TOR vs PROXY vs VPN

Choosing the best cybersecurity tool can be daunting at times. You hear about TOR, VPN, and proxies all the time. But what you want to know is that which is the best option for your security? 

Well, for your convenience, we have taken the responsibility to make these terms simpler. We’ll be comparing each of them with one another and you can decide which suits you best.

Let’s start the comparison.

Tor Browser

Tor browser is an acronym for “The Onion Router” It was designed and developed for U.S Military to ensure their privacy and anonymity. It worked by masking their IP address and encrypting their data. However, after a while, the Military decided to move to another more in-house project and stopped funding for the Tor project.

After a while, the developers started working independently and released the Tor browser for the public. Tor Browser has since been gaining popularity and now provides anonymity to over 4 million daily users. 

It works by encrypting your data into multiple layers (thus the name Onion) It then chooses 3 different servers located worldwide and relays your data through them. Each server peels off one layer and only then the next location is visible.

No server knows about the whole pattern of other servers and therefore can’t spy or track the data back to you. Therefore, it is great to use a TOR browser when you want to complete anonymity.

You can be certain of Tor Browser’s anonymity because journalists, whistleblowers, and activists from all over the world prefer the Tor browser over all other browsers. 

Pros:

  • You can visit blocked & hidden websites that are inaccessible from any other browser or network.
  • Your data is relayed through different servers located worldwide and therefore, it is almost impossible to track you.
  • The best way to save yourself from the Government, corporations, and ISP surveillance.
  • You can host websites which only TOR users can browse.
  • The prices are significantly lower compared to other cybersecurity tools.

Cons:

  • The encryption process makes TOR a bit slower.
  • It is not ideal to consume high definition media.
  • The ISPs can still know if someone is connected to the TOR network.
  • There can be many phishing scams on the dark web.

Proxy:

You may have experienced a proxy server in your office, college or somewhere else. Many companies ad schools use it to control internet usage and improve internet usability. 

A proxy can be thought of as a firewall. A barrier between you and the internet you are using. These firewalls are used to filter data, encrypt it, and change or mask your IP address so that your data isn’t traced back to you. It should also be kept in mind that proxies provide a website SSL level encryption and not more than that. 

Pros:

  • The proxy changes your IP address.
  • You can geo-spoof some websites through a proxy.
  • The encryption can make your data secure.
  • It can be used to control or limit internet usability.

Cons:

  • The encryption level is much weaker compared to other security tools such as Tor or VPN.
  • Many proxies save your passwords and other information unencrypted which can easily be hacked.
  • Some proxies don’t offer encryption at all.
  • Some proxies save your data and later sell it.

VPN:

Finally, one of the most common cybersecurity tools available in today’s world. The Virtual Private Network or VPN is also trusted like a tor browser for privacy, data safety, and identity protection. 

However, VPNs are also getting famous due to their geo-spoofing the streaming sites and providing the user access to high definition media. Although it is immoral, many users like and use functionality. 

VPNs secure your data by encrypting it and sending it through a secret tunnel rather than sending it with regular traffic. The encryption (if used properly) can make it difficult for hackers or ISPs to monitor and steal your data.

A VPN masks your IP address with a new IP address of its server and therefore, your identity is secured when connected to the VPN server. However, unlike the TOR browser, a VPN only encrypts your data a single time and not multiple times.

Pros:

  • It can mask your IP address and change it with one of its own.
  • It sends your data through a different and specified server.
  • Due to single encryption, it is somewhat faster than TOR and therefore, people can use it to stream high definition media.
  • You can choose different servers at your own will.

Cons:

  • VPNs can be ridiculously expensive.
  • They are rarely free.
  • Weaker VPNs can slow down your internet speed.
  • They can often turn off without notifying (exposing your data)
  • Many VPNs are said to spy on user data or record it and later sell it.

Conclusion:

Once you go through this article, you’ll know almost every main function about Tor, Proxy & a VPN. While each of them is a cybersecurity tool, not all of them suits everyone’s needs.

You can select one based on your needs. Do you want more security or more speed, more anonymity or more access to websites? You decide that. We have given you a comparative analysis, now we leave the rest to you.

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