[tor-dev] Hidden Services and IP address changes

Yaron Goland yarong at microsoft.com
Mon Jun 15 22:42:16 UTC 2015

I'm ashamed to say in our case that we really just used the TOR HS as a proof of concept and never ran it long enough to run into all of these issues. We did run into something along these lines when we were testing and our solution was to aggressively kill connections and retry. Not exactly brilliant. :(

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Rogers [mailto:michael at briarproject.org] 
Sent: Thursday, May 21, 2015 6:17 AM
To: Nathan Freitas; tor-dev at lists.torproject.org
Cc: Yaron Goland
Subject: Re: [tor-dev] Hidden Services and IP address changes

On 21/05/15 14:04, Nathan Freitas wrote:
> On Thu, May 21, 2015, at 07:16 AM, Martin Florian wrote:
>> I think I've found one or more bugs that appear when Tor clients 
>> hosting HSes change their IP address during operation. I'm slightly 
>> overwhelmed from reading the Tor source code and not sure how to best 
>> fix them.
> Thanks for bringing this up. I know Michael from Briar has definitely 
> focused on solving this at some point, and Yaron from the Thali 
> Project (who build this library:
> https://github.com/thaliproject/Tor_Onion_Proxy_Library), as well. 
> I've been implementing an OnionShare-type app myself, and had hoped 
> this was solved by some recent changes, but it seems not, from your experience.

I think this may be a different problem from the one I looked at, which was related to introduction points rather than rendezvous points.

But that reminds me, the solution for the stale introduction point issue (flushing the HS descriptor from the cache on the client before
connecting) still needs to go through the patch workshop. I'll bump that up the todo list.

>> The central issue that I discovered can be reproduced like this 
>> (assuming Tor clients A, B and C):
>> 1. (Setup) A hosts the HS X and A, B and C are all booted up.
>> 2. B connects to X - it works!
>> 3. A changes its IP address.
>> 4. B tries to talk to X again - doesn't work!
>> 5. C tries to talk to X (for the first time) - works like a charm (so 
>> X IS working)
>> I digged through the Tor log and source code and have now arrived at 
>> following hypothesis for why this particular error happens:
>> - - after A changes its IP addresses, it never establishes a circuit 
>> to the old RP with B again.
>> - - B, on the other hand, keeps trying to talk with A through that 
>> RP, saying that it is an "Active rendezvous point". B never stops 
>> trying to use that RP.

I wonder whether the RP knows that the service-RP circuit has died, and if so, should it tear down the client-RP circuit?

> I wonder if B also was running a hidden service, if it would be 
> possible at the application level for A to tell B that it has changed 
> IP addresses, and then through some interaction with the Tor Control 
> Port, to fresh the RP?

It would be nice if we could find a way to detect this at the Tor level so we don't have to maintain two circuits between A and B.


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