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How to make your own TOR Proxy Router with Raspberry Pi

Basic Premise of the Article:

What if you want to browse anonymously on a device maybe a laptop, mobile phone, tablet or any console device that does not have an Ethernet/LAN connection and cannot run Tor? What if you cannot install Tor or do not want to on your Work computer? What if someone wants to use Tor but doesn’t have the time or ability to run it on their computer? Then, this article is for you.

Introduction to TOR:

Tor or commonly known as the The Onion Router, allows anonymous use of internet concealing the real identity of the user. It protects the user from any traffic analysis as well as network spying. The TOR network encrypts the data into multiple layers and hides the source of origin of a web page request. As you know, every internet packet goes through 3 layers of relays before going to your destination. This makes it much harder for the server you are accessing to figure out who you are and where you are coming from.It is an excellent way to gain access to certain websites which are blocked.

Prerequisite Things:

You'll need a few things to make you own TOR Proxy Router:

  • Raspberry Pi model B+ (or B) - Ethernet is required
  • Ethernet cable
  • WiFi adapter
  • SD Card (4GB or greater) with Raspbian on it. You can either copy the Raspbian image onto it or buy a ready-made Raspbian card
  • Power supply for your Pi
  • USB Console cable (optional) - this makes it a little easier to debug the system
  • Case for your Pi (optional)
  • A SD or MicroSD card reader (optional)

Setting up Raspberry Pi :

When you buy a Raspberry Pi, it is not necessary to have been sold with a SD card. The SD card is important because this is where the Raspberry Pi keeps its Operating System and also where you will store your documents and programs.  
Even if your Raspberry Pi comes with an Operating system, it is always good to update it to the latest version. Remember, putting the Operating System in the Raspberry Pi will wipe all the data, so it is advised to have a USB drive for your documents, so that when you install a new version of the operating system, you don't have the complication of copying them off somewhere safe before reformatting the SD card.

If your Raspberry Pi did not have an SD card then the minimum size you should get is 4GB, but buy a bigger SD card if you think you will need the space. It is always advised to get a bigger size SD card.

Downloading the Image:

The operating system that will be installed onto the SD card must be downloaded from the official Raspberry Pi website. This will usually be a zip file that then extracts to a file of type .img, an image file. Whatever image file you download, the actual installation process will be the same.

There are numerous number of Operating Systems that you can install on your Raspberry Pi. If you are a beginner, you'll probably want to stick with one of the Linux distributions. Deciding you want to install Linux is not the end of the story. You now have to decide which distro of Linux you wish to install. Being an Open Source Operating System, anyone can take one of the existing distributions an add things to it or configure it in a certain way before packaging it up as another distribution option for anyone to use. This is how the most common Raspberry Pi distribution, 'Raspbian', came into existence. After downloading the .zip Raspbian file, unzip it to get the image file (.img) for writing to your SD card.

Writing the image to SD Card:

Please visit the official Raspberry Pi website, to get the procedure.

Booting and Configuring the Raspberry Pi:

Once, you have the OS installed on your SD card, it’s time to setup your Raspberry Pi to boot it up for the first time. To do this, use a tool called Raspi-Config which automatically runs when you boot your Raspberry Pi for the first time. This starts before the operating system and so you have to use the cursor keys and Enter key to navigate through the menu system.

Using the whole SD Card :
This may sound a bit weird, but by default, the Raspberry Pi only uses as much of the SD card as the operating system requires. This means that even though you might have used a larger SD card, it won't use it. To fix this so that all the space on the SD card can be used, use up / down cursor keys to select the 'expand_rootfs' menu option and hit Enter. Once you do that, a script will run and you will get the following confirmation.
Using Full Screen of the monitor:

Raspberry Pi, by default, doesn’t use the full screen of your monitor , it just appears in the middle portion of the screen. This is not true of all monitors, but if it happens, then selecting the option to Disable Overscan may fix this for you. Use the left and right cursor keys to make your selection and then hit Return. If after disabling overscan, you cannot see the left edge of the screen then see the section 'Running Raspi_Config After Booting'.

Booting into Desktop:

Raspberry Pi, by default, boots you into command line interface. So, to boot into Desktop, select the Boot_behaviour option and select ‘Yes’ and Enter.

Testing the Internet Connection :

a.) Using the Ethernet cable:

The fastest way to get your Raspberry Pi connected is to use an Ethernet patch cable and just plug it into the back of your router.As soon as you plug your Pi in, you should see the network LEDs start to glow. If that doesn’t happen, it means your router is not configured to DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol). You can do that by going to your router settings in the computer which is already connected to it, and enabling the option which configures DHCP for your router.

b.) Setting up WiFi using the command line:

Open the terminal, and use the following commands :

  1. sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces
  2. auto lo

iface lo inet loopback
iface eth0 inet dhcp

allow-hotplug wlan0
auto wlan0

iface wlan0 inet dhcp
         wpa-ssid "your_ssid"
        wpa-psk "your_password"

You have to make changes at the last two lines, changing your_ssid and your_password to your wifi’s SSID and password respectively. After changing that Press Ctrl + x to save the file. Restart your Raspberry Pi and you would see Pi connects to your WiFi as it boots up.

To find the IP Address of your Raspberry Pi, open the terminal and type the following command:

sudo ifconfig

Next to the wlan0, you will see inet address which is your Pi’s IP address.

Installing TOR:

Now, we’ll install TOR - the onion routing software step by step. Log in to your Raspberry Pi by ethernet or wifi and open the terminal.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install tor

Then you need to edit the TOR config file by running

sudo nano /etc/tor/torrc

And write the following code to it, right below the FAQ option

Log notice file /var/log/tor/notices.log
AutomapHostsSuffixes .onion,.exit
AutomapHostsOnResolve 1
TransPort 9040
DNSPort 53

We’ll now change the host access point to something, let’s call it Onion Pi for now - don't forget to set a good password, don't use the default here!

sudo nano /etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf

Now, we need to change our ip routing tables so that connections via the wifi interface (wlan0) will be routed through the tor software. Type the following to flush the old rules from the ip NAT table.

sudo iptables -F
sudo iptables -t nat -F

Type this to route all DNS (UDP port 53) from interface wlan0 to internal port 53

sudo iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -i wlan0 -p udp --dport 53 -j REDIRECT --to-ports 53

Type this to route all TCP traffic from interface wlan0 to port 9040

sudo iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -i wlan0 -p tcp --syn -j REDIRECT --to-ports 9040

Next you can check that the ip tables are right with
sudo iptables -t nat -L

Now, if it all went good, we’ll save it to old NAT save file using this command

sudo sh -c "iptables-save > /etc/iptables.ipv4.nat"

It will automatically get loaded when the networking is set up on reboot.

Next we'll create our log file which is very handy for debugging with

sudo touch /var/log/tor/notices.log
sudo chown debian-tor /var/log/tor/notices.log
sudo chmod 644 /var/log/tor/notices.log

You can check it with

ls -l /var/log/tor

To start the TOR service manually

sudo service tor start

To check if TOR really running

sudo service tor status

Finally, to make it start on boot

sudo update-rc.d tor enable

To test our TOR anonymizing proxy, you could just simply click on Onion Pi available in your Wi-Fi list and type the password you entered at the time of hostapd configuration file.

To check that the proxy is working, visit a website like which will display your IP address as it sees it and also the matching domain name if available. The IP address should not be from your internet provider - in fact, if you reload the page it should change!

References :

1 comment:

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