Tor exit node operator arrested in Russia - a solidarity Tor Relay Challenge launchedFr 14 April 2017 by xeniax, serrObengbi, 1up
Run a Tor relay or exit node in solidarity with Dmitry Bogatov!
On April 12, Russia celebrated Yuriy Gagarin’s first flight in space. In the meanwhile, a young Russian scientist, mathematician and FOSS activist Dmitry Bogatov spends the Space Day in detention center. His involvement in decentralized web projects, his interest to privacy and anonymity, his activities as an administrator of tor exit node have brought him under suspicion of the FSB. Accused of “incitation to terrorism” because of some messages posted from his IP address, he will stay detained till June 8 at least, and risks up to 7 years in prison if the Investigation committee ‘proves’ his guilt.
Though, the very nature of Bogatov case is a controversial one, as it mixes technical and legal arguments, and makes necessary both strong legal and technical expertise involved. Indeed, as a Tor exit node operator, Dmitry does not have control and responsibility on the content and traffic that passes through his node: it would be the same as accusing someone who has a knife stolen from her house for the murder committed with this knife by a stranger. In the past other exit node operators in Russia had conversations with police. For example, Sergey Matveev aka Stargrave been witnessing several times on the cases related to the crimes commited under his IP adress (mostly, related to financial fraud and hacking). Though, as Sergey states himself, he “has never been accused, but was only a witness”, as his cases were not related to “extremism” On 2016-02-02 his devices were seized for 2 weeks for inspection but he has never been detained, after explaining to the police how Tor actually works.
Russia counts 230.000 Tor users everyday and only 46 exit nodes. Tor is extremely popular after a bunch of laws restricting usage of Internet and enforcing the lawful interception procedures (obliging ISPs to store all metadata for 3 years, and the traffic - even though encrypted - for 6 months). However, the Bogatov case has had an influence on the perception of Tor by ‘end users’. We’ve observed several group chats on Russian most popular IM app, telegram, dedicated to anti-Putin protests: these chats gather from +500 to +1500 users, and a lot of them use different privacy enhancing tools. The Bogatov case was discussed widely. These discussions have shown that users do not fully understand the difference between running a relay and an exit node, and also between relay operators and tor browser users. They perceive Tor as being vulnerable to deanonymization. Misunderstanding, lack of feedback from Tor community or ‘expert’ users underrepresented in these chat rooms leads the discussion to a very dangerous direction: “we do not care about hiding things, because the police will anyway find everything about us - even Tor is not secure”.
Tor activists have launched a flashmob - “Run a relay in solidarity with Bogatov”. By April 13, in only 1 day, 18 new relays have been set up in different countries, wearing names like freeBogatov and KActionLibre, referring to Bogatov’s handle famous in FOSS and GnuPG forums. Bogatov’s personal exit node that he had been running from his own house was also wearing the ‘kaction’ name. It is the first flashmob that uses relays as form of international solidarity and the nicknames of relays become a means to transmit a message: Bogatov is part of the community, he is a valuable, trusted person who has been contributing to various open source projects and is recognized as a professional. Tor community also works on technical proof/explanations to help users and Bogatov’s lawyers to understand that, by the very architecture of Tor network, Bogatov can not be responsible for the things he is accused of. He also has alibi: he was absent when the messages were published, and video recordings from surveillance cameras are in posession of Bogatov’s lawyer. Another proof of Bogatov’s innocence is the fact that the user continued posting incendiary messages after Bogatov has been arrested. Also, the style of writing, the language, orthography do not correspond to Bogatov’s style - this can be proven by psycholinguistic expertise. However, FSB does not want to stop the process - they investigate the version of “terrorism”, that would mean a very hard penalty for Dmitry, and also does not correspond to technical, legal, psychological, social situation. The judge also claimed to not trust Dmitry because of his ”high skills in new technologies” that may potentially help him “erase traces of his crimes” - to prove this weird hypothesis, the Investigation Committee has withdrawn all the technical equipment from Dmitry’s apartment - from USB drives to laptops, smartphones and cameras…
If you can, run a relay or an exit node and give it a name that contains Bogatov or KAction (Bogatov’s handle). By running more relays we increase anonymity and also show solidarity and demonstrate the power of shared responsibility.
Tor relays are publicly available for everyone to use
The IP addresses of the Tor relays (middle relays and exit nodes) are publicly available and can be freely used by the tor users. The fact that relays are a publicly available resource doesn’t minimize or threatens the anonymity of a tor user in fact it can be used as a proof that an IP address of a server was a Tor at a given time.
