access", and while each of them offers tradeoffs around performance, reliability, and safety, it seems like a net win to make it straightforward for Tor Browser (via the pluggable transport selection menu) to route through them if they're present.

One stumbling block: some of these access tools try to make it hard for other processes on the system to notice that they're present. I hear Lantern is one of those -- it uses simple techniques like randomizing its proxy port, but it doesn't currently use more sophisticated approaches like changing its process name. But "detecting apps that don't want to be detected" doesn't seem like a fun arms race for Tor Browser to get into.

Another stumbling block: some of these access tools are centralized, which makes it sketchier to route traffic through them. But we already accept exactly this tradeoff in the case of meek, so I'm ok with this angle.

So, to make this ticket more concrete:

  • Let's make a list of other "access" tools in our space that we'd like to play well with.
  • Then let's ask each of them if they'd like to offer some API for us to detect their presence and learn how exactly to use them (similar to Tor's "ControlPortWriteToFile" config option, which writes out a file with parameters on how to interact with the running Tor).
  • Assuming the resulting set isn't empty, let's teach Tor Launcher how to configure Tor to use them, and add the option(s) to Tor Browser's pluggable transport menu.

(The VPN interfaces are I think different from this idea, since in that world they already have the notion of either selecting what apps to capture traffic from, or they just ask to capture all traffic. So there's nothing the Tor Browser needs to do for those cases. Unless I'm wrong?)

Child Tickets

Change History (6)

comment:1 Changed 23 months ago by gaba

Keywords: tor-pt added

comment:2 Changed 17 months ago by gaba

Keywords: ex-sponsor-19 added

Adding the keyword to mark everything that didn't fit into the time for sponsor 19.

comment:3 Changed 17 months ago by phw

Sponsor: Sponsor19Sponsor30-can

Moving from Sponsor 19 to Sponsor 30.

comment:4 Changed 17 months ago by arma

Somebody put up a video of how to hook Tor Browser up to ShadowsocksR:

This seems like a good example to team up better between these two apps.

comment:5 Changed 15 months ago by pili

Parent ID: #31283

comment:6 Changed 13 months ago by gaba

Keywords: s32-o32a2 added; ex-sponsor-19 removed
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