What Is Tor? Everything You Need To Know

What Is Tor? You've likely heard of Tor if you are interested in anonymity and online privacy. Tor is widely considered the foundation of true freedom online. What is Tor, and how does it work? What are its advantages and disadvantages? What are the main differences in the Tor browser compared to other privacy-related solutions such as a VPN and a proxy server? This article will explain everything!

Be careful when using Tor

Tor browser ensures anonymous browsing and freedom on the internet. We understand that you are excited to explore all of the Tor possibilities. Some of these possibilities can be dangerous. The darknet is one example. Tor allows you to access this dark area of the internet. However, you should be aware of what you are doing. Before we tell you more about Tor, let's show you how to keep safe when using Tor, especially when browsing the dark web.

First, check Tor's security settings. As we'll see, Tor employs a highly effective and reliable system for data encryption. Using Tor's security settings can make your online life much more secure. This is second, and it may seem obvious, but you should never go to websites or click on links that you aren't sure about. This is something that you need to remember regardless of what browser you use and what safety precautions you take. We recommend that you use a secure VPN or virtual private network.

Your data will be better encrypted if you use a VPN simultaneously with Tor. The VPN hides your IP address and displays the IP of the VPN server that you are using rather than your static IP address. This makes browsing safer.

What Is Tor

What is Tor?

The Tor team (shorthand for The Onion Router) is an open-source software free of charge that allows you to browse the Internet anonymously. The US Navy was the original developer of Tor. The US Navy and other military organizations were able to communicate anonymously online using this network. Today, Tor's main focus is on its browser and the development of a few privacy tools. We'll touch on these later.

The Tor browser enhances your online privacy and security. It makes use of the huge global server network that is the Tor network. Your data is sent through various Tor servers (or “nodes”) when you use the browser. Traffic is encrypted heavily and decoded slowly at each node. This means that anyone trying to identify you using your online traffic will only be able to find the exit node, which is the last server through which your data traffic went. This browser makes it very difficult or impossible to identify its users.

How does Tor Works?

Your computer establishes a TCP connection to the server when you visit a website with a regular web browser. Anybody monitoring your internet connection, or that of the server, could easily inspect your IP packet headers and discover the IP addresses of both the server and you and infer that you were communicating with one another. The snooper would not be able to read your actual messages as long as they were encrypted via HTTPS. However, as Person X knows, sometimes just knowing who you're communicating with can provide enough information for an adversary.

Your computer does not communicate with the server of a website when visiting it using the Tor browser. Instead, the Tor browser creates a circuit that connects to a random number of Tor nodes and transmits your data through this path. Your data is sent to the first node (or guard) in the circuit.

Your data is sent to the guard node, which then sends it on to the middle node. The middle node transmits your data to the third (or exit) node. Finally, the exit node forwards your data to the website's server. The server transmits its response to the exit node. This relays the response to you via the remainder of the circuit.

What are people using Tor for?

Although Tor was originally designed for military use, the software has evolved to be useful for all, especially those who have something to hide. It is used by many journalists and political activists to avoid prosecution. These people are usually citizens of countries that might penalize them for sharing their thoughts and opinions online.

Journalists use Tor to protect sources. If the source doesn't want their information to be revealed, they can use Tor to communicate sensitive information. Tor is not only for information suppliers but also for consumers. It is used by many people to access geo-restricted information, bypass censorship, and visit specific websites. You won't see many pages on the dark web if you use a normal browser like Chrome or Firefox.

Whistle-blowers are another group that uses Tor. Edward Snowden, who leaked documents about classified surveillance programs in the US, is one of Tor's most prominent users and supporters. Employees can also use the browser to reveal secrets of their company or government or address illegal or immoral activity.

The Advantages of Tor Browser 

  • Blocks your data: It blocks your IP address and other data when you browse websites.
  • Network security: All websites that you access in this network are encrypted and secured. This browser uses a DuckDuckGo search engine, which has high security.
  • Democratic activities: Tor is a great tool for democratic activities. By hiding yourself, you can post any content on the internet.
  • Deep Web Access: This network allows you to access the deep web as well as blocked websites.
  • Non-index pages: These pages can be accessed in Bing, Google, and other search engines.
  • .onion sites: This browser supports .onion websites, and .onion website openings are limited to this browser. The deep web is related to Onion websites.

The Dark Side of Tor

Although all this may seem positive, not everyone uses Tor to support what one might consider a “good cause”. Many hackers and cybercriminals use Tor to remain anonymous while operating illegal businesses. Criminals find the anonym browser especially useful because it allows them to access the dark internet.

The dark web contains many illegal networks, such as Silk Road, an illegal marketplace. This was a network that allowed people to buy and sell illegal items such as firearms and illegal drugs. Tor is used by many criminals to avoid being caught in the course of their illegal activities.

Tor is used not only to anonymize internet users but also to host websites that are only accessible via it. Any website hosted on the Tor network will not be found by search engines like Google or Bing. They are now part of the dark internet.

The Disadvantages of Tor Browser

  • Slow network: Web browsing via the tor browser takes a lot of redirection through at least three nodes.
  • Startup Time: This browser can take some time to load the first time it connects with the available node servers. This browser's startup time is significantly longer than Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.
  • Large files: This network does not allow you to download or upload large files.
  • Slow Performance: Browsing web pages is slow because it involves routing data through different nodes. Streaming videos can also be slow. To use Tor, you need to have a fast internet connection. Tor's speed is much faster than using a VPN (a virtual private network) for free.
  • Illegal Use: The majority of users use this browser to do illegal activities, so it is not recommended.
  • Old interface: This browser uses an older style of fonts and has a classic look and feel. It looks like an old Netscape browser. Tor 2.0 has a Firefox engine, but many Firefox add-ons don't work on it.
  • Not completely secure: Your data is not encrypted when you submit it to the website. Tor doesn't care if your data is encrypted or not. 

Is Tor Legal?

Tor is legal in all jurisdictions, particularly in the “western world”. Because of the anonymity it provides; however, some people use Tor for illegal purposes. These activities are still illegal, even though Tor is used. We strongly urge you to abstain from these practices.

Final thoughts

Tor is a champion of online privacy. The browser allows users to access any website they wish and provides anonymity. This protection does not protect all internet activity like a VPN. It is only limited to the browser. Law enforcement often monitors Tor because criminals and legitimate businesses often use it for illegal activities.

Although the service is free and simple to download, it does have some limitations. Use the browser with caution. Avoid unregulated sites and use good antivirus software to protect you against malware. You should also use other security measures, such as a VPN. The Tor browser is a great tool for anonymous and fun internet surfing.

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