UK security researcher Steve Lord has released a new tool in response to reports of censorship in Turkey following the civil disturbances there.
Called Lahana (meaning ‘cabbage’ in Turkish because it is bulkier than Tor (The Onion Router), and because like onions and cabbages, Tor and Lahana work well together), the tool comprises of a couple of scripts that users can upload to Amazon’s Free Usage Tier service to set up a VPN-Tor bridge. In other words, it creates a VPN that you connect to, and which then tunnels your internet traffic through Tor.
Setting up a node is said to be ‘stupidly easy’, and once established you can share the hostname, username, password and secret either with friends, or list it on Reddit for others to use. The beauty of the system is that with nodes being so easy to set up, any attempt to block them will be very difficult as more can be readily created.
The creator Steven Lord is understandably keen to point out that Lahana is a censorship evasion tool and not a privacy tool, and that should you in any way be in danger if caught using the internet, you should use Tor instead. This is particularly true if using public nodes which may be used for ‘fishing’, so it is always advisable to setup our own private node.
Setup guides, including guides for using Lahana on Android and iOS mobile devices, are available on the website. Although designed with the situation in Turkey in mind, Lahana should be useful in a great many situations where censorship of the internet is an issue.