Currently running Tor relays are enumerated to Atlas, a web application to learn about currently running Tor relays. In a similarly way the ExoneraTor service maintains a database of IP addresses that have been part of the Tor network. It answers the question whether there was a Tor relay running on a given IP address on a given date. ExoneraTor may store more than one IP address per relay if relays use a different IP address for exiting to the Internet than for registering in the Tor network, and it stores whether a relay permitted transit of Tor traffic to the open Internet at that time. Exonerator is a web service that can check if an IP address was a relay at a given time.
A different type of relays; bridges are Tor relays that aren’t listed in the public Tor directory. That means that ISPs or governments trying to block access to the Tor network can’t simply block all bridges. Bridges are useful a) for Tor users in oppressive regimes, and b) for people who want an extra layer of security because they’re worried somebody will recognize that it’s a public Tor relay IP address they’re contacting.
- What is a Tor relay
- The Legal FAQ for Tor Relay Operators
- How is Tor different from other proxies?
- What security protections does Tor provide?
- Interactive visualization that explains various Tor/non-Tor scenarios
Run a Tor relay or exit node in solidarity with Dmitry Bogatov!
Tor activists launch a call to run relays and exit nodes in solidarity with Dmitry Bogatov, a FOSS contributor, GnuPG and privacy advocate and math teacher arrested and detained in Russia. By now 26 relays have been set up in different countries.
Bogatov will stay in detention till June 8 at least. He risks up to 7 years in prison as he is accused of having published messages with incitations to terrorism. A user ‘Airat Bashirov’ was indeed posting a number of messages inciting to organize mass rallies and protests, using Bogatov’s home IP adress. However, as a Tor exit node operator, Bogatov can not have access or be responsible for the content that passes by: Tor’s technical architecture is in itself a proof of his innocence.
As an active FOSS contributor, he also has a support from the peer community and has a strong alibi - he was in the sport center and then in the supermarket at the moment when the messages were published. Moreover, after Bogatov’s arrest the same user continued posting incendiary messages.
If you can, run a tor relay or an exit node and give it a name that contains Bogatov or KAction (Bogatov’s handle). By running more relays we increase anonymity and also show solidarity and demonstrate the power of shared responsibility.
Three servers offline, likely seized
Last Thursday we noticed that three servers went down. Those servers were used to run Tor exit nodes, 10 in total. We tried to get in contact with our providers which weren’t able to tell us anything and also could not reboot the servers nor give us access to ...read more
Reporters Without Borders and Torservers.net, partners against online surveillance and censorship
Reporters Without Borders and Torservers.net have joined forces to create and maintain 250 additional relays for the Tor network.
“In doing this, our two organizations are thumbing our noses at the entire world’s censors,” said Grégoire Pouget, the head of the ...read more
Torcollect - A tool to collect statistics from servers that run Tor bridges
For the last half year i’ve been developing a tool that collects metrics from bridge servers. The specified application had to extract and collect the data from each single server that is registered in the system and generate static HTML reports from the received data.
Torcollect is written in ...read more
Tor Relay Operator Meetup at 30C3
Torservers.net invites Tor exit relay operators and organizations to a meetup at this year’s Chaos Communication Congress 30c3 in Hamburg. If possible, for example if you’re a member of one of the ‘Torservers partner organizations’, please prepare some slides on your activities and let us know about ...read more
Upgrading RAM due to large amount of user connections
Preparation for reimbursement: partner mailinglists
In preparation of Torservers.net reimbursing exit and bridge operators, we have set up two new mailing lists. Entities that receive reimbursement are called “Torservers partners” and listed at https://www.torservers.net/partners.html (if they want to be listed)
If you want to become a partner, we have ...read more
Support for Relay Operators
I just noticed that I never announced that we offer support for relay operators at support [at] torservers [dot] net. You can encrypt your mails using PGP — https://www.torservers.net/torservers_pub.asc fingerprint B099 CF5D 5B97 DC65 2406 B458 C8F4 2EB2 E033 4E90
Currently, four founding members of Torservers ...read more
On the way to more diversity
I have started to make changes to the Torservers.net website to reflect that we have grown from “professional Tor Exit hosting” to a state where growth of a single organization is not useful any more. We have refrained from ramping up more exit capacity for quite some time because ...read more
Torservers receives 12000€ grant from Wau Holland Foundation
Sorry to spam you with just the press release, but all this took quite some time to get ready in time for March 12, Reporters without Borders “World Day Against Cyber Censorship”, and I need to catch a little sleep now.
In short: We received a grant of 12,000 ...read more
New Exit at Voxility/Limehost in Romania
I’ve just installed a new Tor exit at Voxility in Romania. We have hosted there before through a German reseller (T-N Media), but the peering should have improved massively since, and by dealing with the NOC directly, we got proper RIPE reassignment and their “go” for Tor.
