Re: sdwdate. Yes - I have also seen this behaviour in the past. Pattern is:
- Tor bootstraps 100%.
- sdwdate sits for many, many minutes (sometimes hours) doing the “initial time fetching” if you look at the logs.
- You can’t use Tor circuits for activities prior to the time sync process. Each time fetching times out after 60 seconds, again and again (and again) and keeps rotating through pool 1, pool 2 etc sources.
- Tor logs (sometimes) show a shitload of colapsing circuits, or circuits just waiting to launch (waiting on sdwdate finishe e.g. “we’d like to launch a circuit, but we currently have 32 blah blah ciruits pending”).
Note that this issue is Whonix-specific on the Qubes 4.0 platform i.e. if you run TBB in a Debian 9 VM, it works perfectly and connects within seconds.
Note also that a previous, working clone of sys-whonix will also not connect with the same symptoms - therefore ruling out corruption or unique individual tweaks to the VM that might cause the breakage.
This of course begs the question - Why would TBB work flawlessly in connecting to Tor, whilst Whonix wouldn’t at the same time? sdwdate edge-case issue?
- Corrupt time sources for sdwdate (Low likelihood)
- General network issues (Low-moderate likelihood)
- sdwdate coding fault (Low likelihood?)
- Poor throughput / misconfigured / malicious / under attack Tor guard set in operation (High likelihood)
- Dipshits on the taxpayer dollar personally fucking with your network connection in an effort to have you manually shift Tor guards to one of their poisoned nodes so they can improve their end-to-end and other attacks (Remote likelihood)
Although possibility #5 is considered remote, long term Tor users will note that network activity is often ‘flaky’ or ‘weird’ at X-Mas time.
So this phenomenon could be harmlessly related to increased traffic at that time, or (tin-foil hat) is related to increased spook/other activity during holiday periods (since they believe in Hollywood X-Mas plots in general).