If privacy and anonymity are of interest to you, you most likely have heard of the Tor browser. For many users, Tor is the foundation of freedom on the internet. But let us speak in more detail about Tor, its functions, and its advantages compared to other privacy-related solutions like VPN, for example.
The Tor browser guarantees anonymity and free browsing on the internet. At Secure Stay, we are sure you are eager to experiment with all possibilities that come with this browser. However, you should know that there is risk involved. The dark web is the most obvious example of it. Tor provides you a possibility to engage with this dark part of the internet, although you shouldn’t try accessing it without fully understanding what you are getting yourself into. Therefore, we will speak about security measures you should undertake to stay safe while using the Tor browser, especially when you visit the dark web.
First of all, you should check the security settings of this browser; these should make your browsing experience much safer. Secondly, it might appear obvious to you, but we should warn you not to visit websites you don’t trust; the same goes for every browser, not only Tor. And last but not least, use a reliable VPN.
The Onion Router, or Tor, offers open-source software that allows users to browse the internet anonymously. Initially, Tor was designed by the US navy. The network was meant to provide a possibility for military organizations to communicate online anonymously. But let’s speak about the browser itself rather than its history. The browser uses an extensive worldwide server network. When you use the browser, your data goes through different nodes, also known as Tor servers. The traffic is thoroughly encrypted and steadily decoded at the different nodes. It implies that if someone wants to identify you based on your online traffic, they will simply come across the server your data passed through last. In a nutshell, the browser makes it impossible to track its users.
If you would like to access the Tor network, it is necessary to download the browser, as simple as that. All your online activity performed through the Tor browser will be automatically anonymized, although there are drawbacks to Tor. Its main disadvantage is that it is very slow in comparison to other browsers. This happens because your information is sent through different servers, and it is a long way around for an internet connection.
As we have mentioned above, the Tor browser was initially meant to be used by military organizations. However, today it is useful for users who prefer to stay anonymous or have something to hide. Journalists and political activists use Tor to avoid prosecution. As a rule, these people live in countries where their government might punish them for their thoughts and ideas. In addition, journalists use Tor to protect their sources. They don’t want to take the chance of their sources to be revealed. Journalists often communicate sensitive information; therefore, they need a reliable browser. However, there are not only suppliers of information but consumers as well. There is a lot of geo-restricted information, so people get access to it through Tor. Many web pages, especially those on the dark web, are not accessible via standard browsers like Safari or Chrome. Among other Tor users, there are also whistle-blowers, people who expose organizations and speak about immoral acts in their companies.
It is important to emphasize that not everybody uses the Tor browser for a noble cause. For example, hackers are cybercriminals who use Tor to conduct their illegal business anonymously and cover their tracks. There numerous illegal networks, similar to the former Silk Road, where people sold and bought illegal items. In a nutshell, criminals use Tor to avoid getting caught when they perform their illegal activities.
Tor is a champion in the world of online privacy. However, you should know that Tor is closely watched by law enforcement due to the large number of criminals who use it to their advantage. If you decide to use Tor, be cautious with unregulated websites and use decent antivirus software to protect your computer from malware. If you are decently protected, browsing with Tor can offer a fun anonymous experience.