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[tor-talk] Tor Weekly News — August 14th, 2015



========================================================================
Tor Weekly News                                        August 14th, 2015
========================================================================

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

Contents
--------

 1. Tor Browser 5.0 and 5.5a1 are out
 2. Tails 1.5 is out
 3. OnioNS beta testing version is out
 4. Miscellaneous news
 5. Upcoming events

Tor Browser 5.0 and 5.5a1 are out
---------------------------------

The Tor Browser team put out two new releases of the privacy-preserving
web browser. Version 5.0 [1], the first release in the new stable
series, is based on Firefox 38ESR, “which should mean improved support
for HTML5 video on Youtube, as well as a host of other improvements”.
Updates to Tor Browser are now downloaded automatically in the
background, removing the need for users to go through the update wizard
manually. New privacy features in this release include first-party
domain bar isolation of more identifier sources, and “defenses from the
5.0-alpha series for keystroke (typing) fingerprinting and some
instances of performance/timing fingerprinting”.

The first alpha release [2] in the 5.5 series, meanwhile, fixes the
recent pdf.js exploit [3] to which users of 5.0a3 and 5.0a4 had been
vulnerable; it also contains a refined version of the new font
fingerprinting defenses in which “Tor Browser now ships with a standard
set of fonts, and prefers to use the provided fonts instead of native
ones in most cases”.

For full changelogs and download instructions, please see the team’s
announcements. Both of these new releases contain important security
updates, so please upgrade your Tor Browser as soon as you can.

  [1]: https://blog.torproject.org/blog/tor-browser-50-released
  [2]: https://blog.torproject.org/blog/tor-browser-55a1-released
  [3]: https://blog.mozilla.org/security/2015/08/06/firefox-exploit-found-in-the-wild/

Tails 1.5 is out
----------------

The Tails developers announced version 1.5 [4] of the anonymous live
operating system. This release disables access to the local network in
Tor Browser, restricting this activity to Tails’ “unsafe browser”. It
also ships with Tor Browser 5.0, and a 32-bit GRUB EFI bootloader, so
“Tails should now start on some tablets with Intel Bay Trail processors,
among others”.

For a list of all the changes in this release, please see the team’s
announcement. This is an important security update, so please download
your copy as soon as possible, either from the Tails website or via the
incremental updater.

  [4]: https://tails.boum.org/news/version_1.5/

OnioNS beta testing version is out
----------------------------------

Jesse Victors announced [5] the first beta testing release of his Tor
Summer of Privacy project, the Onion Name System (OnioNS). OnioNS is a
distributed system that links hard-to-remember and hard-to-verify onion
service addresses (such as “onions55e7yam27n.onion”) to domain names
that are easier for humans to read and recall (like “example.tor”).

The software that comprises OnioNS is divided into three main parts:
OnioNS-HS, OnioNS-client, and OnioNS-server. These are respectively
intended to be run by onion services wishing to claim domain names,
clients (such as Tor Browser users) wanting to visit services using
these names, and the servers that let the system function. Whichever
software you download will also require the OnioNS-common library in
order to work.

This is a beta testing version, so Jesse warns that it is not ready to
be used on production onion services and that name-claims made now may
not survive in the long-term. If you’re willing to give the system a
try, however, please see Jesse’s message for further information, and
feel free to send “feedback as to how usable the system is and areas
where it could be improved” to the tor-dev mailing list, or file issues
on the bug tracker of the relevant software package [6].

  [5]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2015-August/009221.html
  [6]: https://github.com/Jesse-V?tab=repositories

Miscellaneous news
------------------

Karsten Loesing deployed version 2.4 of Onionoo [7] , the Tor network
data observatory. This release implements an optional “effective_family”
field to Onionoo details documents, listing all the relays with which
the relay in question is in an effective, mutual family relationship.
“The main goal here is to make it easier to detect misconfigured relay
families.  This can be relay operators or friendly people watching over
the Tor network and reminding relay operators to fix their
configurations.”

  [7]: https://onionoo.torproject.org

Colin Childs sent out a call [8] for new volunteers to man the Tor help
desk, which offers individual support to Tor users all over the world.
If you can use Tor Browser and other Tor software with confidence and
have a good understanding of the theory behind Tor, know how to use
GnuPG (or are willing to learn), and are an active member of the Tor
community who wants to help users on an ongoing basis, then please see
Colin’s message for more details.

  [8]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-talk/2015-August/038713.html

The Tails project sent out its monthly report for July [9], featuring
development updates, upcoming events, and summaries of ongoing
discussions.

  [9]: https://tails.boum.org/news/report_2015_07/

George Kadianakis sent out the SponsorR report [10], and also submitted
his own status report for July [11].

 [10]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-reports/2015-August/000896.html
 [11]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-reports/2015-August/000894.html

Alec Muffett revived [12] the discussion around possible human factors
to consider when devising a new and more secure system of onion
addresses (such as the one suggested in proposal 224 [13]).

 [12]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2015-August/009223.html
 [13]: https://gitweb.torproject.org/torspec.git/tree/proposals/224-rend-spec-ng.txt

Sue Gardner invited [14] active Tor community members to take part in a
short survey as part of her work to devise a long-term strategic plan
for the Tor Project.

 [14]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-dev/2015-August/009235.html

Thomas White put out a call [15] for “good guides on using Tor with
common applications” to form part of a “small site dedicated to Tor
usage [that] will convey, in as simple as possible terms, how to put as
many applications as possible through Tor”.

 [15]: https://lists.torproject.org/pipermail/tor-talk/2015-August/038718.html

Upcoming events
---------------

  Aug 17 17:00 UTC | OONI development meeting
                   | #ooni, irc.oftc.net
                   |
  Aug 17 18:00 UTC | Tor Browser meeting
                   | #tor-dev, irc.oftc.net
                   |
  Aug 18 18:00 UTC | little-t tor patch workshop
                   | #tor-dev, irc.oftc.net
                   | 
  Aug 19 02:00 UTC | Pluggable transports/bridges meeting
                   | #tor-dev, irc.oftc.net
                   |
  Aug 19 13:30 UTC | little-t tor development meeting
                   | #tor-dev, irc.oftc.net
                   |
  Aug 19 14:00 UTC | Measurement team meeting
                   | #tor-project, irc.oftc.net
                   |
  Oct 01 09:00 CET | ADINA15: A Dive Into Network Anomalies
                   | Rome, Italy
                   | https://ooni.torproject.org/event/adina15/


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