Setting Up Torbirdy

In This Earlier Posting, I wrote that I was setting up an old, garbage-grade laptop, to connect entirely through Tor. And one of my motivations has to do with the TAILS USB-stick, in that I am trying to establish that this USB-stick cannot really be of such immense benefit to whoever is using it, as is claimed, and that therefore, Edward Snowden cannot also have gotten much use out of TAILS.

Further, I think we can see that in recent years, the way in which PCs react to inserted, ‘Live USB-sticks’ has also changed, so that our chances of finding a host machine which will boot from such a pen-drive, but without the consent or knowledge of its owner, are also quite slim. An actual laptop bypasses that problem.

What I think I found, was that most of the services which we could connect to – including IRC Servers – detect that we are connecting to them from a remote IP address that belongs to a Tor gateway – a so-called “Exit-Node” – and if we are authenticated, bans the user, or otherwise just blocks the user.

What I had written though, was that in addition to being able to use the Web-browser, I wanted my own laptop to be able to perform one additional task. And so I had found that a mailbox service exists called , and that it runs its own Tor Exit-Node internally, for which reason we could send and receive email with them, once we have set up and paid for an account.

What I discovered, is that this not only works in theory, but actually does in practice. We need to install an ‘Icedove / Thunderbird’ extension named “Torbirdy” to get that to work, but it does finally work.

Continue reading Setting Up Torbirdy

An Added Note about Akonadi

In This Earlier Posting, I had written about a specific problem, which can happen, because the Linux / KDE PIM software (Personal Information Manager) uses Akonadi, and because Akonadi (still) runs a MySQL server-process, in the user-name of the user, within the personal folders of this user.

I also wrote that I use this, to sync my calendar, on my Linux machines, with my Google Calendar, and for nothing else.

I suppose that one fear which people might get from reading this, is that their Google Tokens might be stored in the Akonadi server. This is in fact untrue.

When Akonadi starts – which is when a user logs in to a new session – Akonadi actually retrieves any credentials it is going to use, from an additional KDE service called “Kwallet”. Kwallet is a miniscule store of secretive information, such as log-ins and tokens, which are protected by a password, which is used to encrypt all the contents of this wallet.

Hence, when I log in a user-session, I am also greeted by a password prompt from Kwallet, without which Akonadi could not retrieve its tokens. Certain other KDE applications also use this wallet feature.

So it is not actually the case, that KDE somehow muffs up the security, and stores such credentials anywhere in plain-text.

If we forget our password to Kwallet, then what we must ultimately do is delete our Kwallet, which also deletes any store of the secretive information we may have had. Doing so also does not recover the previous version of such information. That would need to be recreated from scratch.

Also, these types of issues make me happy, not to be using ‘KMail’ as my email client. KMail would store my email folders on Akonadi as well. And, seeing as I may frequently need to wipe Akonadi, due to certain reliability / configuration quirks, I would be losing all my email folders each time as well.

The email client I use under Linux is called ‘Icedove’, and is the unbranded version of ‘Thunderbird’. It has all the features which Thunderbird would have, but runs perfectly under Linux. It does not depend on Akonadi, nor on anything else KDE specifically.