Tor Browser is a free privacy browser for Windows that protects users from online surveillance and tracking. Short for ‘The Onion Router’, Tor was developed as a project to protect US intelligence but was later released as open-source software for people concerned about data privacy. It doesn’t store any information, doesn’t log user activities or IP addresses, and encrypts your traffic. The non-profit browser is also available for download on Mac OS devices.
Protect your identity with Tor Browser
Tor project is part of the privacy technologies designed to help sidestep censorship while maintaining anonymity. Popular among human rights activists, the open-source privacy browser protects user data by wrapping it in several different layers of encryption, similar to an onion, hence the name.
When you use Tor to browse the internet, your traffic is thrown around randomly through a network of servers before reaching its final destination. Owing to this misdirection, your location, identity, IP address, and online activities are all protected from prying eyes. The browser allows you to avoid surveillance and remain anonymous.
Simple and easy to use
Tor Browser looks and works like Mozilla Firefox because it is Firefox. However, Tor moves around traffic a lot more than standard web browsers, which makes it a bit slow. Regardless, the familiar interface allows for easy browsing while continuing to protect your freedom online.
While people can use the Tor Browser to surf the general web, they can also use it to visit the deep web, an internet found within the internet. The “deep web” consists of non-indexed sites with the suffix .onion, accessible only via the Tor network. Using the browser to visit the dark web is also legal, provided you don’t visit explicitly illegal websites.
Perfectly legal to download and surf
There is a popular understanding that since users can use Tor to browse the dark web, it might be illegal to download. However, that is not the case. Tor Browser is just a web browser and is very similar to other browsers like Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. The only difference is that Tor makes it extremely hard for anyone to track your browsing activity.
Using Tor becomes illegal only when used to access sites buying or selling materials legally unavailable. If you stray away from illicit websites, using Tor Browser is perfectly legal and can allow you to avoid censorship rules while protecting your location and identity. Moreover, the Tor Browser is used by human rights, environmental, and political activists around the world to avoid surveillance.
Tor Project offers security to users by bundling data into layers of encrypted packets before they enter the open-source Tor network. Encrypted data is then routed across various servers, called relays or nodes. Every time data passes through a relay, a layer of encryption gets removed until it reaches the end of the journey.
Since all relay paths are randomly generated, and each decrypted layer only reveals the last and next relay location, it’s impossible to spy on user activity. Third-party trackers can’t access your location or IP address owing to Tor’s complex network. Therefore, tracing online activity through the volunteer-run network back to you is almost impossible.
Browsing may seem slow
To protect users from surveillance, Tor Browser for Windows relays encrypted data randomly from one point to another, taking a while to reach the end node. Due to this relay, Tor Browser is not as fast as other web browsers. It’s also not recommended for downloading or online streaming.
However, if you’re looking for anonymity, you will have to overlook Tor Browser’s speed. The privacy browser stops trackers and ads from following your browsing habits, prevents others from monitoring your activity, protects your device information, and allows you to visit both unrestricted and restricted websites. The current version of the Tor Browser lets you access sites that are blocked by your primary network.
Is Tor completely secure?
Tor Browser is just as vulnerable to attacks as other browsers. Every server in the Tor network is maintained and operated by a volunteer. Since you can never know the person behind each relay, Tor can never be completely secure.
While an exit node won’t find your location or identity, it can spy on your activity. Therefore, when using Tor, you should be careful of visiting unsecured websites or using Tor Browser with plugins installed.
Is Tor a VPN?
While VPN and Tor Browser are both private browsing tools, they’re not the same. When you use the former, your data gets protected by end-to-end encryption and is a lot faster than Tor. However, some VPN providers log your browsing history, making it easier for online surveillance to take place.
Tor Browser, on the other hand, is highly-secure and protects your browsing activity from all prying eyes. Though Tor isn’t fully secure, you can increase its performance by adding a VPN. With the right settings and an additional VPN, using Tor Browser can offer excellent anonymity and privacy.
Are there any alternatives?
Offering online privacy and a chance to avoid censorship, the security of the Tor Browser is unparalleled. However, it does have its drawbacks, like its slow speed. If you’re looking for alternatives, you may want to check out Yandex Browser, Epic Privacy Browser, and Comodo Dragon.
Should I download Tor Browser?
Tor Browser is a powerful and effective tool that keeps your data secure and private. It allows Tor users to bypass censorship laws, advance freedom rights, and avoid surveillance by law enforcement officials. The popular privacy technology is free and perfectly legal to download and use. While the browser has its limitations, it does protect user privacy and maintains anonymity.
The volunteer-run project is highly-secure and offers services that allow users to take back their online freedom. Therefore, if you’re looking for a browser that stops third-party trackers from tracking your activity and using it for their purposes, you should download Tor Browser.