How to Make Your Browsing Anonymous With a Tor-Based Raspberry Pi Hotspot

If you’ve been thinking about trying Tor to anonymize all your web browsing, you can just download a browser and try it out, but it’s much more fun to create your own highly portable proxy that you can easily connect to on a whim. … Log into your Raspberry Pi.

Tor is one of the easiest ways to browse the web anonymously , although it is expensive. In fact, it is so slow that it is quite difficult to use it for basic internet browsing. But that doesn’t mean it’s useless for other purposes, and since you probably don’t want to use it all the time, you’ll be comfortable with a quick way to switch between Tor and the regular Internet.

This is where the Raspberry Pi can help. First, you need to turn your Raspberry Pi into a hotspot, very similar to a Wi-Fi hotspot, and then you install Tor on it so that all traffic going through that hotspot is anonymous.

If you want to use Tor, you simply connect to the Raspberry Pi’s Wi-Fi network. If you don’t, you can use whatever network you normally use. The Tor browser is always available too, but you might not want to install the software on all of your devices. It’s also a good idea to keep it at home if you’re a permanent “techie” because it makes it very easy to show someone what life would be like if they actually decided to use Tor to view them (it would be slow).

What you need

You don’t need anything special to make a Tor-based Pi proxy, but you will need to collect a few materials before you start:

You will want to go ahead and set up your SD card with Raspbian and also set up SSH. You can use either the standard Raspbian version or the Lite version, as you will only be using the command line in this tutorial. Follow our guide here to set up Raspbian (be sure to change the default password during this process) and this guide to enable SSH if you want to talk to your Raspberry Pi from any computer on your home network.

Putting everything together, make sure your Raspberry Pi is connected directly to your router using an Ethernet cable, then plug it in.

Step one: install the required software

The first thing we need to do is make the Raspberry Pi 3 Wi-Fi act as an access point. This turns it into an access point, so you can connect to it from your main computer just like any wireless network. We will do all this from the Raspberry Pi command line:

  1. Type sudo apt-get update and press Enter.
  2. Type sudo apt-get install iptables-persistent git
  3. Select Yes and press Enter twice when prompted.

Now that everything is downloaded and installed, it’s time to set it up.

Step two: turn your Raspberry Pi into an access point

The process of turning a Raspberry Pi into an access point is a bit tricky, but luckily GitHub user harryallerston has created a script that automates the entire process.

  1. Type git clone https://github.com/unixabg/RPI-Wireless-Hotspot.git and press Enter.
  2. Type cd RPI-Wireless-Hotspot and press Enter.
  3. Type sudo ./install and press Enter. This will start the installation process.
  4. Press Y to agree to the terms, Y to use the pre-configured DNS server, N to use the Unblock-Us servers, Y to use OpenDNS, then N to use the default Wi-Fi settings.
  5. When prompted after the default question, enter your new password. This is the password for connecting to your Pi powered network.
  6. When prompted, enter a new SSID, this is the name of your network.
  7. Enter the channel number. 6 fine if you don’t know you need something else.
  8. Enter N for the rest of the questions.

After completing it, your Raspberry Pi will reboot and should now act as an access point. You can check this by going to another computer or phone, selecting your Raspberry Pi from the list of Wi-Fi networks, and checking if the internet is working. If for some reason this is not the case, Adafruit has a guide on how to do it all by hand. Otherwise, go ahead and install the Tor proxy software.

Step three: install TOR

Tor has a pretty straightforward setup process, but you still need to configure a few things to get it working.

  1. Type sudo apt-get install tor and press Enter.
  2. Type sudo nano /etc/tor/torrc and press Enter. Scroll to the bottom of the document and enter the text below in the text file. When you’re done press Ctrl + X to save and continue:
 Log Notification File /var/log/tor/notices.logVirtualAddrNetwork 10.192.0.0/10AutomapHostsSuffixes .onion, .exitAutomapHostsOnResolve 1TransPort 9040TransListenAddress 192.168.42.1DNSPort 53DNSListenAddress 192.168.42.1

Next, you need to tell the Wi-Fi interface to send internet traffic through the Tor software. It does this with a few commands:

  1. Type sudo iptables -F and press Enter.
  2. Type sudo iptables -t nat -F and press Enter.
  3. Type sudo iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -i wlan0 -p tcp --dport 22 -j REDIRECT --to-ports 22 and press Enter.
  4. Type sudo iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -i wlan0 -p udp --dport 53 -j REDIRECT --to-ports 53 and press Enter.
  5. Type sudo iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -i wlan0 -p tcp --syn -j REDIRECT --to-ports 9040 and press Enter.
  6. Type sudo sh -c iptables-save > /etc/iptables/rules.v4 and press Enter.

It’s time to finally get Tor up and running. Type sudo service tor start and press Enter. Then enter sudo service tor status to make sure it is working properly. If you don’t see any error codes, then everything is working. You can configure it to start automatically at startup by typing sudo update-rc.d tor enable pressing Enter.

When it’s finished, reboot again. Type sudo reboot and hit Enter. Your Raspberry Pi should now start everything up automatically on startup.

Step four: connect and browse with the new TOR proxy

Now all you have to do is connect any device you want to browse on anonymously to your new Raspberry Pi Wi-Fi network. Both your regular home Wi-Fi and this one will exist, so choose it like any Wi-Fi network. When you are connected, go to https://check.torproject.org/ to make sure you are on the Tor network. Enjoy the slow but anonymous internet!

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