If someone were to listen to a SHOUTcast server through Tor using VLC (not just downloading the M3U playlist through the Tor browser, of course, but while running Tails), would it put their security in jeopardy? I'd think it would be a pretty straightforward connection, just like downloading any random MP3 files and then listening to them, but I know what an issue, for instance, watching videos with Flash is.

I've found this Is using player like VLC safe alternative to Flash? on Tor Talk which basically says that if VLC happened to have an exploit and you were using it to watch Flash videos, you'd be badly off; But, how much of an issue is VLC's track record, really, and are there more secure alternatives? Most importantly, listening to a SHOUTcast server's stream wouldn't be pertinently different from what's discussed in this thread, right?

  • 2
    Could you please explain what you mean with putting security in jeopardy? Security is a rather broad term. What part of it is your concern? Anonymity? Authenticity? Drive-by malware?
    – TildalWave
    Sep 22, 2014 at 5:05
  • Are you just concerned about your privacy regarding the audio stream itself or are you also worried that other, unrelated communication via the TOR network might get compromised that way?
    – Philipp
    Sep 22, 2014 at 7:56
  • See how the FBI uses this trick to identify Tor users: arstechnica.com/security/2014/12/…
    – SPRBRN
    Dec 17, 2014 at 13:14

2 Answers 2


Watching videos using Flash is hazardous to your Tor security because 1) Flash can access servers directly rather than going through Tor, and 2) Flash has more holes than a block of Swiss cheese.

Listening to audio has the same risks: if your audio player ignores Tor and connects directly to the SHOUTcast server, it can reveal your IP address; if it has security holes, a malicious stream could be used to attack your computer.

Tails mitigates the "direct connection" risk by setting its firewall to block outgoing non-Tor connections, but it does little to protect you against insecure programs.

  • Doesn't Tails direct all traffic through Tor?
    – SPRBRN
    Dec 17, 2014 at 9:23
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    Tails tries to through a mix of per-application settings, proxy settings, and SOCKS encapsulation, but since there's no central point it can tap into to redirect everything, it also has the firewall as a backup precaution.
    – Mark
    Dec 17, 2014 at 9:26
  • OK, take the analogy of VPN. I haven't used VPN much, and am no expert. I thought I could route all traffic through VPN, no matter the local source. So Flash should use it as well without any tricks. Why does this work with VPN and not with Tails, and could Tails use some kind of local VPN to do the same?
    – SPRBRN
    Dec 17, 2014 at 9:54

Flash operates on a level that does not respect the proxy rules set by the browser. It runs seperately and the player is able to open connections to other hosts without using the proxy hints of the browser.

  • This doesn't answer the question of listening to SHOUTcast streams through VLC.
    – Mark
    Dec 17, 2014 at 9:27

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