When it comes to browsing safely and securely, who can we rely on other than our very own Onion Router (TOR). Internet is becoming the life and soul of modern living; it is also becoming insecure and risky, as large scale surveillances by NSA are taking over. So, to save you from such activities, TOR has come up with a system which is secretly routing your Internet history on other parts of the Internet so that no one can track down your identity or the real source of your browsing.
However, just having TOR installed on your computer won’t guarantee you a safe browsing experience. It is crucial to know how to use it properly, as actions taken within the program can mean the difference between creating a complicated user experience and disabling the program from protecting you altogether.
A few things should be taken into consideration when working with TOR:
- In order for it to function fully, you should always update your system at all times. TOR is a software fully functioning on top of your operating system, if your system is not fully updated and functional, then hackers can easily take over your computer and disable TOR.
- Try not to use Windows, as it has certain security bugs and vulnerabilities which might lead to TOR not being able to be fully functional.
- It should be noted that TOR is only a traffic router, and it will only be able to hide the root of your communication. It can only do this from within your network.
- The exit nodes of the TOR networks can only read plain unencrypted data; always using end-to-end encryption such as SSL or TLS and using add-ons like HTTPS everywhere is crucial.
Online privacy should be a top priority for any Internet user, so do use TOR, for in this era, no one can be trusted when it comes to internet safety.
There are a few other techniques that need to be performed with TOR, such as encrypting data storage, disabling flash and java, deleting cookies and local data of the site. Always try to use data protection services so that you are protected from certain threats, as TOR can only hide your Internet’s origin, not the data in your computer.
It’s a good idea to try and remove the cookies and site data; websites might have hidden terms or clauses that make it legal for them to store your browsing history on their servers, facilitating their ability to pinpoint your location. If manually doing this becomes a hassle, invest in an add on like self-maintaining cookies and your security is restored!
Things Not to Do
There are a few crucial things you should not do when working with TOR on your computer.
- Don’t use the TOR browser bundle as it is not at all reliable (FBI has recently taken down Freedom Hosting due to faults in the browser).
- Avoid P2P, as it is not meant for sharing files; downloading torrent through BitTorrent might prevent TOR from doing its work, (the exit nodes are there to stop the file sharing) and it will make it unable to protect your identity, because the client of the torrent uses your IP address for the tracker and the peers.
- Lastly, try to avoid Google as it uses the user’s information for the growth of its revenue. Use alternatives such as Startpage and DuckDuckGo, and while you use them and TOR, please don’t give your real email address. As it is your REAL email address, you will kind of be giving away all your information by yourself.
Try to be safe. Internet safety is of utmost importance in this era, and you never know who is tracking and doing harm to unsuspecting users. Follow these rules, because just installing the software won’t provide a full security experience, much like setting an alarm on your clock but not turning it on, won’t offer a fully functional experience.