Tor browser allows surfing the web anonymously. To people, the need to use Tor can be for different reasons. Tor is the short form of The Onion Browser, and it was established for the people in the US Navy so they could browse the Internet anonymously.
Today Tor is a not for profit organization and aims to develop and research online for the privacy tools like to get safe by your college when you are going to buy dissertation online and getting it’s secure using a VPN. It helps to mask your identity by moving your traffic across Tor’s wide array of servers and encrypting that traffic, so it does not get traced back to you.
How to access it? As you are aware by now that it is a browser, so you have to download it. From that point forward whatever you do in the Tor browser travels through Tor network and you are not required to configure anything separately. Mind you; the internet surfing experience will be a lot sluggish since your data is relayed several times.
The pros of Tor
The biggest of all, the want for anonymity. For example, if you reside in a country that is riddled with dictatorship and you happen to be a journalist under the tyrannical rule of that country’s leader, Tor is your best option.
You could also be a hacker who is on the run from the government and does not wish to be found, Tor is the cure. I say this because Tor is perhaps the easiest method of becoming anonymous out there. The best bit about Tor, it’s free!
Now on to more practical aspects. Well, you can use it for the above purposes as well but I mean the cases might be slim to none, and we already know where Ed Snowden is, so the chances for someone to risk it all are highly unlikely. This article is by no means condoning the act of Snowden. We are just saying.
If you are particular that your online activities should remain hidden from advertisers, ISPs, among other websites then Tor can prove to be useful for you. You can also get past censorship restrictions in your country with Tor.
Police officers who wish to hide their IP which endanger victim’s or witness’s life that may result if their location were to get compromised, can access Tor for communicating online. And just about anyone who does not want browsing habits linked back to them. Period.
Tor’s pros are not only limited to browsing anonymously but also; it serves as a platform which can even host websites via its secret services which can only be accessed by other Tor users. Well, all of it can lead to many evils, which we will come to in a minute, but then the misuse is with everything, be it your knife at home.
The cons of Tor
Okay let me get this out of the way; Tor isn’t perfect. NSA can still track you. I apologize if I had you believe you were completely untraceable. Once NSA finds out you are Tor user, you will be targeted more. Also, don’t confuse anonymity with security. Hacking into the Tor network is difficult but hacking into Tor browser is a whole new story.
The need for HTTPS is still relevant in Tor and is advisable that it be used whenever possible. Since NSA can easily tap into your Tor browser, your data is not entirely safe. NSA guys with the help of internet service providers can see whatever goes in that browser. Hence, the advice to use HTTPS, this way your site is protected against “man-in-the-middle style” attacks.
Moreover, Tor is as good as its browser, and the browser is reported to have security flaws of its own. Therefore, always make sure that you have the latest version.
So should you use it?
See, if all you are going to do is watch cat videos and scroll your Facebook feed, you don’t have to worry about the government on your tail, but yes, Tor is going to slow down your internet speed. Furthermore, use on public Wi-Fi, or when downloading large files via a torrent client, you require security, not anonymity. Use VPN instead. For everything else.