If you live in a country where there is no freedom of speech and the government is very strict about your internet usages. Or if you don’t want big companies to track your browsing activity so that they can use it for marketing purposes. Then you probably want to be anonymous while using the internet.
When you are using an unsecured internet, your IP address is visible to everyone, and from the IP address, they can detect your current location.
Based on your IP address, location, and browsing activity, they target ads.
When it comes to online anonymity and security, most people think VPN is the best way to secure your internet. VPN does provide some level of security by hiding your IP address and location. But it is not the best one.
In this article, you will learn about How You can use TOR to browse the internet anonymously.
What is TOR?
The Onion Routing(TOR) is a software tool that provides Internet Security and Online Anonymity. It is designed to stop people( including government agencies and corporations) from learning your location or tracking your browsing habits. It does that by bouncing internet traffic through different relays(also referred to as ‘routers’ or ‘nodes’) run by thousands of volunteers globally.
Tor makes it more difficult to trace the Internet activity to the user.
Tor’s intended use is to protect the personal privacy of its users, as well as their freedom and ability to conduct confidential communication by keeping their Internet activities unmonitored.
History of TOR.
TOR was originally developed by US Naval Research Laboratory in the mid-1990s to protect US intelligence communications online.
The alpha version of Tor was developed by Syverson and computer scientists Roger Dingledine and Nick Mathewson and then called The Onion Routing project.
Later it was changed to “Tor”, as an acronym for the former name.
It was launched on 20 September 2002. The first public release occurred a year later.
It has received about 60% of its funding from the US State Department and Department of Defense.
Other backers are the Electronic Frontier Foundation, journalism and community body Knight Foundation, and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, etc.
How does Tor Work?
Onion routing is implemented by encryption in the application layer of the communication protocol stack, nested like the layers of an onion.
Let’s understand In detail with an example.
When a user connects to Tor by using a tor client (Mostly by Tor Browser), it connects to a bunch of Tor nodes. It may be hundreds of nodes present on a network. First Node is called Entry Node, the last node is called Exit Node, and others are Relay Node
In this example, three nodes are taken into consideration for better understanding.
When the user wants to access a website(let’s say ProPublica) it encrypts the message with the respective number of layers( In our example 3 layers of encryption as three nodes are connected.) That means Layer 3(K3) can only be decrypted by Node 1, Layer 2(K2) is Decrypted by Node 2, and Layer 1(K1) is decrypted by Node 3(also called Exit Node).
When the user gets the response from the server, the response message is being encrypted in a reverse manner. That means Node 3 will encrypt the message by using K1 and send it to Node2, will add another layer of encryption using K2 and, so on. As the user has all the keys the message is finally decrypted and accessed.
As the messages are encrypted nobody knows what is being sent and received. Each node only knows the address of the previous and the address of the next node.
If a hacker(Hacker1 in the above Picture ) is trying to sniff in-between Node 2 and Node3, then he only gets some long encrypted random characters.
If another hacker(Hacker 2 in the above picture) is trying to sniff in-between Node 3 and the server, he will only get that, someone is trying to access ProPublica Website but doesn’t know his location, IP address.
In this way, Tor Hides and encrypts our identity.
Who Uses Tor?
- Normal people who want to keep their internet activities private from websites and advertisers.
- The US navy is still a key user
- Activists and journalists in countries with strict censorship of media and the internet.
- Cybercriminals, Hackers.
Tor gives anonymity that no one can be recognizable online.
But not all users of Tor are good people Because there is a specific type of Internet called DarkWeb, where all bad things happen including
- Drug Dealing
- Weapon Buying and Selling
- Child Abuse and Pornography
- Murder etc.
Should You Use It?
If you are just a normal person looking to browse the internet anonymously, You can use it.
Please Do Not use it for any illegal activity because, You are being watched by the CIA(Central Intelligence Agency), NSA(National Security Agency)
Points to Remember
- TOR Stands For The Onion Routing.
- Tor Provides Anonymity and Security.
- Tor Browser is used to access TOR Network.
- Don’t do any illegal activity.