Can my ISP see that I am using Tor if a VPN is encrypting my Tor traffic?

Discussion in 'privacy problems' started by DesuMaiden, Feb 1, 2013.

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  1. DesuMaiden

    DesuMaiden Registered Member

    Jan 25, 2013
    Apparently the ISP notices my tor usage. Very bad for my anonymity (ISP knows I use Tor) although unlikely to compromise my privacy.

    I also use a secured public wifi.
    Can the owners of this wifi see my tor usage?
    If they can, then no anonymity for me.

    Would a VPN proxy prevent the above scenarios?

    The VPN encrypts the traffic before it enters tor, so the ISP and wifi owner see my VPN usage. But not my tor usage. Essentially the VPN masks my Tor usage.

    It looks like this,

    My router-------> ISP (which notices my VPN but not Tor usage) -------------> VPN (which masks my Tor usage)------->TOR (which connects to the Internet)----------->Internet connection (which is now anonymous)

    If the above scenarios are correct, then would a VPN prevent Internet providers from noticing my Tor usage?

    Don't want them to notice my Tor usage. If they do, then tor isn't making me anonymous.
  2. Palancar

    Palancar Registered Member

    Oct 26, 2011
    A properly setup VPN tunnel would mask traffic up to its exit node but not beyond, which in your case is TOR. Your ISP would have NO clue you are on TOR in this setup.

    However; it depends upon WHAT you are doing past the TOR exit node. In your configuration the traffic leaving the TOR exit is open and readable unless you are going to an https type site. Even on https sites the TOR exit could know the site you are going to, just not the exact encrypted activity. Your configuration is not good IF you are doing anything that traces back to you such as personal email, etc....

    If you are viewing stuff and not entering passwords to log onto forums you are OK. In other words any non encrypted viewing or activity can be watched by a compromised TOR exit node.

    VPN or TOR either one; from exit node to the actual site destination is open (unless the site encrypts via https). For my money I would rather bank on a reliable VPN provider over the unknown TOR node. If you went TOR and then VPN the actual IP would not be known to the VPN provider and the TOR relays couldn't decrypt the VPN traffic as it comes back to your machine. My .02

    I do wonder about an ISP seeing a TOR connection. Is it a flag? Many don't think so but others like you differ.
  3. ComputerSaysNo

    ComputerSaysNo Registered Member

    Aug 9, 2012

    Yes it's a flag, a big red one. Your kidding yourself if you don't think so.

    My gut feeling is ISP's have a automated script which logs users TOR connections with time & date & the amount of bandwith/traffic they use. My gut also tells me this TOR user file is sent to the government through back channels.

    Also I would say that it's quite likely that using TOR is enough to get a track and trace of all your internet traffic put on by the ISP. It's probably used as evidence in a "probable cause" warrant.

    Last if they want you so bad, make no mistake they will dig up the telephone cables outside your house and put in data collection box tap on your line.

    Theoretically yes it does mask your TOR usage. But can you trust a closed source VPN, it's software & it's servers? What if the servers are backdoored and running logs? What if the VPN is actually a honeypot? What happens when they find the VPN providers location and stick a gun in his face telling him to turn on logs or push through malware as a VPN client update?
  4. DesuMaiden

    DesuMaiden Registered Member

    Jan 25, 2013
    How do you put tor behind a VPN?

    Step Up #1

    My Computer-------->ISP--------->Tor------------>VPN------------>Access to Internet

    The problem with this set up is that my ISP can notice Tor usage. I don't want that. I want my ISP to see my VPN usage but not Tor usage.

    Unless you have this set up

    Step # 2

    My Computer---------->ISP----------->VPN #1----------->Tor----------->VPN #2-------> Access to Internet

    VPN # 1 prevents my ISP from noticing my Tor usage.
    VPN # 2 encrypts my Tor exit node traffic

    How can the above two set ups be done? I need step by step instructions since I am not very skilled with computers.
  5. mirimir

    mirimir Registered Member

    Oct 1, 2011

    Start at the last page, and work back.

    Detailed instructions for setting up VirtualBox and creating the VMs are at

    There's one big change, in the way outbound NAT and firewall rules are set up in the pfSense VPN client VMs. That's described in Also, note that ra's Tor gateway VM is now at -
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
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