The Tor software protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world. It prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from scanning what sites you visit, it prevents the sites you visit from viewing your physical location, and it lets you access sites which are blocked.
The Tor Browser lets you use Tor on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux without needing to install any software. It can run off a USB flash drive, comes with a pre-configured web browser to protect your anonymity, and is self-contained (portable).
TOR is an anonymous version of the Onion Router. Tor network runs through the thousands of volunteers, in their computer servers all over the world. The data which transferred in tor is bundled into an encrypted packet. They employ this network by connecting through a serious of visual tunnels rather than making a direct connection. This type of method allows both the individuals and the organisations to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy.
Uses of Tor Browser
By using Tor, you can reach the blocked destination or content or resources. It is also used as building blocks for a software developer to create a new communication tool with built-in privacy features. Among the market, Tor browser is said to be an effective censorship circumvention tool.
In the world of darkness, we are unable to protect yourself from the threat. We all surf the internet in a normal and standard search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. But, do you know what? there is also the other existence of search engines available on the internet which is completely hidden in the darkness. The hidden web is called the “Deep Web“. It is not crawled by any of the standard search engines and it is not visible to the public. You can access them only if you use special search engines and special browsers like Tor Browser.
Read Also: What is Deep Web?
How Tor Works?
Before understanding how Tor works? Let us understand how the common internet works, as it gives you a clear idea about the Tor project.
Tor works on the concept of ‘onion routing’ method in which the user data is first encrypted and then transferred through different relays present in the Tor network, thus creating a multi-layered encryption (layers like an onion), thereby keeping the identity of the user safe. At each relay, one layer is encrypted and the remaining data is forwarded to any random relay until it reaches its destination server. For the destination server, the last Tor node/exit relay appears as the origin of the data. It is thus very difficult to trace the identity of Tor user or the server by any surveillance systems acting in the mid-way.
Other than providing anonymity to standalone users, Tor can also provide anonymity to websites and servers this comes under the category of hidden services. Also, P2P applications like BitTorrent can be configured to use tor network and download torrent files.
Is Tor Really Anonymous and Secure?
Yes, Tor browser gives anonymity but not all the time. Tor will protect your data transportation only and it will not give you full anonymity to do illegal things. To be clear it will just provide an extra layer of anonymity from other browsers. To gain full anonymity you must need a VPN in order to achieve it. Have these points in mind before proceeding with the Tor Browser.
- Don’t give your personal info or any other original details in any of the deep web sites.
- Be aware that, unlike all anonymizing networks that are fast enough for web browsing, Tor does not provide protection against end-to-end timing attacks: If your attacker can watch the traffic coming out of your computer, and also the traffic arriving at your chosen destination, he can use statistical analysis to discover that they are part of the same circuit.
- To avoid all risk factor, I recommend all the users to use powerful VPN (Virtual private network) service to give more protection and anonymity.
Do’s and Dont’s of Tor
Use Tor Browser:
- It is recommended to use Tor browser on your system before getting access to the dark web and its hidden wiki links.
- It protects your privacy and keeps you remain anonymous online.
Don’t Torrent over Tor:
- The torrent file seems to be ignoring proxy settings and make a direct connection even when they use Tor. It is because they send your original IP address in the tracker GET request.
- By this way, the torrent files will work. So, stop downloading or accessing the torrent file over Tor.
- It should be strictly avoided.
Don’t install and enable browser plugins:
- By using the browser plugins, your anonymity will get affected.
- And you will no more be anonymous online.
- Browser plugins like Flash, Real Player, QuickTime, and others are used to bypass Tor.
- I don’t recommend enabling browser plugins on Tor browser.
Use HTTPS versions of websites:
- Tor will encrypt your traffic within their network, but the encryption to the destination website depends upon that website.
- Tor browser uses HTTPS everywhere to force the use of encryption.
- Always use this HTTPS version.
Don’t open documents downloaded through Tor while being online:
- It is not recommended to open the DOC and PDF files which is been downloaded through Tor while online.
- This may severely affect your privacy and reveal your original IP.
- In case, if you need to open the DOC and PDF file on Tor.
- we strongly recommend either using a disconnected computer, downloading the free
- Some of your internal traffic isn’t been watched by Tor as default.
- To prevent this risk, use a Tor bridge relay rather than connecting directly to the public.
- Some of your internal traffic isn’t been watched by Tor as default. To prevent his risk, use a Tor bridge relay rather than connecting directly to the public.
- To prevent his risk, use a Tor bridge relay rather than connecting directly to the public.
How to Use Tor Browser?
After installing the Tor Browser, you will have a plain folder Tor Browser. Within that folder, you will see “Start Tor Browser.exe”. Run the file and a new window opens asking whether to connect directly to the Tor network or do you need to configure proxy settings. Most people can simply connect directly to the Tor network. It is the best option sometimes, click Connect and a few seconds later a version of Firefox opens and you are now connected to the Tor network.
If you still have doubts regarding your anonymity just go to whatismyip.com, which shows your current IP along with the location. If it shows a different location then you are set to go. Make sure that you do all your anonymous browsing from your Tor Browser.
Also, it is not so easy using Tor and booting it every time. Try to connect every site possible via SSL/TSL encryption (HTTPS). If you fail to do it, then anything you do online will be observed by someone at your existing node. The browser has the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s HTTPS Everywhere add-on installed by default, which will automatically cover your SSL/TSL needs most of the time.
Always remember that browsing in anonymity does not make you completely immune to viruses and other malware. If you are going to the deeper root parts of the Internet, Tor cannot protect you from malicious software that could be used to reveal your location. But, for the average Internet user, however, the Tor Browser should be enough to stay private online.
Introduction to Bitcoins and the Tor Network
Internet users will be familiar with the underground community and are likely to have heard the phrase “Deep web” or “Dark Web“. It combines a set of websites and communication technologies which apply solely to the Tor network. This collective open-source software has blossomed into a revolutionary idea in just a few years.
On a similar note, the bitcoin currency has also been gaining some attention. Although these two ideas are not correlated, they do fit together in the subject of underground web technology. Throughout this guide, I’d like to introduce you to the topic of bitcoins, how they work, and their connection with the Tor network. Let’s first clarify what Tor is really about.
The Tor Project
The original Tor network project isn’t as underground as it used to be. The open-source software was an effort to provide a new layer of Internet protection between the user and the remote website server, thus sheltering your privacy somewhat and providing you with a sense of security. This is accomplished by using 3 different relay proxies which re-direct you along a random path in the network.
Similar to Bit Torrent, users of the Tor network will keep their computers running 24/7 as a relay service. This means when you go to access a website on Tor it’ll pass your request through 3 different computers. This level of encryption ensures that no single computer within the proxy chain can determine your physical location and requested content. The official Tor FAQ contains more technical details if you’re interested.
This is crucial for users who prefer to keep their location and privacy unknown, individuals like whistleblowers or abuse victims. The fact that a wide variety of people now use Tor, increases the level of security, helping you hide among the many other faceless users who are on the network.
This new technology is used within the Tor network to communicate hosts with darknet websites. These are still HTML/CSS pages which have been hosted on servers specifically targeting an Onion DNS address. This TLD (Top-Level Domain) is actually similar to other country codes such as .us, .co.uk, .es and others. However, you are not accessing the same websites, as an HTTP/FTP connection. The most intriguing part of the Onion routing network is within their unique URL addresses.
Thus various aspects of the Tor Browser are discussed in this article What is Tor Browser. Comment your views and ideas on Tor Browser below.