Facebook Is Now Compatible With Tor Browser
Facebook and Tor have had a conflict in working with each other. Facebook argued that the way Tor worked was prone to attacks on the social network’s servers. There was not any flaw in Tor’s mechanism but it was its behavior that seemed suspicious to Facebook’s servers.
For example, a user behind Tor browser trying to access Facebook would appear to be logged in from Russia, and then after few minutes it would look to the server that the user is using Facebook from Sweden or London. This appears to Facebook’s server as a botnet attack or a hacked account.
However, this behavior was normal for Tor browser as it bounced the traffic between multiple nodes in different locations so as to maintain the user anonymity. This helped them hide the actual location of the user. This is the same technique hackers use to hide their identity.
Hence, Facebook blocked Tor traffic and said back in 2013 that they would work out a solution.
After an year now, Facebook has finally found a solution after doing extensive work with Tor Project advocate Runa Sandvik and Steven Murdoch (developer of Tor browser).
The company will now offer a special URL – https://facebookcorewwwi.onion. Those using Tor browser will now be able to access Facebook via this URL, maintaining their anonymity at the same time.
Facebook also announced that the company will use SSL certificate atop Tor to ensure that the users don’t get redirected to fake sites. This will also help in providing end-to-end communication between Facebook data centers and Tor browser.
“Issuing an SSL certificate for a Tor implementation is — in the Tor world — a novel solution to attribute ownership of an onion address; other solutions for attribution are ripe for consideration, but we believe that this one provides an appropriate starting point for such discussion,” said Facebook software engineer Alec Muffett in a blog post.
This move from Facebook is welcomed by privacy-minded people, but Facebook’s terms-of-use clearly state that you have to use your real name on the online social network. So you cannot live a totally anonymous life through Facebook.
The .onion address service is not compatible with mobile-optimized site of Facebook yet, so we are talking about website version only.