Let’s ...read more
Progress Update - Happy New Torservers Year 2012
It’s still early enough to say Happy New Year and welcome another year worth fighting for net freedom…
Anyway, it’s been quite some time since I last sent an update to this list. I really recommend everyone to follow our twitter account @torservers or use the RSS feed ...read more
Paypal and bank account changed; please update if you still use old one
We have a new bank account. Do not use my personal bank account any longer as this makes accounting more complicated.
If you do wire transfers, this is our bank info:
Account holder: Zwiebelfreunde e.V. Name of bank: GLS Gemeinschaftsbank eG IBAN: DE09430609671126825600 BIC: GENODEM1GLS (Kontonummer 1126825600, BLZ 43060967 ...read more
Torservers.net Meetups in Dresden (3.9. and 15.10.)
The non-profit association behind torservers.net invites everyone, especially its current members, to two meetings. The first meeting will be held on the evening of Saturday, 3.9., in my kitchen. The second meeting will be on the evening of Saturday, 15.10., most likely also in my ...read more
Torservers Progress Report
Zwiebelfreunde e.V. has finally received the necessary paperwork from the tax authorities and can now open a bank account etc. Juris is preparing a membership application form, so you should soon all be able to join. We’re still working on The Infrastructure (TM) to replace the ...read more
New ~616 Mbit/s Exits at NForce NL
I am very exited to announce the new exits hosted at NForce Entertainment in the Netherlands . We have proper WHOIS reassignment and their full support, so I am experimenting with an exit policy that allows all ports to exit to hopefully attract more traffic.
NForce has decided to support ...read more
New 200TB exit node hosted with Axigy (USA): manning and saeeed
I am excited to announce that I have found an ISP who showed interest and understanding in what we are doing. http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showthread.php?t=1035976
—— snip —— Great, I like what you’re doing to help those countries with respective governments. In response to Abuse, we are ...read more
Torservers Progress Report February/March
Torservers.net receives $10,000 grant from Access Now
Dresden, March 8th 2011
Onions Against Dictators - Torservers.net supports democracy movements by providing uncensorable gateway to free Internet; receives $10,000 grant from Access Now
Uncensored access to the Internet can overthrow dictators and aid the creation of free societies. This has been shown by recent events in North ...read more
Progress report Feb 1-5
Anyone interested in doing an English workshop on Internet censorship/online activism with me on ENA? http://www.ena2011.eu/
Feb 1st: - Flatters for torservers passed 1000! https://flattr.com/thing/5649/ - Flattr Revenue January: €128,57
Feb 2nd: - We have our own ARIN WHOIS entries now for zeller and ...read more
New Tor relays online - zeller and raskin (thanks Mike from DefaultRoute!)
zeller.torservers.net and raskin.torservers.net just went live. These two relays are donations by the founder of defaultroute.net, Mike Sawicki, currently set at 20 Mbps each. He will SWIP the IP range, after that we will gradually open the exit policy.
Thank you Mike Sawicki - http://hax ...read more
- www.codero.com donated a 100mbps Tor exit! The IP range should be SWIPed and RDNS set properly soon. We’re still testing the setup, so for now we’re only allowing port 443 to exit. http://torstatus.all.de/router_detail.php?FP=C67622A01D8D3B742A14506CD446342993C20FE3
It is named “wau”, after Wau ...read more
Merry Christmas / Traffic Stats December 2010 / 27c3
It’s been very quiet on this list for a while now, and the website doesn’t show much progress either, so let me give you a “behind the scenes”.
- Abuse After convincing Softlayer to add a comment to our WHOIS range and limiting the ports, all complaints were directed ...
All four nodes on top of all.de torstatus :-)
Datacenter stats: http://www.torservers.net/status/100624-sl.png
Tell your friends ;)
Haven’t heard back from neither BayTSP about my DMCA status, nor from Softlayer/100TB about SWIP. The 100TB admin told me he emailed their network engineers to check whether it is possible - although they told me about ...read more
Another day, another dollar
We have a new server in Australia!
I’ve been contacted by networkpresence.com.au, a nice ISP in Australia. They have donated a small server for running another Tor exit node with 1MB/s of traffic.
First nodes are online :-)
Thanks to YOU, the first nodes are online! As I’m still testing (never had the goal of pumping 39MB/s before), the configuration is provisional and I don’t want to announce them widely yet, but of course you should know about the progress.
anonymizer2.torservers.net (no web ...read more
You can now Flattr torservers.net
Update: 32MB/s, new Torstatus screenshot
Tor Exit Node Sponsorship - looking for partners
At the moment, 25% of all traffic exits through Blutmagie (thanks Olaf!). I guess we all agree that this situation is far from optimal.
Judging from the number of requests in the last months where people were looking for friendly ISPs, help with setting up, running and managing Tor nodes ...read more