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What is TOR Browser and How to Use it? A Detailed Guide

08 Oct 2022 By : Somesh Gaur
Southeast Asia’s Lar


Key Takeaways

  • TOR Project was started in 2006 by Roger Dingledine to create a global anonymous computer network

  • TOR browser is open-source software that wraps up the user network in multiple encryption layers followed by a rerouting of the request through volunteer-run servers spread across the world.

  • TOR Project has been the parent organization for Metrics Portal, Nyx, Onionoo, OnionShare, Orbot, etc.

  • TOR is available for Windows, Linux, and Android and one can simply download the browser from its official website

Today cryptocurrencies are everywhere but there was a time when blockchain technology searched for a ground. At a time when Bitcoin was struggling to be accepted as an asset class, there was a place on the internet where it became an instant hit. This place was none other than the dark net which became a breeding ground for initial crypto adoption.

Most of the dark net websites started accepting Bitcoin and other cryptos, enabling them to achieve their true value. In this journey of Bitcoin on the dark web, a lot of things had changed over a decade but one thing that stayed the same is TOR Project. TOR had remained true to its principles and become the epitome of online browsing privacy.

In this Coin Gabbar article, we are going to know about the TOR Project, how it functions, and what things you should keep in mind before using any of its services.

What is TOR Project?

TOR Project was started in 2006 by Roger Dingledine, Nick Mathewson, and their team to create a global anonymous computer network. TOR project was initially funded by the Electronic Frontier Foundation but more contributors such as the US government, Google, and Human Rights Watch came forward.

TOR Project is known for its TOR browser which is used by users from all over the world to safeguard their privacy. TOR Project has been the parent organization for many other privacy-oriented tools. Some of those tools include Metrics Portal, Nyx, Onionoo, Onionshare, Orbot, etc. TOR Projects aims to diminish the network traffic analysis and constant digital surveillance by the state to enable truly free internet.

Why TOR Browser is Used?

We all know that cryptocurrencies found their first use cases on the streets of dark net trade and most probably in illegal ones. However, this validated their transactional value on the internet and gave them the reputation of digital currencies. The dark net become the backbone of cryptocurrencies and gave them the identity that they needed to prosper. However, the dark net can only be accessed using a specified browser named the TOR browser. 

  • TOR browser is open-source software that wraps up the user network in multiple encryption layers followed by a rerouting of the request through volunteer-run servers spread across the world. 

  • The routing layers mask the original IP of the users in multiple layers like an onion and decrypt them one by one as the request reaches the destination website. As a matter of fact, the word TOR is nothing but the abbreviation of ‘The Onion Router’ and derives its name from the masking technology used in the browser.

  • The target website of the user does not see its original IP but the IP of the exit node, making it impossible for the websites or any third party to monitor or restrict your browsing experience. TOR browse is multiple times safer than a regular VPN as it channels your requests through at least three servers while also adding multiple encryption layers.

How to Use TOR Browser?

Using TOR Browser to access the surface web is as easy as installing and setting up the Firefox browser on your computer. But using TOR to access the dark net can lead to contextual complications. TOR is available for Windows, Linux, and Android and one can simply download the browser from its official website.

Here are some easy steps which you can follow to start using the TOR browser without compromising your privacy.

  1. Download and Install the TOR browser from its official website. Make sure that you are using either Windows, Linux, Mac, or Android.

  2. Once the installation is done, open the TOR browser and let it establish a connection with a remote network. This step might take some time so be patient while TOR does the job for you.

  3. Once TOR establishes a connection, you can start using it to access either the main net or .oninon links

Advantages of Using TOR Browser

TOR is a powerful tool that can be utilized to its full potential once you understand its functioning. Here are some of the major advantages of TOR that you can use to safeguard your privacy. 

  • Tor browser is an open-source project which means that its code is available in the public domain. This code can be read, inspected, and used by anyone without facing any backlash from its creators. This also ensures better security altogether as its code can be scrutinized by anyone in the world. 

  • All of the dark net websites have an onion domain and thus cannot be accessed using any other browser. TOR allows you to browse onion domains and access the dark net.

  • TOR was made to mask the original IP of the user and it does its job flawlessly. No one will ever be able to track back your IP if you are following the right methods to access the dark net using the TOR browser.

  • TOR is easy to use and does not require any technical knowledge to get started with it. It is user-friendly, safe, and private but a major downside for TOR is its turtle-slow bandwidth speeds.

  • TOR is free to access for all and can be used by anyone of any age without any restrictions. However, we strongly suggest knowing about the drawbacks of accessing the dark net before starting to use TOR for onion links.

Things to Keep in Mind While Using TOR

Here are some of the things which you need to know before you start exploring the TOR browser. Please read these instructions carefully as they can safeguard you against the most common threats out there on the dark net.

  • TOR masks your IP address and changes it frequently to ensure that you are getting tracked by any of the websites that you are visiting. To add an additional layer of protection to this privacy measure, you can use a VPN. 

  • When you are surfing the dark net on your own, do not click any random links, ads, and videos unless you are sure about the credibility of the website. 

  • Use trusted links from trusted sources. Do not visit any random links on the dark net just because you found them in a shady Reddit thread. Use trusted HiddenWikis and other resources to access dark net websites.

  • Use private search engines such as DuckDuckGo to ensure that you are not being traced back with your IP. 

Conclusion

The TOR project and the TOR browser were initiated to ensure free and open internet around the globe. TOR not only empowers free speech but also enables activists to communicate with their counterparts without being monitored. 

But the extreme privacy of the TOR browser also makes it an ideal tool for conducting unwarranted and illegal activities. TOR browser is often associated with drug trafficking, terrorist forums, hate speech, and other extremely heinous crimes. 

However, these drawbacks are the outcome of a failed international consensus on crime and should not be blamed on a TOR which is designed to maintain the privacy of the user. TOR is a tool that must be used with caution and a productive intent and we at CoinGabbar strongly condemn all the misuse of this project with a noble cause.

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