TOR: Protecting Your Right for Anonymityby QA Engineer on October 15, 2015
What do you conjure up in mind when you hear Darknet? Illegal weapons, pornography, and drugs? Well, in fact, it is not only about it. There is a large part of Darknet which is legal and aims at protecting a person’s right for anonymity first of all. In countries with authoritarian governments, TOR has been a critical instrument for dissident movements. It has also proven extremely useful for whistleblowers and survivors of crime.
So what is TOR?
It was invented by US naval research laboratory to ensure secure data traffic.
Now TOR is a free of charge downloadable software that actually enables creating the websites that you can only access if you have TOR software installed on your computer. It helps you to stay anonymous while you are on the Internet. TOR prevents other people from tracking your activity back. It helps you as well to anonymously host a web server. These web sites are hosted on the TOR network and are called onion sites. In fact, they have horrible, almost illegible domain names which consist of a random set of numbers and letters and end in ‘onion’.
How does it function?
The TOR network consists of a number of secure proxy servers. In fact, it consists of more than 6 thousand relays. The data traveling within the TOR system are encrypted with the help of HTTPS protocols. TOR encrypts the data, including the destination IP address many times and sends it through randomly chosen TOR relays (proxy servers). You connect your computer to a proxy server and then from the first proxy server you go through a number of other proxy servers and then you go to the Internet. Thus TOR helps you to hide your external web address and your location.
- Within the TOR network, the data are encrypted but the data are not encrypted between you and the first proxy relay and between the exit proxy and the web server (so as soon as you are out, the traffic is not protected anymore and to ensure security you need to use VPN).
- Don’t use other browsers while using TOR or your connection won’t be protected and secure.
- TOR doesn’t protect you from security spyware your computer may get infected with in the Internet, so visit only reliable sites.
- The speed of the Internet differs between proxy servers, so the upload speed may be fluctuating.