With the recent takedown of silkroad, I am pondering on how anonymous you actually can be on the Tor Network. Other more legal or moral uses such as anonymity as a right, or avoiding censorship. These users do in fact face the same problem if it possible to get through the anonymizing layers of Tor.

Note: I just read the question regarding the reason for silkroad takedown was a leaked IP address. So lets restrict the scope of this question to attacks on the Tor protocol itself, rather than misconfigured http servers...

What my question is, what impact would running "Tor within Tor" make to anonymity, and usability? Would the anonymity (if measurable) be doubled?

To examplify what I mean, the command:

./torify tor

should be enough to run a tor instance where all communication is wrapped inside tor.

  • 4
    According to official reports, silk road wasn't caught because of a vulnerability in TOR - it was caught through classic detective work and dumb luck. – Philipp Oct 4 '13 at 12:50
  • Ask on #tor at irc.oftc.net. You'll be told it's a bad idea and they're actually looking into disabling this in later versions. – Luc Oct 4 '13 at 12:50
  • Maybe you can ask your question also at tor.stackexchange.com This place is dedicated to Tor questions in general. – qbi Oct 7 '13 at 22:14

Anonymity is not sold by the kilogram. You don't get "twice more" by wrapping Tor within Tor. For that matter, anonymity is not an extensive physical property; it does not add up.

Traffic analysis is the bane of anonymity. It works on counting bytes which enter and exit each machine. The inherent non-anonymity of Web accesses, with regards to powerful eavesdroppers (say, police forces), is not about routers or onions; it comes from user impatience. User clicks on link, then user expects the page to load immediately. Or at least within the next two or three seconds. Under these conditions, traffic analysis can only work well. Going through a lot of Tor nodes does not help much; in fact, it helps mostly insofar as it increases latency, making correlation harder. Wrapping Tor within Tor is equivalent to going through twice as many nodes (so you don't need this wrapping; you can have the same effect by configuring your client to use more nodes; but it won't solve your issue anyway).

There is a kind of immanent justice here: you gain anonymity only through suffering. Being anonymous is only for the deserving.

  • -1 Tor over Tor is not the equivalent of using more nodes! In fact, Tor over Tor will quickly deanonymize you as there is nothing preventing you from using the relay for both the guard and exit, which does not happen if you use only one Tor instance. – forest Jul 17 '18 at 0:12

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