What is the Tor Browser?
The Tor browser is meant to provide anonymous browsing online. This state of the art browsing platform helps to protect online privacy by providing network surveillance and traffic analysis. Tor prevents people from ascertaining an Internet user’s location and also their browsing behaviour. The network can be used for instant messaging, web browsing and more. It is an open source network that is free to download for Windows, Mac, Linux/Unix, and Android.
The Tor Browser is downloaded to a USB drive, or as a desktop application. It comes with a pre-configured web browser. Tor Browser downloads are available in multiple languages. A stable Tor browser for Windows uses these current browser settings.
Downloads in the English language are available in 32/64 bit (sig), 32-bit (sig) and 32-bit (sig) and 64-bit (sig). Mac OS X, and Linux configurations have related settings. Once installed, the Tor software protects network activity by rerouting information based around a network of relays managed by volunteers. Doing so prevents hackers from deciphering your Internet connection by learning what sites you have visited. Tor anonymity online capacities prevent these sites from learning people’s physical location.
What makes up the Tor Browser?
The browser contains Tor, Firefox ESR, Torbutton, TorLauncher, NoScript and HTTPS-Everywhere. One Tor definition is named “Onion Routing.” Its overarching onion symbol refers to the layers of encryption used by Tor. Data traversing the Tor network is encrypted and re-encrypted as it passes through random relays. Each relay adds layers of encryption which change as they arrive at the next relay in the network.
A main benefit of encryption is that the routing remains invisible at all times of day and night. It is important to note that Tor can be slow. Owing to the random relay routing and encryption the service can often respond much slower than a regular unencrypted traffic behaviour.
Why do entrepreneurs need Tor?
Tor helps you defend against traffic analysis, a form of surveillance threatening personal freedom, privacy, confidential business activities, relationships, and security. Traffic analysis is a special type of attack that looks at patterns of communication between entities. Knowing who’s talking to whom, when, and for how long, can sometimes clue an attacker into the information of which you’d rather she not be aware. The answer to whether is Tor safe for businesses and private individuals is a resounding yes.
Who Uses Tor?
The software has numerous legitimate uses. Every day, people and their families use Tor to protect themselves, their children, and their privacy while using the Internet. Businesses use Tor to research competition, keep business strategies confidential, and facilitate internal accountability. Activists who mask their location to escape the prying eyes of oppressive regimes and journalists who communicate with anonymous sources are two examples of legitimate Tor usage.
Activists and whistleblowers use Tor to anonymously report abuses from conflict zones. Non-governmental organizations use Tor to allow their workers to connect to their website while they are abroad effectively hiding their location. Military and Law Enforcement use Tor to protect their communications, investigations, and intelligence gathering online.
Activist groups recommend Tor as an ideal way to maintain civil liberties. Corporations use Tor’s many capabilities to conduct competitive analysis and to protect sensitive procurement information from unwanted listeners. They also use it to replace traditional VPNs which reveal the exact amount and timing of communication regarding business functions relating to employee performance and turnover.
Three ways to join the Tor network: The first is to download it yourself on your computer and activate it. The second option is to run it in the cloud. The Tor Cloud project can function well on the Amazon EC2 cloud computing framework. Setting up a Tor bridge on Amazon EC2 will only take a couple of minutes. This gives you a user-friendly way to access the uncensored Internet. Lastly, donations to Tor masters such as Torservers, Noisetor, and Nos Oignons will ensure that your information is transferred into Tor exit relays, thus freeing you from unnecessary complications.
Management of Tor: The invisible network is run by volunteers worldwide. Each volunteer runs what is called a relay, which is just a computer that runs software allowing users to connect to the Internet via the Tor network. Before hitting the open Internet, the Tor Browser anonymizer will connect to several different relays, wiping its tracks each step of the way, making it difficult to figure out where, and who, you really are.
Tor anonymizes the origin of your traffic in the Tor network but it does not encrypt your traffic between the Tor network and its final resting place. Thus, Tor is best used in combination with other encryption tools. It is worth mentioning that Tor can be slow owing to the random relay routing. The service can often respond much slower than regular unencrypted behaviour. As a way out of this, always use Tor Browser Bundle which is a browser that comes pre-configured to use Tor in a secure manner.
An overview of the Tor project: To correctly identify what is tor it is necessary to understand that it is first a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. Tor also enables software developers to create new communication tools with built-in privacy features.
Tor provides the foundation for a range of applications that allow organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy. Tor’s many services let users publish websites and other services without needing to reveal the location of the site. Individuals also use Tor for socially sensitive communication such as those that take place in chat rooms, web forums for rape survivors, people with illnesses and so on.
Tor is Not Foolproof: Tor is not perfect; If used incorrectly you can destroy your own anonymity with Tor. That’s why it is also important to remember that if you log into services like Google and Facebook over Tor, those services will still be able to see your communications within their systems.
Additionally, Tor users should be mindful of the fact that an adversary who can see both sides of their connection may be able to perform a statistical analysis to confirm that the traffic belongs to them. Tor does not provide automatic security updates. Instead, the Tor Browser currently requires users to manually download and install the update of the Tor Browser Bundle.
There are some Tor con outcomes.
Criminals can use Tor’s anonymity to conduct illegal activities such as pornography, drug trade and other similar abuses online. The billion dollars narcotic trading site such as Silk Road has been known for using Tor as “darknet” technology. A few words of caution, if criminals use Tor for illegal activities and the traffic is believed to come out of anyone’s exit relay, that traffic will be traceable to their IP address. Law enforcement authorities now have the means to confiscate the computer that was found with the address.
Running a Tor exit node enables people to spread malicious information which can be traced back to you and are likely to actually get you into trouble. However, as of now, the consequences of running dangerous exit relays are not yet a criminal penalty. The perpetrator will face a lawsuit for downloading copyrighted content or action under the Copyright Alert System in the USA. For ethics enthusiasts, understand that you are not helping criminals by using Tor any more than you are helping criminals by using the Internet.
Tor Design Requirements and Philosophy: The Tor Browser Design Requirements are meant to imply a Private Browsing System. There are two main categories of requirements: Security and privacy. Security Requirements are the minimum properties needed in order for a browser to be able to support Tor and similar privacy proxies safely.
Privacy requirements are the set of properties that allow us to prefer one browser over another. It is the requirements concerning Privacy that are most important to understand and implement. The privacy requirements in Tor are set to downgrade linkability, which is the ability for a user’s activity on one site to be linked with their activity on another site without their knowledge and consent.
Privacy management is identified through nodes. The first is the Cross-Origin Identifier Unlinkability: This ensures user activity on one URL bar origin is linkable to their activity in any other URL bar origin by any third party automatically or without user interaction or approval. This requirement specifically applies to linkability from stored browser identifiers, tokens, and the shared state.
The requirement does not apply to linkable information the user manually submits to sites or due to information submitted during manual link traversal. Cross-Origin Fingerprinting Unlinkability: User activity on one URL bar origin cannot be linkable to their activity in any other URL bar origin. This property specifically applies to linkability from fingerprinting browser behaviour. Long-Term Unlinkability: The browser has to provide an obvious, easy way for the user to remove all of its authentication tokens and browser state and obtain a fresh identity. Additionally, the browser SHOULD clear the linkable state by the default automatically upon browser restart.
In addition to the above design requirements, the technology decisions about the Tor Browser are also guided by some philosophical positions about technology. Here are the top three positions. Preserve the existing user model. The existing way that the user expects to use a browser must be preserved. If the user has to maintain a different mental model of how the sites they are using behave depending on tab, browser state, or anything else the user will inevitably be confused.