The Onion Router, or TOR for short, is an online search engine that allows you to surf the web without being detected. One of the main selling points of the hidden platform is that it offers blanket protection to those who want to keep their internet activity anonymous.
Because of this, using the website understandable falls into a grey area. This is no small part due to the fact that TOR helps its users connect to the dark web, which is known to provide all manner of illegal services. That said, in an online world prevalent with privacy concerns and data mining, it is hard not to see the appeal of a platform like this.
The Development of TOR.
A lot of people assume that TOR was probably developed by prospective criminals. Well, you’ll be surprised to learn that the hidden platform was a joint project undertaken by the D.A.R.P.A and the US Naval Research Laboratory back in the 90s. Interestingly enough, it gets its name ‘the Onion Router,’ from the multiple layers of protection it offers its users.
We should also point out that the US Government mostly funded this platform during its inception. At a certain point, it even received additional funding from the National Science Foundation. Presently, the hidden platform relies on funding from its users. There is a page set up where users can donate money to keep the platform running.
How does TOR work?
TOR does not work like any other software available. To start with, it takes more than just installing the software on your computer before you can use it. You additionally have to produce a support code, which is required to get started. Fortunately, finding this code is simple enough. Installation is available for operating systems like Linux, Windows, and Mac.
One thing the user guide recommends having is a drive with more than 80mb space available. Some tech experts who have used the platform suggest that the platform is very similar to the latest version of the Mozilla Firefox browser.
Another thing that TOR will want to know before you start browsing is the type of connection which your computer relies on. If you use a censored link, then you are advised to set your configuration one way. However, if your connection is not already protected, then you can connect everything directly to TOR.
Several people have come to the conclusion that the hidden platform is the best way to keep your browsing secure. After you have finished installing the browser, TOR lets you surf the web undetected. How does this work exactly? Well, to understand this, you must first get a basic concept of onion routing. There are several people who offer their computers as nodes.
When you are browsing the computer in general, the information that springs from this activity usually cruises around the web in packets. However, once you install TOR, these packets will not stay on the traditional trajectory.
Instead, they will bounce around the aforementioned nodes. TOR also wraps its users’ packets in several layers, much like an infuriating Russian nesting doll, or an onion, from which, as we mentioned, it derives its name from.
The Benefits of Using TOR.
The evolution of free-flowing information has helped open the world up like never before. All it takes is a steady internet connection, and you’ll have all the information you could ever want. However, the free flow of information also has it negative aspects.
For one, privacy has become such a prevalent issue. Internet users are susceptible to hacking, identity theft, and even getting their bank or card details stolen, which can lead to them losing a considerable amount of money. Certain institutions, like the government, are also able to track everything you do without your knowledge.
While those who observe the law have nothing to worry about, this type of monitoring still feels like a gross violation of privacy. And the government is not the only organization that can monitor your online footprint. Corporate companies have also taken it upon themselves to do so, and thus bombard you with a plethora of ads in the process.
This can make browsing the web tedious most of the times. Trying to resolve some of these issues is where TOR thrives as a platform. They offer services like:
- Guarding its users against trackers- this hidden platform shields you from third-party trackers that are set up to monitor your webpage. The software singles out every site you visit clears your cookies immediately when you are done, and automatically deletes your browser history. This means that various companies and organizations that try to follow your digital footprints can no longer do so.
- Distort Fingerprinting- Another unique service that the platform offers is to ensure that its users are not monitored long enough for patterns to be determined. All the users who have the software look virtually the same and, as such, cannot be profiled.
- Free Browsing- Some websites often limit access depending on one’s location. Those who have installed TOR however, do not experience this problem. The platform facilitates relatively free browsing on all fronts. You can access any site you want from the comfort of your own home, regardless of your current location.
- Protection from Surveillance- Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of installing TOR is that you’ll be protected against unlawful surveillance. Hackers will no longer be able to track what you are doing online. The platform offers an extraordinary range of protection that is a deterrent to anyone trying to monitor your online activity.
TOR and the Dark Web.
As we have demonstrated, this hidden platform has proven to be very useful. However, we would be amiss not to point out that TOR also offers its users access to the dark web. This is a platform where you can find all manner of services on offer: the sale of drugs and other illegal contraband, hiring contract killers, child pornography, and all manner of demented videos. As such, anyone who uses TOR is automatically flagged under the government’s radar.