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University of Colorado System

Security and Privacy in TOR Network

University of Colorado System via Coursera


In this MOOC, we will learn about TOR basic concept and see how they protect the security and privacy of users and resist censorship. We will examine how TOR realize the anonymity and utilize its service by downloading and using Tor browser software. A recent attack on TOR’s application flow control called sniper attacks is analyzed. We introduce the hidden service provided by TOR and show how it can be denonymized. We will learn how to setup a hidden server to provide web service on AWS instance. We will also learn the best practices and operational security in providing the hidden services. We will learn how to manage the hidden server using Tor circuit and configure the web server not to reveal the software version information. We also show how it can be defended. To improve TOR’s performance, we discuss the cloud based TOR and their implementation. By the end of this course, you should be able to utilize TOR browser to protect your privacy, set up hidden service on current interface that protect your servers and make it anonymous, you will choosing entry guards wisely since your adversary will try to attack them with DDoS traffic and force you to choose their relay as your entry and exit router. We will also learn the basic components of both censorship and censorship resistance systems, and the scheme deployed by these systems and their attacks.


  • The Onion Routing (TOR)
    • In this module, we learn the basic concepts of Tor network for protecting the privacy of Tor users and how to use the Tor browser features to access the web sites while preserving the anonimity, change the entry guard and exit node of the Tor circuit, learn how to setup Tor software package on a Linux machine and start its service, and use torify to run network commands, such as ssh or curl command, but use a Tor circuit as an outgoing connection
  • Hidden Service on TOR and their Attacks
    • In this module, we learn how the hidden service architecture and protocol work, and how to set up the hidden server to provide network services on the Tor network without revealing the public IP address. We also learn the best practice of managing the hidden server anonymously and hide the version information of web server, OS, and installed software packages.
  • Censorship Systems
    • In this module we learn the basic components of the censorship systems, the censor model and the related challenges. We learn to define the censor's sphere of influence and sphere of visibility, and their impact on the techniques that can be deployed by the censorship systems. We will be able to describe the basic components of the censor's attack model, explain different fingerprinting methods and evaluating their strength and weakness. We will study different direct censorship method and learn the limitations imposed upon the range of censorship actions.
  • Censorship Resistance System (CRS)
    • In this module, we will learn the two main functional components of censorship resistance system (CRS) and explain the steps to establish the CRS communications. We will understand the operating requirements for establishing the CRS communications and learn the techniques for hiding information and avoid tracking using CRS channels. We will learn the basic CRS properties shared by CRS' and their purposes. We will comprehend different methods for obtaining CRS credentials and reduce faking/testing of them. We will be able to deploy different schemes for resisting active probing, identify different schemes to establish user trust. We will learn how to implement methods for evading censor detection and blocking. We will understand various methods for protecting publisher information and current open and active CRS research areas.

Taught by

Edward Chow, Greg Williams and Richard White


4.1 rating at Coursera based on 33 ratings

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