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What is Tor and Why Should I Use It?

Browsing the web these days can feel like navigating through a minefield. All sorts of websites and extensions have access to way too much of your personal information. Your IP address alone is enough to reveal your current address. It’s time to get back the privacy you need, because in this article we’ll introduce you to Tor.

Tor Browser

The Tor Browser Bundle is one of the best ways to stay anonymous on the web. Originally developed by the US navy, it was publicly released in 2002 in order to protect users from websites trying to get hold of their personal information. Nowadays the technology behind Tor still remains relevant and can keep you safe from any sort of surveillance that might be on you, including the NSA.

tor download privacy browser bundle freeware

If you head to the Tor Project website and download the browser bundle now, you’ll get a Mozilla Firefox browser, configured to work with the Tor Network. Setup should be fairly simple and easy for computers using a non-filtered connection, whereas proxy users will have to go through a few additional steps to get Tor up and running.

Tor Browser Bundle Downloaded Running Setup Privacy Relay Configured Safety Safe

How Does Tor Work?

When you’re on the web through a regular browser, this is what happens when you access a website:

Connecting to a website through a standard connection web browser chrome internet explorer Firefox Mozilla unfiltered

[1] A connection is established directly between you and the servers. [2] All data is sent and received directly, leaving your IP exposed.

…and here’s what’s going on when you request a website via Tor:

Tor Connection Nodes Relays

[1] Your Computer connects to a server which contains a list of all Tor Nodes on the Tor Network. [2] Your request takes a random path through the nodes before reaching the server. [3] The only unencrypted and unfiltered connection is between the last node and the server, keeping you safe and anonymous. [4] A new and random path through the Tor Nodes is generated for each sent request, making you virtually untraceable.

You can read more about how Tor works on their official overview page to get additional info. Aside from filtering and encrypting your connection, Tor also helps you by disabling certain plugins that can trace you, like Flash, JavaScript and more.

The Deep Web

Yes, we know it’s somewhat naughty, but writing a Tor article without mentioning the Deep Web is kind of like eating french fries without ketchup – few people do it.

deep web tor access underground intenet non indexed websites illegal

You’ve probably already seen this image on 9GAG or reddit. Thought it was a joke? It definitely isn’t.

The Deep Web (also known as the Dark Net, Deep Net, Underweb, Hidden Web and more) consists of websites that are not indexed by search engines, therefore can not be “Googled” or found in easily accessible ways. Due to the fact that the Deep Web can only be accessed via Tor, it is home to mostly illegal activities, such as hacking resources, drug sales, fraud, theft, leaked government documentation and more. Here’s a really good video by AllTime10s that will give you some interesting facts about the Deep Web:

Related Article:  Enable or Disable Chrome Address Bar Instant Search


Tor is the perfect way to rid yourself of worries about big companies stealing and selling your private data. More recently, however, with .onion domains becoming more and more accessible to the mainstream public it’s easy to dive into the deep waters of the Dark Net. From there, you can find extremely shocking content that can have you never wanting to see a computer screen again. If there were two metaphors that I could use here, they’d probably be “With great power (or anonymity in this case) comes great responsibility” and “Curiosity killed the cat”.

Stay safe!

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8 Responses to What is Tor and Why Should I Use It?

  1. Jim August 19, 2014 at 6:58 am #

    Well, I tried this and couldn’t get anything to work. Seemed like a good idea but apparently my Mac doesn’t like this. All I could bring up was the about:tor page. Everything else, just a spinning wheel.

  2. Brian Burgess August 21, 2014 at 9:31 am #

    It is worth mentioning that TOR browsing speeds are a lot slower than your normal connection since it routes your traffic through many servers all over the globe.

    I have never used it on a MAC, but on my Windows machine, it takes a while to get up and running.

  3. Simon H September 14, 2014 at 7:13 am #

    Think it’s also worth mentioning that there are a couple of major errors in this article.

    1. An IP address alone is not enough to reveal your current physical address. It only reveals your ISP and a rough geographical location.
    Cooperation from the ISP is also required to trace a physical address and you won’t get that without a court order or similar.

    2. Tor will not keep you safe from surveillance. The unencrypted traffic between the final nodes and servers can be monitored by the NSA or other organisations meaning they could read any emails or correspondence that you fail to encrypt yourself.

    IMO if you want to stop companies tracking your surfing habits you are better off with a browser extension such as disconnect or adBlock plus. They do a great job without the slow downs that you get with Tor.

  4. rober November 17, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    I have been asking for six months now for some one to post an onion site to LEGIT data that I can only get to on tor, not the regular net. Has not happened yet.

    This came from reddit.

    Dark net raids were ‘overblown’ by police, says Tor Project by screaming_librarianin technology

    Of Course TOR would say That. Every person running a relay or node knows that TOR is 95% cesspool. They cannot state that they do not know that child rape and pornography are disseminated by TOR and Firefox that basically makes the TOR Browser. Tor and the EFF are playing games with the most powerful data collection agencies and law enforcement agencies in the world. Ultimately, they do not care about their relayers or node operators. They want you to stay on board to keep their dying experiment afloat. You may pay a huge price for that. There are many legal codicils that will destroy the argument that relayers and node operators did not know that child pornography was going through their computers. The following is interesting reading:



    We are stopping our business on TOR. We have been around longer than tor and operated as dissidents and have done what it has taken to fund our causes. We may be MS-13, The Russian Mafia, the Weather Underground or The Black Panthers, The Mexican Mafia etc,. We are closing down our operations on tor. You are not safe anymore. You are “HOT HOT HOT” to say the least.

    The biggest reasons for this is child pornography. We can think of no nations or country in which the general populace can endure or condone child pornography. They may endure the sale of weapons, drugs, hacking and carding, etc. They will not stand for child pornography.

    Child pornographers have been popped so much on TOR lately that the general populations of nations are becoming aware of tor and the general populace of the world will not stand for cp.

    We stayed alive so long because we employed the best of the best. For a while the best of the best was affiliated with tor and anonymous. Now the best of the best are being employed at exorbitant salaries by law enforcement world wide with far more job security.

    In our world you trust only those you know from birth or to whom you can administer a polygraph several times to see if they are legit to our needs. However, brothers cannot not always trust brothers or other real family members. There are bounties out on TOR. Not just from law enforcement but from others that want to maximize their control of tor.

    The arrogance of your people are painfully obvious to the world. Which is a huge problem for us. For us and others, this is a world of business. We want low profiles.

    You, TOR and the EFF, keep insulting law enforcement and true dissidents.

    Should You Trust Tor? Not If Your Life Is On The Line The arrogance Jacob Appelbaum is duly noted here.

    How you can let this stay up is beyond us:

    An avowed criminal helping TOR in the public eye.

    TOR underestimates and does not respect its adversaries. That is death in our world.

    We are done. We will use the TOR browser to post but we know our mac address is probably compromised. This computer will be destroyed and de-located etc.

    We like carrier pigeons for the important stuff

  5. Simon H November 18, 2014 at 7:05 am #

    Stefan’s post clearly explains that Tor has some legitimate uses so you look foolish to say otherwise.

    Yeah there are some great articles that document Tor weaknesses but the inane post you copied from reddit is not one of them.

    • rober November 18, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

      what no onion site for legit data I cannot get on the regular net?. Not surprised AT ALL.

  6. Simon H November 19, 2014 at 10:47 am #

    Well it’s a pleasure to disappoint you.

    Perhaps now you will take your pointless ill-conceived posts elsewhere because they are of no use to anyone here.

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