hosting a Tor relay and/or bridge for better anonymity

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Hosting a Tor relay and/or bridge and using it to mix one’s own traffic might be beneficial for anonymity. Advanced users only! Please refer to the write-ups by The Tor Project, the developers of the Tor software.

Quote The Tor Project New low cost traffic analysis attacks and mitigations [archive]:

In terms of mitigating the use of these vectors in attacks against Tor, here’s our recommendations for various groups in our community:

Users: Do multiple things at once with your Tor client

Because Tor uses encrypted TLS connections to carry multiple circuits, an adversary that externally observes Tor client traffic to a Tor Guard node will have a significantly harder time performing classification if that Tor client is doing multiple things at the same time. This was studied in section 6.3 of this paper [archive] by Tao Wang and Ian Goldberg. A similar argument can be made for mixing your client traffic with your own Tor Relay or Tor Bridge that you run, but that is very tricky to do correctly [archive] for it to actually help.

Was there in past some research statement or argument that hosting a Tor relay or bridge and at the same time use it for oneself being actually harmful to one’s anonymity?

I think this was covered on the wiki at some point when discussing web fingerprinting. It’s not trivial to do but should help protect you against end-to-end. On the other hand it becomes more noticeable when the relay goes offline which aids other attacks.

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