TOR-TOR ONION BROWSER-WHAT IS TOR?

tor onion browser

 

Tor Onion Browser, what is it, and how does it work? to understand this question we first must find out what TOR is? TOR is short for “the Onion Browser”, initially TOR was a worldwide network of servers. It was developed with the U.S. Navy that allowed anonymous internet browsing. Tor is similar to a VPN in that it disguises your identity by encrypting your traffic and moving this traffic across many TOR servers. The encrypted traffic cannot be traced back to you.

Tor Onion Browser

To access the Tor network you must first download the “Tor Onion Browser”, once you download browser everything you do in the browser goes through the TOR network. The TOR network does not need any configuration or set up by you.

Tor works by routing traffic through several computers on the TOR network. The more TOR users the more protected your data an or information. Simply put, as the name implies the more layers the safer your identity is from the rest of the world.

That being said because of the number of relays your traffic has to go through you, TOR is slow so you will experience much more speed degradation while using TOR. TOR is a free downloadable program. They are a nonprofit organization that relies on supporters to keep TOR robust and secure for millions of people around the world.

How Does TOR Work?how tor works diagram

TOR works by computers on the networks that handle the intermediary traffic, these are referred to as Tor Relays/Nodes. There are 3 different kinds, Middle Relays/Nodes, End/Exit Relays/Nodes, and Bridges, as the name implies the End/Exit Relays/Nodes are the last relays in the chain.

The Middle Relays/Nodes handle the traffic along the chain. Bridge Relays/Nodes are TOR Relays/Nodes that are not publicly listed, in order to shield them from IP blockers.
Tor passes data/information through randomly selected TOR Relay/Nodes which are run by volunteers who sign up to act as Relays/Nodes. This data/information is encrypted each time it passes through a Relay/Node. Relay/Nodes are run by a volunteer the more volunteers the safer the network is.

TOR Limitations

Unfortunately, the use of TOR comes with limitations and risks. First, the limitations, the most notable limitation is speed/performance. The traffic routed through TOR bogged down because of the number of relays it is passing through. The traffic passes through 3 Relays and tends to get hung up along the way, this is especially noticeable with heavy elements like audio and video. This poor sped/performance is multiplied by the number of users on the network.

 

RisksCaution

There are some very serious risks associated with using TOR, because TOR relies on individuals signing up to act as one of the Relays in the chain, such as Middle Relays and End/Exit relays. Middle Relays are most insulated from the risk associated with TOR.

The Relays most targeted are the End/Exit relays because you don’t know who is using, what they are doing, what they are accessing you could be targeted by law enforcement and Government Agencies for illegal activities.

You could be an End/exit relays and someone could be stealing data/information and your Relay would be targeted. Your computer could be seized by law enforcement for running an End/Exit Relay, it is worth mentioning no one has ever been prosecuted or sued for doing so.

Is TOR For You?

For the average user who just wants to browse/surf on the internet, TOR is probably not for you. The slow speeds and performance you may experience may not worth the hassle. It is not recommended for P2P file sharing and Torrenting, because the slow speeds this activity has a domino effect on the whole network, and if someone is using the network to share/download copyrighted material, TOR Relay/Node volunteers could be put at risk for the actions of others.

Also, if you wanted to use TOR to access your paid streaming subscription the poor internet speeds and buffering would make streaming almost impossible. For those people who live in countries where access is severely limited and monitored TOR is probably for you, TOR provides a secure connection to the internet.

Keep in mind whatever you use TOR for there are associated risks, as I mentioned earlier, these risks could be serious enough to get you into trouble with law enforcement and the Government. While TOR use may provide security for some users, for the average user, the risk may out way the benefit.

 

I hope you enjoyed this post if you have any questions or just want to leave a comment please do so below

Take care

Stay secure and always practice

Safe Text !!!

Butch

6 thoughts on “TOR-TOR ONION BROWSER-WHAT IS TOR?

  1. This is very interesting! I have a few questions though:

    If the traffic cannot be tracked back to you, how can law enforcement agencies find you? Is detecting relays separate from traffic? Also if people can steal your data, does this mean a TOR browser is just a way of browsing anonymously, and actually opens your computer up to hackers more easily?

    Would you recommend this over a VPN service in any situation? Or is a VPN always a better option when available? Thanks!

    • Hi, CJ thanks for your comment and questions. Law enforcement agencies can’t necessarily traceback to you they can though find the End/Exit Relay/Node and that person would be held responsible for your activity.

      Yes, the Relay is the mode in which the traffic is sent over the TOR network.

      No, it doesn’t open up your computer easier hacking, it protects the information you are sending out or receiving, TOR is one of the different ways to protect and allows you to browse anonymously.

      I think I would in most cases recommend the use of a VPN, because of the limitations that are associated with TOR, I also would not risk my personal security for someone who conducts illegal activities, transactions, etc. while online. I hope this answers your questions, take care.

      All the best and always remember to practice

      Safe Text!!

      Stay secure

      Butch

  2. I don’t see myself ever need TOR, nor I never needed it. But that’s because I only use the net for basic stuff and I don’t do anything illegal lol. Not only that, but from reading this it just seems like there’s way more cons than pros to using Tor-Tor Onion. Plus, it seems like it would just slow down a network. 

    Thanks for writing this up though, I learn a lot.

    • Hi, Nate thanks for the comment. I agree there seem to be more cons with TOR. You should though use something to protect your online presence and activity. It’s not about hiding illegal activity, it’s about protecting yourself, there are many hackers who are looking to steal this information. Some Internet providers harvest this information and sell to 3rd party entities which inturn start sending unwanted ads, redirect web searches to unauthorized web sites, and spam. Take care

      All the best and always remember to practice

      Safe Text!!!

      Stay secure

      Butch

  3. Sounds interesting, I’ve never heard of this kind of browser before. I’m guessing that’s because I’d fall into the category of “average user” as you mentioned. I’ve never thought of needing to hide my identity online and that kind of thing. I see how this would be useful if you’re making purchases with your credit or entering sensitive data online but other than that I’m not sure why you would need the extra encryption. 

    • Hi Sam, Thanks for your comment, I have to agree TOR is probably not for the average user but protecting your identity, data and information with something is a must. I personally use a VPN, which helps to secure my online presence and activity. I use my VPN mostly when using public Wi-Fi connections, it keeps any potential hackers who are also using the same public connection from stealing my information. I had a breach awhile back where I was using public Wi-Fi connection and someone got my credit card info, luckily it was only a small amount and my credit card company notified me and I was immediately able to cancel the card, ever since then I never use public connections without VPN.  Take care

      All the best and always remember to practice

      Safe Text!!

      Stay secure

      Butch

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