New Tor Stable Release Adds v3 Onion Balance Support, Many Improvements


The Tor Project announced today the general availability of Tor as newest stable release of their free and open-source software for enabling anonymous communications.

Tor is the first stable release in the 0.4.4.x series, coming exactly four months after Tor It brings some important enhancements, such as the implementation of the HiddenServiceOnionBalanceInstance option in the torrc configuration file to enable v3 onion services to act as backend instances for OnionBalance, the Tor load balancer.

This release also replaces the 148 fallback directories from previous releases with a list of more recent 144 fallbacks generated in July 2020, re-implements support for GUARD NEW/UP/DOWN control port events, and improves the guard selection algorithms to address聽load balancing issues with older versions and improve security.

“Under this new algorithm, a newly selected guard never becomes Primary unless all previously sampled guards are unreachable,” reads today’s release announcement.

Other enhancements include support for console control signals, three new SocksPort ExtendedErrors, namely F2, F3, and F7, which report back a new type of onion service connection failures, as well as initial IPv6 support to tor_addr_is_valid(), which lays the ground for some new IPv6 features coming in the Tor 0.4.5 series, due for release in summer 2021.

Among other noteworthy changes, there’s improved support for the amount of code that can be disabled when running without relay support,聽improvements to NSS support, better handling of parameters for the onion service DoS defense, as well as numerous bug fixes that improve the overall stability and security of the software.

You can download the Tor sources right now from the official website. However, as these need to be compiled, end users are recommended to wait for the new release to arrive in the stable software repositories of their favorite GNU/Linux distributions before upgrading.

Tor will also be included in the next major Tor Browser release, which should be out as soon as next week, and probably the next release of the Tails Linux distribution. This new stable series will be supported for nine months, until June 2021.

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