We live in an age where data flows freely. Any person with internet access has nearly all the information of the world within the reach of a click. With the explosive expansion of the web, the ability to share knowledge has also complicated the problems of identity. If the browsers business more known, even with the latest and best in security and privacy, are not sufficient, you need another option to more drastic. And for that you need to know what it is and how to use Tor.
Many are justifiably concerned about the theft or the display of your information personal, including bank records, credit card information, the browser and the history of logon. Not only the government agencies can track the online movements of a person, but also corporations, which have become more bold in using that information to target users with ads.
The user license agreements, applications for mobile phones, assistants for the smart home, and many free programs have clauses that allow the companies to register and sell data about your shopping preferences, browsing habits and other information. As the saying goes: “The fact that you are paranoid does not mean that someone is not going to catch you”.
It should be noted that Tor can be used to access illegal content on the “dark web” and Digital Trends in Spanish does not endorse or encourage this behavior.
Why the internet is not as safe as you think?
In this climate of data collection and privacy concerns, the Tor browser has become a topic of discussion and notoriety. Like many phenomena underground of the internet, is little understood and is wrapped in the type of mysticism in technology that people often attribute to things like hacking.
Tor (TI onion router, for its acronym in English), is a software that allows users to browse the web anonymously. Initially developed by the Naval Research Laboratory in the 1990s, the routers onions get their name from the layering technique similar to this bulb, which hides information about the activity and the location of the user.
Perhaps, ironically, the organization received most of its funding from the branches of the government of the united States for years, they still look to Tor as a tool to promote democracy in authoritarian states.
To understand how can Tor protect the identity of a user while browsing the internet, we need to analyze its origins. In its most basic form, is a series of connections between computers over large distances. In the beginning, PCS were isolated and could not communicate between them. As technology progressed, engineers were able to link them physically, creating the first networks.
These networks still require that the computers were relatively close to one another, but advances in fiber optic systems allowed to connect in all the continents, allowing the internet came into being. With the invention of wifi, satellite internet access points and laptops, is now more accessible than ever and also more vulnerable.
Some computers keep the data stored on the internet, including sites such as Google, which are known as servers. A device used to access this information, such as a cell phone or tablet, is known as a client. The transmission lines that connect the clients with the servers come in a variety of ways, be it fiber optic cables or wifi, but they are all connections.
Although the clients initiate connections to obtain information from the servers, the flow goes in both directions. The data exchanged over the internet come in packages that contain information about the sender and the destination. The people and specific organizations can use these data to control who carries out illegal activities, or access to data illegal on the internet, including law enforcement agencies, your internet service provider and their social networks.
It is not only the server can see this data. The analysis of web traffic is big business, and many organizations, both private and government, can monitor the messages that flow between clients and servers. Even a wifi network in a café or a point of access to the airport without pretensions could be a cybercriminal with the hope of gaining access to your data and sell them to the highest bidder.
How Tor has the answer for secure browsing
There are two critical aspects of onion routing used by Tor. First, the Tor network is composed of volunteers who use their computers as nodes. During normal browsing, the information travels across the internet in packets. However, when a user of Tor to visit a website, their packages do not move directly to that server. Tor creates a path through nodes randomly assigned to the package will continue before reaching the server.
The other fundamental aspect of onion routing is the way in which you built the packages. In general, include the address of the sender and the destination, such as postal mail. When using Tor, the packages are wrapped in successive layers like a doll of nesting.
When the user submits the package, the top layer tells you to go To the router, the first stop of the circuit. When you are there, take off the first layer. The following indicates which to send the packet to router B. The router does not know the final destination, only that the package came from the user and went to B. router B takes off the next layer, passing through the line to router C, and this process continues until the message reaches its destination.
At each stop, the node only knows the last place where was the package and the next place where it will be. No node records the full path of data, and neither does anyone else who observes the message, assuming that your first three servers are configured correctly.
How to get Tor
In accordance with the ideological goals of the Tor Project, it’s free to use. Simply download and install the browser, which is a modified version of Firefox and is available for Windows, macOS and Linux. For mobile browsing, there is an app for Android called Orbot.
The users should keep in mind that while the Tor browser is pre-configured to work correctly, users in networks with firewalls or other security systems may experience difficulties. In addition, to be careless browsing can compromise the anonymity.
The web site Tor has an entire list of things you should avoid doing while using the browser, as well as solutions for any problem that arises.
What is the deep web and how Tor’s hidden services allow you to track the package?
Tor is valuable as a tool to protect the privacy of the user, but is not its only function. The other use of —infamous— for Tor is like a gateway to the dark web, the vast portion of the web that is not indexed by the search engines.
You may have heard the term dark web in popular discourse, often in tones reserved for men of bag and, usually, by people who do not have a lot of knowledge first-hand.
