Tinfoil Hat 1: Introducing TorPark

Torpark 1.5 is a nifty little thing in these days of surveillance and censorship, and if you’re among those who keeps your tin foil hat conveniently in your backpack or purse, you should check this out. If you’ve already tried the OpenBSD anonymizer LiveCD called AnonOS you know what it’s all about, but it’s not always possible to (re)boot a laptop or a computer that belongs to a café without drawing too much attention.
And attention is BAD. At least in some scenarios.

But no one minds you picking up your jolly USB thumbdrive "to open up some saved homework"!
This is where Torpark comes in. "It can be used to circumvent censorship firewalls, like at work or in China. It can be used to bypass paying for internet access at a wifi cafe. It can be used at school computers so you can get full access to the internet." TorPark uses Portable Firefox 1.5 which has all the features of a regular Firefox installation, while "it leaves no personal information behind on the machine you run it on, so you can take your favorite browser along with all your favorite bookmarks and extensions with you wherever you go."
In contrast to liveCD distributions like AnonOS, Auditor, Knoppix, some of whom can run from USB, Torpark cannot run from CD since it requires immediate re-write access to the disk it’s running from (for example your USB drive).

Why should I trust you? How does this work?
It works insofar the Tor Network works. Tor = The Onion Router. It’s a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. Look at it as a ‘distributed anonymous network’ with Tor servers running all over the world contributing with bandwidth. See the schematics in the links below to find out more. Click here if you would like to donate bandwidth and set up a Tor server. Note: Torpark and Tor is not the same thing. Torpark runs on Tor.
If you’re running Torpark now, you can go to Irongeek’s browser info page or any other page that shows you your info and see how nicely it’s working. And so easy!
My testrun:

TorPark info:
# Your ip address: 137.148.5.13
# Your hostname: imta1.csuohio.edu

Normal info:
# Your ip address: 63.161.169.137
# Your hostname: *your ip address does not resolve into a name

Not slow either.

Some links:

Remember, though, that TorPark depends on the Tor Network meaning you should not use it for p2p filesharing or bittorrent. Why? It makes alot of other people’s lives harder. The network that helps you stay anonymous is used by other Tor users too. Another thing to remember is that if there’s a keylogger running on the machine you’re using, your security has already been compromised.
Therefore, never shop online or check your bank account outside your home.
Now you can surf safely from wherever you are, you little conspiracy theorist!
More to come in the Tinfoil Hat series.

Edit 06.04.06
The Torpark site is temporarily disabled. They are working with the Torpark author to help the next Torpark release be actual free software, including complying with the Tor and Firefox licenses. Stay tuned.

Edit 13.04.06
Torpark 1.5 available for download again.

Edit 07.06.06
AVG Free Edition reports Torpark.exe as "Trojan horse Downloader.Zlob.ANW"
I’ve requested information from the torpark team.

Edit 08.06.06
Torpark reports that "AVG Admits it is a mistake", meaning it should be safe using.

Edit 04.11.08
TorPark has changed its name to xbBrowser and is now a part of an applications suite. Read more.

4 thoughts on “Tinfoil Hat 1: Introducing TorPark”

  1. I like the idea of this post. I am looking forward to the next one. Lol, the second I saw this post I was like… I need that. So i now have it on one of my flash drives. It slows everything down, but hey. Anything to get google to think that your in south africa for a few minutes then canada a few mins later. ^_^

  2. “used at school computers so you can get full access to the internet” So does this mean I can bring my laptop to school where I’ve got limited access to the net, and then use Torpark and I’ll en up with internett where I can play online games, use p2p-software and so on? Sounds too good to be true:]

  3. You could do it, if you route the traffic correctly (although Torpark is "just" a browser).

    But you wouldn’t want to use p2p and games thru TOR since it’s simply wrong.

    What this article suggests in terms of internet access is just that: internet access (as in webpages and information). The school network would see you surfing one IP, while you could check out all the "censored" areas.

    I provided this here for free, uncensored and untracable information exchange and not p2p filesharing.
    (you can do that simply by free anonymous proxies instead of using Tor which results in other Tor users’ slowing down).

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