Tor Weekly News — May 6th, 2015

Harmony harmony01 at
Wed May 6 12:00:30 UTC 2015

Tor Weekly News                                            May 6th, 2015

Welcome to the eighteenth issue in 2015 of Tor Weekly News, the weekly
newsletter that covers what’s happening in the Tor community.


 1. Tor Project, Inc. appoints Interim Executive Director
 2. Monthly status reports for April 2015
 3. Miscellaneous news
 4. Upcoming events

Tor Project, Inc. appoints Interim Executive Director

Following the departure of the Tor Project, Inc.’s Executive Director,
Andrew Lewman [1], the board of directors [2] has appointed Roger
Dingledine as Interim Executive Director, and Nick Mathewson as Interim
Deputy Executive Director, until long-term candidates for these roles
are found. Roger and Nick are both co-founders and lead developers of
Tor, and need no introduction here — but you can watch Roger’s
conversation with the National Science Foundation [3] and (if you read
Spanish) take a look at Nick’s recent interview with El País [4] to
learn a bit more about who they are and what inspires them to work on


Monthly status reports for April 2015

The wave of regular monthly reports from Tor project members for the
month of April has begun. George Kadianakis released his report
first [5] (offering updates on onion service research), followed by
reports from Yawning Angel [6] (reporting on pluggable transport
research and core Tor hacking), Sherief Alaa [7] (on support work,
documentation rewrites, and testing), David Goulet [8] (on onion service
and core Tor development), Nick Mathewson [9] (on core Tor development
and organizational work), Leiah Jansen [10] (on graphic design and
branding), Pearl Crescent [11] (on Tor Browser and Tor Launcher
development and testing), Jacob Appelbaum [12] (on advocacy and
outreach), Griffin Boyce [13] (on security research and Satori/Cupcake
development), Damian Johnson [14] (on Stem development and coordinating
Tor Summer of Privacy), Georg Koppen [15] (on Tor Browser Development
and build system research), Juha Nurmi [16] (on development and
Tor outreach), and Israel Leiva [17] (on the GetTor project).

Mike Perry reported on behalf of the Tor Browser team [18], giving
details of the 4.5 release process, significant security enhancements,
and work to ensure that the wider Internet community takes the Tor
network into account when developing standards and protocols.


Miscellaneous news

Isis Lovecruft announced [19] the release and deployment of version
0.3.2 of BridgeDB [20], the software that handles bridge address
collection and distribution for the Tor network. Notable changes include
the setting of obfs4 as the default pluggable transport served to users,
better handling of clients from the same IPv6 address block, and the
exclusion of broken bridge lines from the database.


Tom Ritter shared a slide deck [21] offering “a 100-foot overview on
Tor”: “Before I post it on twitter or a blog, I wanted to send it around
semi-publicly to collect any feedback people think is useful.”


Moritz Bartl announced [22] the Tor-BSD Diversity Project, which aims to
mitigate the risks that the “overwhelming GNU/Linux monoculture” among
Tor relay operators might pose to the security of the Tor network: “In a
global anonymity network, monocultures are potentially disastrous.  A
single kernel vulnerability in GNU/Linux that impacting Tor relays could
be devastating. We want to see a stronger Tor network, and we believe
one critical ingredient for that is operating system diversity.”


David Fifield published the regular summary of costs incurred by the
infrastructure for meek in April [23], detailing a large increase in
simultaneous users over the last month (from 2000 to 5000), and the
possible effects of a larger meek userbase on the Tor Metrics
portal’s [24] bridge user graphs.


John Brooks suggested [25] that, when the “next-generation onion
services” proposal [26] is implemented, there will no longer be any
reason to use both introduction points and hidden service
directories [27] when establishing connections between Tor clients and
onion services.  Calculating introduction points in the same way that
HSDirs would be selected may have “substantial” benefits: “Services
touch fewer relays and don’t need to periodically post descriptors.
Client connections are much faster. The set of relays that can observe
popularity is reduced.  It’s more difficult to become the IP of a
targeted service.” See John’s proposal for a detailed explanation, and
feel free to send your comments to the tor-dev mailing list.


Upcoming events

  May 06 13:30 UTC | little-t tor development meeting
                   | #tor-dev,
  May 07 16:00 UTC | SponsorO support/documentation meeting
                   | #tor-project,
  May 08 16:00 UTC | SponsorO Tor Messenger/Tor Mail meeting
                   | #tor-project,
  May 11 18:00 UTC | Tor Browser meeting
                   | #tor-dev,
  May 11 18:00 UTC | OONI development meeting
                   | #ooni,
  May 12 18:00 UTC | little-t tor patch workshop
                   | #tor-dev,
  May 12 19:00 UTC | Tails low-hanging fruit session
                   | #tails-dev,
  May 13 02:00 UTC | Pluggable transports/bridges meeting
                   | #tor-dev,

This issue of Tor Weekly News has been assembled by Harmony, Roger
Dingledine, and Karsten Loesing.

Want to continue reading TWN? Please help us create this newsletter.
We still need more volunteers to watch the Tor community and report
important news. Please see the project page [28], write down your
name and subscribe to the team mailing list [29] if you want to
get involved!


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