“One single vulnerability is all an attacker needs”

—Window Snyder,

Top Cybersecurity Expert

Do you use the TOR browser? Or have you heard or read about it somewhere or from some friends? Maybe you have. After all, over 4 million people are using it already.

Tor Browser has gained much reputation in recent years. Some of the reputations are bad, while a major portion of it is positive. 

When one thinks about Tor, two sets of thoughts can appear in one’s mind:

  1. Ah, it is the browser to safely surf the internet without worrying about cyber attacks and privacy.
  2. Oh, it is the browser to access the underworld (dark web) of the internet.

The dark world of internet

Now out of 4 million, a few thousands of users are those who’re interested in accessing the deep web & unveiling the secrets that are hidden for good. Many of these users end up getting their accounts hacked or become a victim of some phishing scheme as the deep web is somewhat full of scammers & cyber attackers.

Those who are concerned

But the rest of these 4 million users are those who are concerned about their privacy. People who want to mind their own business and don’t like it when others meddle in their affairs. 

These users are tired of their data being used against them. Marketers, advertisers & other corporations that buy their data from search engines, websites & ISPs, and later use it to target & direct aggressive advertisements toward these benign users.

The Tor browser can help both types of users. It can save you from scammers, marketers, and corporations and at the same time, it can also save you from attackers by protecting your data from being hacked.

But to use Tor, you might want to understand what Tor is right? Let’s discuss the browser known as a pioneer of anonymity & privacy.

What is Tor?

Onion Browser (known as Tor) came into existence when US Military (Navy to be more specific) required a browser to protect their IP address to secure their sensitive data from getting stolen. However, after a while, an alternative (in-house) cybersecurity system was adopted & later in 2002, the Tor browser became publicly available.

Why is it known as Onion?

Tor Browser as originally known as Onion Browser is given the name due to its multi-layered encryption levels. While a regular browser (or a VPN) usually encrypts your data once and sends it through one server, a Tor browser, on the other hand, encrypts your data multiple times and sends it through three different servers. 

Fun Fact: No two nodes (servers) know the identity of each other (in most cases)

These servers are not distinct proxies, but the network of other users like you that voluntarily become a node (server) Your IP address is masked through a flooding method where your data (at every single moment of online browsing) is protected by using multiple requests from thousands of other users. This way, your data can’t be identified or traced back to you.

How is the data decrypted?

When you connect to a Tor browser and browse your internet through it, your data is encrypted into 3 layers of high-grade encryption. When it reaches the first node, the first layer is decrypted & the data is to the next node. 

At the next node, another layer is decrypted & after the third node, it is then transferred to the website’s server you want to access. This way, no one can know who you are and from where you are accessing the website. 

Fun Fact: These servers are located worldwide and no two servers are selected from the same region.

However, it should be kept in mind that the data can be a bit unsafe when leaving the third node and entering the website’s server. But still, compared to other security solutions, a Tor browser is almost 60% more efficient in keeping your data anonymous & private.

Who uses the Tor browser?

As we have specified the types who use the Tor browser, let’s discuss it in detail.

Circumvent Restrictions imposed by Governments

Well, not to sound political, but there are regions worldwide where Governments are over-possessive about their ideas and tonality. Let’s take China for example.

China has an internet firewall nationwide. If you’re Chinese, high chances are: you won’t be able to speak freely on the internet or browse western internet or visit many websites that are a favorite worldwide. Chinese Government is very strict when it comes to expressing views online. If your views collide with the Government in any way, you might be prosecuted for that.

Whistle-Blowers

Yes, you heard it right. Whistleblowers are people who leak information that is in the public’s favor. Now being a whistleblower is a highly dangerous job. You’ll be making lots of enemies. The more dangerous your nature of the job is, the more you’ll need online protection and anonymity (especially) 

Tor Browser can give you that level of protection & anonymity. Even if you aren’t planning on whistleblowing, imagine what Tor browser can do for your protection in everyday use.

Access restricted content

This is most favorite among knowledge lovers. People who want to consume knowledge from every source available. Well, often it isn’t possible due to restrictions on many websites. Let’s say, you need to read some articles on Google scholarly but you can’t access it because it isn’t available in your region. What’ll you do?

Well, you can use the Tor browser and it’ll give you access to the blocked & restricted websites. It’ll give you access to most of the blocked websites. 

Conclusion

To be honest, Tor Browser seems to be a perfect solution for anyone who is looking for online privacy, anonymity & freedom. It doesn’t cost you much, leaves no traces of you online, gives you access to restricted websites. Yes, it might not prove to be too fast (due to all the encryption) but it is fast enough to let you handle your everyday activities.

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