Tor is often associated with the dark web and illegal activities, but the reality is quite different. Tor, short for The Onion Router, is a web browser that prioritizes privacy and is run by a nonprofit organization. Just like Chrome or Firefox, you can download and use it for free to browse the internet, including online shopping and social media.
However, Tor provides additional access to unlisted websites with .onion domains, which some people refer to as the “dark web” because search engines don’t index these sites. But it’s important to note that these sites aren’t necessarily engaged in criminal activities.
Contrary to misconceptions, Tor is not just a tool for hackers; it’s as user-friendly as any other browser. The main difference is that Browser offers full anonymity by hiding your IP address and other system information. This is similar to how many people use VPNs, but there are crucial distinctions.
Exploring Tor: Debunking Misconceptions and Emphasizing its Versatile Uses
VPNs create encrypted tunnels to hide your internet traffic from one point to another. However, the VPN provider can still access and potentially share your information with authorities.
In contrast, the Browser operates on “higher layers” of the network and routes your traffic through multiple tunnels, obscuring your identity at each step. This makes it extremely difficult to trace your online activities.
Using Browser is not limited to accessing unindexed websites; it also offers secure communication. While platforms like WhatsApp provide encryption for conversations, there may still be traces of the conversation left on the device. Tor’s communication tunnels are more secure and harder to trace.
There are various use cases for Browser, such as protecting the identities of sensitive populations like undocumented immigrants, supporting workplace unionization efforts discreetly, helping victims of domestic violence find resources without being detected, or simply making private searches without being targeted by related ads.
Despite the added security, using Tor might result in some minor inconveniences like lag or longer loading times. However, it has improved over the years, and many users hardly notice any difference compared to other browsers.
Even if online privacy isn’t your primary concern, using Tor can help support those who rely heavily on it. By contributing to a larger user base, you are indirectly supporting activists, journalists, and others who value privacy.
The more people use Tor, the stronger and more secure it becomes, making it harder to identify and track individuals. So, using Tor not only protects your privacy but also helps safeguard the privacy of others.