Hackers. Scammers. Your Boss. Your enemies. The Government. Foreign Governments. The list goes on. When you want PRIVACY most, It seems like everyone is watching your every move online, and you can bet your sweet bippy, it isn’t for your benefit.
Over the past few months I have been talking quite a bit about online threats and vulnerabilities. This week, I am going to talk about a way you can go online, hide your identity, stay safe, and prevent your actions from being monitored. This week, I will show you how to take control and get some PRIVACY!
Remember these three little letters…
What is Tor? The short and sweet answer: It’s a distributed network of over 3,000 proxy servers at your disposal, designed for the sole purpose of keeping your online activities hidden and private. Quite a more detailed overview is available here.
You will frequently hear about foreign journalists using Tor to communicate more safely with whistle blowers and dissidents. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) use Tor to allow their workers to connect to their home website while they’re in a foreign country, without notifying everybody nearby that they’re working with that organization.
Now let’s talk about Tor in more technical detail (without going overboard), what makes it unique, and how you can use it.
First of all, Tor uses “Onion Routing“, which refers to the multiple layers of the encryption used. Using Tor makes it more difficult to trace Internet activity, websites will no longer be able to track the physical location of your IP or be able to track what you have been looking at online, including visits to Web sites, online posts, instant messages and other communication forms, restoring personal privacy, freedom, and ability to conduct confidential business, and keeping internet activities from being monitored.
Contributing users of a Tor network run an “onion proxy” on their machine, becoming part of the network.
Individuals utilizing the network have their original data, including its destination, encrypted and re-encrypted multiple times, and sent through a virtual circuit consisting of successive, randomly selected Tor relays.
Each relay decrypts a “layer” of the onion, stripping off a layer of encryption, to reveal only the next relay in the circuit, which will pass the remaining encrypted data on to it.
The final relay decrypts the last layer of encryption, and sends the original data, without revealing or even knowing its sender, to the destination.
This is literally making your data jump through hoops, greatly reducing the chance of the original data being understood in transit, and just as important, conceals the routing of it.
So what are you waiting for? Go download Tor now and get started. You will soon find Tor is fun, and incredibly engaging, even encouraging YOU to get involved yourself and become part of Tor by setting up your own Tor Relay or Tor Bridge.
With every great idea, there are always those that will try to use something good for nefarious reasons. You will find plenty of examples of other articles on the web that are pro or anti Tor. The best way is try it yourself and make your own decision.