There are certainly valid reasons for this, but a large part of the dark web is relatively mundane. Includes all of the data that cannot be accessed through a conventional search in the browser, you may be surprised to know that it is a lot.
Traversing the internet is no different to explore the ocean. As the surface of the oceans of the world, the internet is mapped and is easily accessible through the Google search. We know more about the surface of the moon than the depths of our oceans, whose secrets undiscovered will be found beneath the surface and maneuver on the depths without light.
The greater part of the internet (around 80 percent) is made up of pages with unknown and which is not accessed by the majority of the people, locked and hidden behind passwords and protocols.
Tor allows web pages, such as customers, protect your anonymity, setting up a server for them to connect with customers in a relay Tor in the middle. The server does not need to provide the IP address and the user neither requires, but that uses an address of an onion, a code of 16 characters that the customers enter in place of a URL traditional.
The pages hidden in the Tor network comprise one of the dark networks most famous, are those that can only be accessed through specific protocols. A phrase such as darknet conjures up images of shady business and not without reason. Some of the hidden places trafficked goods and illegal services, such as the Silk road, a popular dark red of the black market closed down by the FBI in 2013.
Who uses Tor and why?
The anonymity is the bread of each day of Tor, and as such, it’s probably impossible to get an accurate view of your user base. However, specific trends are evident, and some defenders of Tor are especially expressive about their reasons for using the service.
Tor has become popular among journalists and activists in countries that impose internet restrictions and the expression of its citizens. Countries like China are known to censor the access of their citizens to the web and Tor provides a way to avoid this control. For the complainants, Tor offers a sure-fire way to leak information to journalists.
You may not know it, but when Edward Snowden disclosed information about the program PRISM of the NSA to the news organizations, it did so through Tor. However, it is not necessary to be an activist, a freedom fighter or a criminal in order to appreciate the Tor. Many scholars and ordinary citizens support Tor as a tool to maintain the privacy and freedom of expression in the digital age.
Despite the good intentions of the original project, Tor has developed a bad reputation in the press is conventional, with some reason. In the same way that big cities can attract a weak point sordid, the growth of Tor and the coverage it provides have created a refuge for people and unpleasant activities.
When you have a browser privacy free that can easily be distributed and provides users with support and community forums, it is not surprising that some of those communities are formed around issues of a bad reputation.
To be fair, that Tor allows such communities to grow is worrisome. However, it is essential to keep in mind that the criminal activity on Tor is a consequence of the commitment of the project with the freedom of expression and not a goal.As with many things that are both advantageous and dangerous, the use of Tor is not inherently good or bad, but rather how you choose to implement it.
What are the limitations, risks, and the overall security of Tor?
While Tor is useful for navigating the web anonymously, is not exempt of problems. Naturally, this has attracted the attention of government organizations, such as the NSA and the FBI, who consider Tor a target of particular interest.
While the Tor network is secure from the traffic analysis, Tor is a modified version of Firefox, and vulnerable to attacks and exploits as any other browser. The infect someone’s computer with malware, governments and hackers can trace the activities of the browser, record keystrokes, monitor web cams and surveillance videos, and even access and remotely control the devices connected to the internet.
The simple fact of using Tor can become an attractive target for the government, even if you only use it for legal purposes. Leaked documents from the NSA have revealed that mainly focus on the “users are stupid”, also known as Tor users with little knowledge of internet security that the NSA can use to gain support points on the Tor network.
Given access to enough nodes, the NSA (or anyone else) could easily observe the packets that travel and eliminate the layers and reconstruct the route traveled by the data.
There is No way to be completely safe on the internet, and Tor does not change this. To take reasonable precautions, it is possible to minimize the risks of surfing with Tor, how to use the web site TorCheck to verify your connection to Tor is safe. Also, you can incorporate a virtual private network or VPN to provide additional security for your activities digital.
However, Tor can do nothing to protect the data that you enter on a form, and users will need separate programs that work with your protocols and applications to delete your data. As such, there is an extensive Wiki community applications and software, “Torificantes” to achieve exactly that.
Users should disable scripts and plug-ins such as Adobe Flash, which can operate regardless of the browser settings, and even transmit user data.
Torrenting, a process of exchange of files , in which several people download different parts of a file, sharing the bits that have already downloaded until the completion of the data, it is also something that should be avoided when using Tor. Programs Torrent transmit your IP address so that peers can connect and share data, which entirely defeats the point of routing onion.
Finally, any person who explore the hidden services of Tor should be careful with the place where they click. While many pages are socially acceptable or at least legal, as the sites for whistleblowers or exchanges of Bitcoin, others are havens for the behavior disturbing, even criminal.
The coverage of darkness to help the rebels as monsters, and even stumble naively with a web page with illegal content could lead to legal problems.
To quote someone with their own reputation famous, and controversial, “he who fights with monsters must take care not to become a monster, and if you look for a long time, an abyss, the abyss also gazes back into you.”
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