What is Whonix-Gateway?

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Whonix-Gateway Xfce VM running in the VirtualBox virtualizer (illustrative image)

The Whonix-Gateway is a software component that runs Tor, which moves data across multiple servers called Tor relays to keep users anonymous on the Internet, and it connects any virtual machine properly to the Internet using Tor only, while user applications should be run inside the Whonix-Workstation.

Whonix-Gateway Overview[edit]

Whonix-Gateway is software designed to run Tor (onion routing)archive.org.

Tor is privacy-focused software [1] that routes internet traffic through multiple servers and encrypts it at each step to provide maximum privacy. Tor was initially deployed in October 2002 as a decentralized network to be operated by entities with diverse interests and trust assumptions, with its code released under a free and open software license. Today, thousands of volunteers run computer servers that keep users anonymous on the internet by moving data across many Tor servers, called Tor relays. The final hop moves the data to the end site, making it hard to trace. For more information, see Why does Whonix use Tor?

Every virtual machine that is properly connected to Whonix-Gateway is connected to the internet using Tor and only Tor.

Other than occasional visits, users typically spend minimal time on Whonix-Gateway.

Upon the initial boot of Whonix-Gateway, a user-friendly "First Time Connection Wizard" will prompt the user. They will be given an option to connect to the public Tor network (which is feasible for the majority) or to configure Bridges. This feature is termed as the Anon Connection Wizard.

Apart from Tor configuration (for specific use cases only mentioned in Documentation, controlling Tor (intended for advanced users) as well as installing updates, there's not much else to do on the Whonix-Gateway. Activities such as running applications, especially the Tor Browser, should never be started on Whonix-Gateway. Instead, all user-centric applications ought to be launched from Whonix-Workstation to safely utilize the Tor network.

Figure: Whonix Operating System Design

Whonix is based on security-focused Linux Distribution Kicksecure The Web Archive Onion Version . To learn more about Whonix, see Overview and Features.

Figure: Whonix-Gateway Xfce VM running in the virtualizer VirtualBox (real screenshot)

Whonix-Gateway Xfce VM running in the virtualizer VirtualBox (real screenshot)

See Also[edit]


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