Tor is a free network which gives you total anonymity while browsing the Internet. Using this network, you can search and access normal and dark websites anonymously i.e. by hiding your digital identity. By hiding your digital information like network name, I.P Address, location etc you can access blocked websites, you can access geolocation based websites etc. Tor network prevents others like Ad vendors to track your search history and your location.
Tor network is different from VPN because a VPN provider sets up a server remotely and allows you to use it to relay your HTTP requests via it, hence masking your identity and location. But as per the rules, the VPN provider logs your IP address of every user using it. Tor is completely different because Tor passes your requests through at least three different servers called as nodes before sending it to the actual destination.
As we mentioned above, the Tor network passes traffic through a number of randomly selected servers(nodes), this process is called the Onion routing. In the process of Onion routing, the traffic is repeatedly encrypted and sent through different nodes called onion routers. Here the term "Onion" refers to peeling of the networks, each onion router removes a layer of encryption to uncover the destination routing instructions and then send the request to the next router. This Onion routing hides the source and destination addresses and protects the anonymity of a user.
When the Tor client starts it obtains a list of tor nodes from a directory server, then when the user wants to visit any URL, the tor client picks a random path to the destination server, later if the user visits another website, the tor client will select some other random path.
In the picture above, you can see the total overview of the Tor network. The user is connected through the different IP address of different location with some relay nodes, and at-last the request reaches its destination (onion) URL.
The installation of Tor is very easy. Tor is available for Windows, OSX, Linux/Unix and Android.
You can download Tor Browser for Windows from here. Run the package and the installation takes place in your chosen directory. Once installed, open Start Tor Browser.exe file, it will open the connection window and will start establishing a connection. Once connected, Tor client will start a light-weight firefox browser which is integrated with Tor network.
First, add the below PPA repository to your Linux machine:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/tor-browser
Then run the below command to update your Linux installation:
sudo apt-get update
Now, use the below code to install the tor browser:
sudo apt-get install tor-browser
(Note: Tor in Linux is accessible only by other users and not via ROOT user)
You can install Tor Browser to access Tor network directly from the Google playstore. The app is named as "Orbot"
Below we have listed a few advantages and disadvantages of using the Tor Network, so choose wisely, whether you want to use it or not.
In the next article, we will try to cover more about the dark web and completely anonymizing your machine.
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