Secure and Anonymous Browsing Using Privoxy and Tor

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Privoxy and Tor are free, open source, software you can use to encrypt and anonimize your communications online.

Basically Privoxy is a proxy server – you can configure it for all kinds of filtering options to customize your browsing experience, block ads, etc… Tor anonimizes your connection to the Internet. It works by making an encrypted connection to a server in the Tor Onion network. Once in the network, you are routed through random Tor servers. The result is that the end web site cannot identify your location or details. Your traffic also remains encrypted between your computer and the Tor network – meaning nobody at your ISP is able to see your traffic.

When Privoxy and Tor are used together they provide a great deal of control. Tor can be used without Privoxy as well. This instruction if for Ubuntu Linux. To be fair, there is also a version for Windows. For windows simply refer to the links at the end of this article. Installers and instructions are included there.

Configuring Privoxy and Tor in Ubuntu is a piece of cake.

1. install Privoxy and Tor:

sudo apt-get install tor

sudo apt-get install privoxy

2. install FoxyProxy plugin for Firefox (this is not absolutely necessary but makes it easier to switch Tor on and off.

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/2464

Do not do any auto configuration – just cancel through any prompts to configure for now.

3. Edit your Privoxy config file

sudo gedit /etc/privoxy/config

uncomment (delete the #) the line that says:

forward-socks4a / 127.0.0.1:9050 .

and save

4. Restart Firefox and right click on FoxyProxy in the status bar

Click “Add New Proxy”

Enter the following:

Under General;
Enabled: Tick
Proxy Name: Privoxy To Tor
Animate ….: Tick
Include …..: Tick

Under Proxy Details;
Manual Proxy …. : Tick
Host Name: 127.0.0.1 Port: 8118
SOCKS proxy? : do NOT tick

Under URL Patterns;
(If it doesn’t exist already)
Add new pattern;
Enabled: Tick
Pattern name: All
URL pattern: *
Whitelist: Tick
Wildcards: Tick

5. Restart the Tor and Privoxy Services

sudo /etc/init.d/tor restart
sudo /etc/init.d/privoxy restart

6. Go to http://whatismyip.com and note your ip address.

7. Right click on Foxy Proxy and enable your new “Privoxy to Tor”

8. Refresh the whatismyip.com page and note your new address. This confirms you are now browsing via Tor.

You can also confirm you are browsing via Tor by going to the following URL: http://check.torproject.org

For more information on using Tor with Windows and different ways to use Tor and Privoxy, visit the following:

http://www.torproject.org/

http://www.privoxy.org/

You will find that the speed of browsing leaves a bit to be desired – however in the case of NGO personnel in hostile countries, or other sensitive matters, it can be an invaluable tool to protect privacy.

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