Tor Project is going to remove End-Of-Life relays from the network

Maintainers at the Tor Project have removed from its network more than 800 relay servers running outdated and EOL versions of the Tor software.

Currently, the Tor network is composed of more than 6000 relays, some of them running outdated Tor software versions (in some cases back to the 0.2.4.x versions). Other relays are running the latest Tor software in nightly builds and alpha releases. Maintainers ofthe Tor Project announced they have removed relay servers running outdated and EOL versions of the Tor software.

Tor Project experts pointed out that they currently maintain only 5 Tor version series, 0.2.9.x (LTS), 0.3.5.x (LTS), 0.4.0.x, 0.4.1.x, 0.4.2.x (Stable on Dec 15th, 2019).

Now the maintainers of the project announced to have removed roughly 13.5% of the relay servers, 750 acting as Tor middle relays and 62 as exit relays.

The presence of End-Of-Life relays in the Tor Network has multiple negative impacts on network stability and security, it also impacts maintenance activities because it is not easy to roll out important fixes and new features for them.

“In the past weeks, we’ve taken steps to contact every relay operator with a valid ContactInfo field to ask them to upgrade to the latest stable release. The Tor relay community was informed via the tor-relays mailing list on September 3rd 2019 of this upcoming change.” reads the announcement published by the Tor Project.

“The End-Of-Life relays in the network currently make up just over 12% of the total bandwidth, or around 750 relays. Out of these, only 62 are Exit relays accounting for only 1.68% of the total Exit traffic. We expect a minor impact on the size of the network, and a small drop in the Metrics graph.”

The maintainers expect a new Tor stable release in November, it will reject End-Of-Life relays by default. Until then, the maintainers will reject obsolete relays using their fingerprints.

Today, we’re starting the process of having the 9 directory authorities refuse End-Of-Life relays in the Tor network. The affected series are: 0.2.8.x, 0.3.0.x, 0.3.1.x (34), 0.3.2.x, 0.3.3.x, and 0.3.4.x.https://t.co/4ztZR8AF8Z— The Tor Project (@torproject) October 8, 2019Instruction to upgrading End-Of-Life relays are included in the announcement.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Tor, privacy)

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