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Feel like someone is snooping on you? Browse the web anonymously anywhere you go with the Onion Pi Tor proxy. This is a cool weekend project that uses a Raspberry Pi mini computer, USB wi-fi adapter, and Ethernet cable to create a small, low-power, and portable privacy Pi.

Using it is easy-as-pie. First, plug the Ethernet cable into any internet connection in your home, work, hotel, or conference/event. Next, power up the Pi with the Micro-USB cable connected to your laptop, or with a wall adapter. The Pi will boot up and create a new secure wireless access point. Connecting to that access point will then automatically route any web browsing from your computer through the anonymizing Tor network. Your tracks are swept clean.

What Is Tor?

Tor is an “onion routing” service: Internet traffic is wrapped in layers of encryption and sent through a random circuit of relays before reaching its destination. This makes it much harder for the server you’re accessing (or anyone snooping on your internet use) to figure out who and where you are. It’s an excellent way for people who are blocked from accessing websites to get around those restrictions. Journalists, activists, businesspeople, law enforcement agents, and even military intelligence operatives use Tor to protect their privacy and security online.

Why Use a Proxy?

You may have a guest or friend who wants to use Tor but doesn’t have the ability or time to set it up on their computer. You may not want to, or may not be able to, install Tor on your work laptop or “loaner” computer. You may want to browse anonymously on a netbook, tablet, phone, or other mobile or console device that cannot run Tor and does not have an Ethernet connection. There are lots of reasons you may want to build and use an Onion Pi, not least of which is that it is an interesting way to learn about Raspberry Pi, network interfaces, and the Linux command line.

Warning

Before you start using your proxy, remember that there are a lot of ways to identify you, even if your IP address is “randomized.” So delete and block your browser cache, history, and cookies — some browsers even allow “anonymous sessions.” Do not log into existing accounts with personally identifying information (unless you’re sure that’s what you want to do). Use SSL whenever available to encrypt your communication end-to-end. And visit torproject.org for more info on how to use Tor in a smart, safe way.

This tutorial is a great way to make something fun and useful with your Raspberry Pi, but we can’t guarantee it’s 100% anonymous and secure. Be smart and paranoid about your Tor usage.

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  • Unknown

    Cool

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  • Winston Jones

    I am I very slowly gaining some understanding of Tor, Onion, VPN, Proxy,LAN,Wan, ports etc.etc but not nearly enough so I am not there yet. Does the Onion Pi let me set up a second separate LAN that I can join only when I want to browse anonymously? I am hoping I could go into network settings on my Mac and have the option to join either of 2 networks, 1 being regular un-anonymous and the other Pi-Onion-anonymous ..
    Thanks for attempting to enlighten us on the TOR network etc.

  • Guest

    what happens if i do step 3 with the wi-fi adapter?

    • Guest

      NVMD i have a solution

  • Guest

    What would happen if i used s wireless reciever that i had already set up for step #3? anything bad?

  • Patrick Erb-White

    Why does my pi-fi not work?

    • Guest

      Now that i re-read the article, i understand that it uses ethernet, and my pi-fi isn’t working because i am not connected to ethernet. Nevertheless, I must ask: will pi-fi interfere with the original wi-fi at all?

      • Jelimoore

        Shouldn’t…It just acts as another WiFi access point

  • Jelimoore

    Why does the RasPi say “[….]Starting advanced IEEE 802.11 management: hostapdioctl[SIOCSIWMODE]: Invalid Argument failed!”
    EDIT: Looking at that, the problem seems to be in the driver, mode, or both!
    Configuration file: /etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf
    drv_>ifindex=3
    I2_sock_recv==I2_sock_xmit=0x0x106e636
    ioctl[SIOCSIWMODE]: Invalid argument
    Could not set interface to mode(3)!
    Could not set interface to master mode!
    rt1871xdrv driver initalization failed.

  • Paranormal Skeptic

    There’s a single script that will take a Raspian install, and do the same thing:
    http://pastebin.com/yygyexiP

  • CamCroz99

    How can I set this up so my pi connects to a wifi network but will broadcast over ethernet? Kind of like the opposite of this tutorial?

  • Maverick

    I have the same problem as Jelimoore. I had set my pi as an onion router before, but my sd card became corrupt. Using the same raspberry pi, and wifi dongle, I installed raspbian to a new SD card and did the step by step process on adafruits website. I got the “starting advanced IEEE 802.11 management…. invalid agrument” and several other “Failed” messages at boot. after several failed attempts, I found this page while searching for another way to install it. I installed the script after using another new SD card, and a clean install of raspbian. I’m getting the same errors when it boots up as before. My guess is that there is an issue with newer versions of raspbian that is causing this. Are other people having these same issues?

  • Trent

    Need help getting this to work with rtl8188su

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