Tor Browser is a free web browser that gives access to the anonymous and encrypted Tor Network. Tor is short for The Onion Router (hence the logo, onion is English for onion) and was originally a worldwide network of servers developed by the US Navy. The network allowed people to surf anonymously on the Internet.
Now it is a non-profit organization whose main purpose is research and development of tools to ensure privacy online. The Tor Project's The budget of 2 million dollars is funded annually by the US government (60 percent), partly by grants, donations and funds (40 percent).
The Tor Network hides your identity by moving your traffic across different Tor servers and encrypting the traffic so it can not be traced back to you. Anyone trying to see traffic coming from random nodes (connection points) on the Tor network rather than your computer.
Tor gives about the same anonymity and security as VPN, but due to its structure is very slow and can therefore not be used for downloads, streaming and the like.
What can Tor Browser used for?
If you want to remain anonymous - let's say if you live in a dictatorship, you are a journalist in an oppressive country, or a hacker who wants to stay hidden from the authorities - then Tor is one of the easiest ways to anonymize your traffic and it's free. However, it is far from perfect (we will get to that part in a moment).
On a more general level, Tor is useful to anyone who wants to keep their internet activities out of the hands of advertisers, ISPs and websites. It includes people who cope with censorship restrictions in their country, police officers who want to hide their IP address, or anyone who does not want their internet habits attached to them.
Tor technology is not just about browsing anonymously. It can also host websites using their hidden services, which is only available to other Tor users. It is on one of these hidden sites that Silk Road existed where you could buy firearms and drugs. Tors's ability as an internet host also tends to appear in police reports on child pornography and arms trafficking.
Is it something that regular users need? Probably not, at least not yet. But it has become popular because of its applicability in many of these specific situations and because many have begun to take an interest in anonymity “just because”.
What Tor can not be used for?
Tor is convenient, but it's far from perfect and you must not think that you are completely anonymous just because you use Tor. Among other things, the NSA can see if you are a Tor user and that naturally makes them more likely to keep an eye on you. With enough work, they and other authorities can often find out who you are.
Furthermore, anonymity is not the same as security. It's hard to hack into the Tor network, but the browser is another story. As it previously found, NSA can get into your browser much easier than they can access the network and when it happens, there is access to everything else. So "Man-in-the-middle" attack On Tor is still possible with the help of ISPs. Tor responded On these possible attacks with this comment:
The good news is that they went for a browser vulnerability. This means there are no signs that they can break the Tor protocol or perform traffic analysis on the Tor network. Infecting a laptop, phone or desktop computer is still the easiest way to learn about the person behind the keyboard.
Tor still helps here: you can attack individuals with browser vulnerabilities, but if you attack too many users, someone will notice it. So, even though NSA's purpose is to monitor everyone everywhere, they have to be much more selective with which users they are spying.
To use Tor browser is not enough to keep you safe in all cases. Browser vulnerabilities, large-scale surveillance, and common user security are all challenging issues for the average internet user. These attacks make it clear that we, the broad internet community, have to work on better security for browsers and other internet-connected programs.
As among How-To Geek Points, you still need to use HTTPS whenever possible to protect yourself from “man-in-the-middle” attacks. Likewise, Tor is only as strong as the browser that before have had security holesso it's worth making sure you always have the latest version.
Do you need Tor browser?
As mentioned above; if you're an average user looking at cat GIFs and visiting Facebook, you probably do not have to worry about the government spying on your activity and Tor just wants to slow down your connection. It is more likely that you need to ensure Your internet rather than anonymize it, e.g. when using public Wi-Fi. In this case, be sure you use HTTPS on all sites that support it and use one VPN connection to encrypt all your traffic.
If you want to remain anonymous because you download large files and do not want other people to see what you download, e.g. on BitTorrent (or with Popcorn Time), Tor is not a good solution. It will not keep you anonymous and you will slow down everyone else's traffic for no reason. In that case, it is also one VPNyou need to get hold of.
In other cases where you want to be anonymous, Tor will do the trick and it's free and easy to do Tor browser. But we still recommend considering one VPN Also, as long as you use one VPN dedicated to anonymity and that does not store logs of your traffic.
If you want access to hidden sites such as Silk Road (closed), Agora, Middle Earth, etc., you MUST use Tor browseras these places are not accessible without.
Download Tor browser free
To access Tor on Windows PC, Mac, Linux and Android you just need to downloade Tor browser. Everything you do in the browser goes through the Tor network and it does not need any setup or configuration from you, but works "out of the box". As your data is transmitted through a lot of connection points (nodes), which costs speed, you will experience a much slower internet than usual when you use Tor browser.
On Android, you can encrypt the entire Internet connection with the Tor network using the app Orbot.
On iOS devices can Onion Browser app used.
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