What if one wrong click could destroy your life?
As we spend more time online, we have less privacy than ever. If you’re worried about protecting things like your identity and your financial information, it’s essential to utilize Tor.
Unfortunately, many people are still asking questions like “what is Tor” and “how can it protect me?” And if you don’t understand how everything works, you put all of your information at risk.
Are you interested in staying safe and anonymous on the internet? Keep reading to learn how Tor can make it happen!
What Is Tor?
We’ve put together a comprehensive guide for how Tor can protect your most important information. First, though, we must define what Tor is exactly.
Tor stands for “The Onion Router.” It is a program that was first begun by the United States Navy nearly a quarter of a century ago.
The goal of this program is to keep you anonymous while you browse the internet.
To do this, Tor is constantly encrypting the information you send and receive. Next, it passes everything through a series of nodes.
Tor is relatively easy to use for just about everyone. That is because you can use a simple Tor browser to peruse the internet more securely.
Now that you know a bit more about what Tor is, let’s delve into how it all works and other intriguing questions we have as human cyborgs.
Not a tech-savvy person? Don’t worry: the function of Tor’s nodes is pretty simple to understand.
Typically, the information you send and receive online goes on a one-way trip. Specifically, everything goes directly from your computer to someone else’s computer and vice-versa.
With Tor, this information passes through a minimum of 3 nodes. These nodes effectively randomize the path of the data.
Why does the path matter? Imagine someone is trying to get access to your private information. If all of the information is going in a straight line, it’s pretty easy to trace everything back to you and gain access to things like your WordPress.
But if the path is randomized, your data is protected by a forrest. And it’s that much harder to track your info down.
Passing data through nodes is not the only way that Tor protects your information. Tor also ensures that this data is encrypted.
Tor encrypts your data multiple times. This redundancy ensures that the information is never decrypted until it reaches the target destination.
In this way, Tor helps to keep your information anonymous. And it also does this for your IP address.
Tor And Your IP
Ever get the feeling that someone is watching everything you are doing online?
Unfortunately, you’re correct: your Internet Service Provider is constantly monitoring what you do online. And the way that your ISP (and even dangerous hackers) do this is by tracking your IP address.
One of the most popular functions of Tor is that it hides your IP address. While an address will be visible, it is an IP address connected to one of the Tor nodes.
If you’d like additional privacy from your IP address and everyone else, Tor is a great way to start.
The Dark Side of Tor
Depending on who you talk to, Tor sometimes has an unsavory reputation.
Like all technology, this all comes down to who is using it and what they are using it for.
As an example, there is nothing wrong with protecting your information from your ISP. But many people do this in order to hide their illegal torrenting of movies, songs, and video games.
Tor can also make your IP address look like one from another country. Many people around the world do this to gain access to movies and TV shows that are streaming in other places but not their own country.
The Darknet Connection
Another reason that Tor is sometimes frowned upon is the darknet connection. Specifically, many people use Tor to access the darknet.
The darknet is one part of the deep web (a section of the internet that you cannot find via regular search engines). That means that Tor is often the only way to access darknet websites.
Many darknet sites end in “.onion.” This is, of course, a reference to The Onion Router.
There is nothing inherently wrong or illegal about accessing the darknet. Nonetheless, many users take advantage of the complete anonymity to advertise everything from illegal drugs to hit jobs!
However, plenty of people use a Tor browser without accessing the dark web. In most cases, they enjoy the added privacy when browsing online.
Is Tor Legal?
We have outlined how a few bad apples use Tor for illegal purposes. That brings up an obvious question: is Tor itself illegal?
The short answer is “yes.” Some countries have blocked Tor as a way of thwarting its more notorious users. But there is nothing illegal about downloading or using a Tor browser.
Now, your ISP may be suspicious of Tor users and take measures against you (see our information below). And people may suspect you of being one of those “bad apples” if you tell them about it.
However, you won’t get into any legal trouble over your use of Tor.
So far, we have focused on many benefits of using Tor. This includes enhanced privacy, an adjustable IP address, and access to more of the internet than ever. So, are there any potential drawbacks?
The biggest drawback is that your browsing and downloading will be slower through Tor. Routing everything through different nodes means things won’t go as fast as you may expect.
And as we mentioned, your ISP will be able to see you are using Tor even though they cannot see the sites you visit. They may become suspicious of your account even if you are doing nothing wrong.
Tor is unavailable on mobile devices and can be blocked by certain networks (though experienced Tor users can usually work around this).
Ultimately, while there are some possible drawbacks, we think Tor is worth it for the privacy and peace of mind it provides.
The Privacy You Deserve
Now you have an answer to “What is Tor?” The Raw footage. The truth of the matter is that Tor is not any more secure than Chrome; it simply anonymizes you. Say your customer is in China and needs to access Facebook because China blocks all social media, then tar is the answer.
Tor is also the answer for people to use illegal sites like pirate bay to override Comcast’s trackers that prevent illegal downloads of films or music.
Tor has a bad rep due to actions like this that happen daily on the internet. That being said, using Google Chrome is a perfectly safe option for most of our clients. I would only recommend Tor to clients who are private investigators, and government officials who may be at high risk when it comes to their security.
We recommend having an Adblocker on your Chrome toolbar, changing your passwords every 6 months, and clearing your cache every day. You’ll be just fine.
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