The TOR browser was designed to help protect your identity, and is an easy, free, and legal way to browse the internet anonymously when used for the right purposes.
What is TOR?
The TOR browser was created to help protect identity by taking a single communication and distributing it through different networks at random intervals throughout the world. Using the browser prevents people from illegally accessing or watching your activity while on the internet. It also keeps websites from obtaining information about you and knowing where you are physically located.
How to Make TOR Work
The makers of TOR suggest that to really make the browser work correctly, you need to change or rethink some of your browsing habits. TOR safeguards applications that are completely configured and installed correctly. In the same, browser plugins actually fight against TOR and share your information regardless of if the browser is running or not.
What to Do with TOR
By using HTTPS versions of your favorite websites, TOR will be able to work better. The browser comes with a special function called, HTTPS Everywhere, which forces all websites to immediately default to HTTPS. When the browser detects that a website is not in the correct format, it will display the URL in either blue or green so that you can make the necessary changes.
What Not to Do with TOR
Makers suggest that you avoid opening any documents which are either downloaded from a site or handled by that site. You should especially avoid downloading those documents that come from any external applications. This is because the host sites often put a code that, once the document has been opened, links your information back to you while sharing it in the process. You should also avoid using any type of torrent while operating the TOR browser. These file-sharing applications are known to immediately link your information back to the host site regardless of security measures that are in place. Creators of TOR warn that you should deanonymize any type of traffic related to torrent.
Avoid, at all costs, sending any sort of unencrypted data while using the TOR browser. Unencrypted data makes your information easy to find as well as your IP address. Sending the same with TOR makes you vulnerable and puts you at risk of having your information not only compromised but potentially stolen.
Ensuring the Browser is Working
If you are unsure that your TOR is working, there is a quick test you can do. By going to sites that can detect your IP address, you can easily see if it shows up as your own IP address or as a TOR. This will ensure that your TOR browser is working.
Avoiding Using Accounts Associate with Your Real Identity
The TOR browser should not be used to operate personal accounts such as Twitter, email, Facebook, and especially anything associated with banking or finances. Although TOR will move your activity from network to network, personal accounts will keep your information. In doing so, they will automatically link your IP address and risk undoing what you are attempting with the browser.
Similarly, using websites that require personal information will keep the system from working as well. When you post any type of personal information online, it automatically links your identity with whichever IP address you are using, regardless of if that is TOR or something other.
Is TOR Legal ?
There is a large discussion about whether or not TOR is legal, especially in the United States. The short answer is both “yes,” and “no.” The system itself is not illegal. Neither is downloading and using the browser for everyday use in legal activities. The last two words are key. When TOR is used for illegal activity of any kind, it is illegal.
Getting started with TOR is easy, but understanding how to maintain the browser and operating it legally is another matter.
TOR can be an excellent tool for protecting privacy and identity. Used incorrectly, it can be dangerous and leave you either more vulnerable than before or put you in a position where you could potentially be held under legal action.