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January 20th 2014 Tor, TrueCrypt, BGP and gaming

Posted on January 27, 2014
( 3 minute read )

Alice demonstrated how to download Tor; it is better to download it directly into your own user rather than from repos because the direct download gives you everything you need and is likely to be more up-to-date than the versions in repos. The download comes with a start-tor-browser script to run. The Vidalia graphical controller is included in the package and acts as a control panel.

Once members had installed Tor, they were encouraged to run Panopticlick to find out how far they had been able to anonymise themselves; all those who were not running Tor found that their browser had a unique fingerprint by which they could be identified.

As David S pointed out during his presentation of ‘Tor Stinks’ at the October meeting, it is always advisable to run Tor while you have another connection to the Internet open. This prevents detection of Tor sessions through connections to and disconnections from the Internet.

Alice then drew attention to TrueCrypt’s hidden volume feature and the vulnerability discovered in CBC-Encrypted LUKS partitions by Jakob Lell before demonstrating Hurricane Electric’s BGP Toolkit which announces your own connections and allows you to examine data and graphs relating to the connections which any ISP has. This demonstrates that the Internet has no core; it is a mesh of connections. People pay for the fibre connection and the bandwidth which, in the UK, is charged in Mb/second. One pound gets around 1MB/second with discounts for larger volumes.

Access to a fibre connection is normally through peering, use of dark fibre or sharing with another provider; with private peering, you provide the fibre to the connection. Public peering goes on between the IX connections all of which are owned by their members who pay a monthly fee.

This led into a discussion of the use of Akamai to cache data for distribution locally as opposed to broadcasting data.

**David C then shared his recent experiences of re-investigating gaming, prompted in part by the Channel 4 programme How videogames changed the world and Indie Game: The Movie. For years his Nvidia Optimus card had not worked but now it does with Bumblebee 3.2.1. (There had been an Epic Fail in 2011.)

He has been looking at SteamOS and the Humble Indie Bundle which allows you to choose what you pay and a charity to support. He also recommended Little Inferno.

Members mentioned that Steam’s move from Windows had been because Microsoft wanted a cut of Steam’s income and that there is a lot of work being done on the Nvidia Optimus to which Steam is offering tweaks.