The Tor Project : Anonymity Online

As of now, we don’t have any privacy online. It can be the government or websites we browse , keep an eye out for what we do and store that data. And in times like these what we need is a tool to protect us from the exploitation and protect our privacy.

Why should we be worried?
That is because website knows from where a person is browsing and identifies the user. Then starts profiling the user. This helps them to send targeted ads to the user in a hope that the user will buy it. This information can then be sold to others and they exploit it.The result can be unwanted mails , ads and many more.  Now there is a near to perfect solution to it. Its TOR.

Tor helps the user to stay anonymous , provided the user obeys certain browsing rules while using the tor network.

So what exactly is TOR?
The TOR project is a network of servers called the tor network run by volunteers all across the globe.  So when a user is on the tor network , and sends some request, (say a search for a particular topic) then the request is sent through the TOR network and it flows through various path and  finally comes out of some random server present in the TOR network. So the website to which the request was sent thinks it came from the server from which  the request came out of the tor network and not from the user. Hence keeping you anonymous.
How anyone could get into the TOR network –
Getting into the tor network can be done through downloading and setting up the tor bundle. Its mainly a Firefox browser that it configured and modified to connect to the tor network when you open the browser. Tor also allows user to view  blocked website because of its amazing technology.
The bundle can be found HERE.
But one should note that to stay anonymous , the user should follow the rules strictly. Some of them are the tor browser plugins are disabled.Which means most of youtube videos wont play, One cannot use torrent through TOR and also that when a file or a document is downloaded, It shouldn’t be opened before exiting the TOR  network. So read the whole set of detailed Documents from here.

I have used it and its interesting to know the way it works. What is even more amazing is that, the Tor project includes an operating  system called TAILS. Tails is actually Debian Linux operating system which is modified to help its users stay anonymous. Its designed to run off of a pendrive and helps to leave no trace of what the user was doing. This OS can downloaded here. 

So all you have to do is make  a live USB of trails and run it directly from the pendrive each time. Tor or Trails both don’t save history, so it means that all the work when done is deleted, leaving no trace. SO its advisable to store important data in permanent drives rather than on the USB stick itself.

Utilizing the tor network purely depends on the user. It can protect a user if used correctly or sacrifice the privacy if misused. I have  high interest in this project and there is lots to explore  about the TOR network and lots to know about the services it offers. More than following a standard procedure, this is about exploring things, so the more you explore, the more you use it, the more you will start liking it. Give it a try!!

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