I recently explored setting up an OnionPi to be a dedicated device for browsing .onion sites and obfuscating the source IP address. Just to say it, you don’t have to be doing ‘criminal’ stuff to be using tor. I just wanted to get that out there and encourage more people to explore the ‘darknet’ / ‘deepweb’ / etc. I followed an Adafruit guide on setting up my OnionPi. I will describe more about the device, how it functions and some extra feedback, relating to the guide on installation.
Presuming you have a Raspberry Pi and supported Wireless adapter, you will be plugging in a wired internet cable to your Pi, that will share the onion-routed internet connection over wireless. Once you complete the configuration and install steps, your Pi will be ready to route your wireless traffic over TOR.
If you are more curious about tor and what it is about, checkout https://torproject.org/.
The guide I worked from is this link on AdaFruit. The kicker here, is that you really need your Wireless setup for the Tor install process to work and for the Tor service to work properly. So really, You want to start with installing WiFi and DHCP support.
Before you start, be sure to set a custom password for root and pi accounts on your Raspbian (or whatever you choose) OS.
I did not run the installation script, since I figured it would be easier to troubleshoot if I manually ran each step / configuration command. Besides I got to learn in the process of manually following along, so win bonus.
Once you setup your WiFi Access Point, go for the Tor install and configuration. Once done, fire up the service and check your internet-facing IP (WhatisMyIP or any similar site will do). You will also know you are on Tor, because CAPTCHA prompts will be more common in your browsing.
A fun little fact I noticed, is to browse .onion pages, you still want to have the Tor Browser installed. Any other browser will still benefit from an obfuscated IP Address, but you will get an error trying to browse to .onion sites.
One of the main benefits of setting up a hardware-based Tor device, is you can connect whatever wireless enabled device you wish to it. There have been many write-ups and conversations about the Tor Browser alone, being vulnerable to leaking data… especially if your connection is not fully-routed through an onion router. Not to say using an onion router is 100% untraceable, but every little bit helps.
Extra notes, that really apply to any web browsing, is to install add-blocking plugins. Advertising has been a known attack vector for years now and it only becomes more common. Visitors to this site may be aware of my lack of love for online advertising. Different strokes for different folks and all of that.
To conclude this post, I also want to mention Tails. This is a USB based operating system that is very handy in browsing tor, especially on the go. If you want to use your own OS and applications on the tor network, that is where the extra work of setting up an OnionPi (Raspberry Pi Device with Tor installed) is helpful to you.