What Is Tor – How Does Tor Work – How to Use Tor? This article is all about TOR, a highly secure, efficient and one of a kind “Anonymizing Network” that aims to offer total privacy and hence protection to anyone who needs it.
Before diving into it, the answer to the question: “Why aren’t proxies and VPNs enough? Why the need for TOR?”
As we know, proxy servers and Virtual Private Networks act as middlemen through which we can. For example, visit websites without revealing our identity, location and IP address (In theory, that is). We don’t connect to the website directly and neither the website to us. We are connected to the middleman and so is the website, effectively giving us, the users a dummy IP address that actually belongs to the Proxy or VPN server. So the website doesn’t know who we are – Goal accomplished. Then why are you seeing an article about another anonymizing service? It’s because proxies and VPNs are simply not as easy and effective as they want us to believe.
What Is Tor Anonymity Network & It’s Different?
Tor enables a user to stay anonymous on the internet and get rid of any potential surveillance, location tracking, etc. while using the internet. Read this article to know Everything About Tor: What is Tor? How Tor Works?
Tor or The Onion Router allows anonymous use of internet veiling the real identity of the user. It protects the user from any traffic analysis and network spying. Tor is perhaps the most popular and secure option available for anonymous internet connectivity.
Where It Came From?
Tor is based on the principle of “Onion Routing” which was developed by Paul Syverson, Michael G. Reed and David Goldschlag at the United States Naval Research Laboratory in the 1990’s. The alpha version of Tor named “The Onion Routing Project” or simply TOR Project was developed by Roger Dingledine and Nick Mathewson, launched on September 20, 2002. Further development was carried under the financial roof of Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
The Tor Project Inc. is a non-profit organization that now maintains Tor and is responsible for its development. It is mainly funded by the United States Government. Further aid is provided by Swedish Government and different NGOs & individual sponsors.
How Tor Anonymity Network Works?
Tor works on the concept of “Onion Routing” method. In this method the user data is first encrypted and then transferred through different relays present in the Tor network, thus creating a multi-layered encryption (layers like an onion), thereby keeping the identity of the user safe. At each relay, one layer is decrypted and the remaining data is forwarded to any random relay until it reaches its destination server. For the destination server, the last Tor node/exit relay appears as the origin of the data. It is thus very difficult to trace the identity of the user or the server by any surveillance systems acting in the mid-way.
Other than providing anonymity to standalone users, Tor can also give anonymity to websites and servers this comes under the class of hidden services. Also, P2P applications like BitTorrent can be configured to use tor network and download torrent files.
Controversies And Influence About Tor:
Tor has been eulogized for the anonymity and privacy it provides to the users who want to bypass censorship, who are abused and traumatized by stalkers and social activists who are afraid of being arrested by the authorities. It has been used by different security agencies to share confidential information.
The NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden used Tor to leak information about PRISM to The Guardian and The Washington Post.
Tor has been criticized for the reason that it acts as a medium for different illegal activities like data breaching, drug dealing, gambling etc. Tor is also used by malevolent people to communicate over the internet while keeping their identity hidden which makes it difficult for the security agencies to trace them.
The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has called Tor “The King Of High-Secure, Low Latency Internet Anonymity” and similar comments by BusinessWeek magazine, “perhaps the most effective means of defeating the online surveillance efforts of intelligence agencies around the world”.
Another speculation made is that Tor takes its funding from the U.S. Government which may lead to the assumption that NSA may have compromised the identities of personal Tor users, but the executive director Andrew Lewman has disclaimed any confederations with NSA.
Can Tor Be Compromised?
Various claims have been made to compromise Tor’s anonymity and security from time to time. The most famous are the Bad Apple Attack where the researchers claimed to have identified around 10k IP addresses of active analyze users who were connected via Tor.
In April 2014, A Heartbleed bug halted Tor network for several days. That was the another compromise done.
- Also Read: What is Heartbleed Bug?
Traffic Fingerprinting is a method used to analyse web traffic by analyzing the patterns, responses, and packets in a particular direction. This can be used to attack the Tor network by making the attacker’s computer act as the guard.
The main vulnerability found is at its exit points where the level of security is very low as compared to the rest of the Tor network.
Products Based On Tor:
The Tor Project Inc. has released Tor Browser. It’s a modification of an Extended Support Release version of Mozilla Firefox browser. The Tor browser is made portable so that it can be used for an external media and reduces the hazel of installation. It removes the user history after every use, thus reducing the risk of any kind of cookie tracking. Other products like
Nathan Freitas founded the Global Developer Community named “Guardian Project” and developed this above two Tor based products.
We can set-up SOCKS (Socket Secure) based applications to use the Tor network by configuring them with the loop-back address.
Hornet is a new anonymity network that provides higher network speeds compared to Tor. There are some of the other top alternatives of Tor to use and they are:
To know more about these alternatives, please visit this above given links.
Tor has proved to be a great medium for safe, secure and anonymous web presence that can be provided to a user at no cost. Although it is available for a positive intention. But malignant people also use Tor to fulfill their needs. The Tor project has led to an optimistic approach towards censorship and surveillance-free internet.
Note: – This guide is only for knowledge purpose and shouldn’t be used for any illegal activities as we are not responsible for anything happens with this.
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