Safe and Anonymous on the Internet and Darknet!

Safe and Anonymous on the Internet and Darknet!

The open-source TOR Browser (The Onion Router) allows secure and anonymous use of the Internet. The open source web browser is based on Mozilla Firefox and comes with an additional selection of extensions that are automatically active after unpacking.

Safe and Anonymous on the Internet and Darknet

When using TOR Browser, there is of course no one hundred percent protection. Although the traffic is routed through the TOR network and thus blurred, there is certainly the possibility to trace the data by monitoring the TOR relays.

Although this is much more difficult than with conventional browsers, it is technically possible. TOR also does not protect against malware such as Trojans and ransomware. Anyone who authenticates themselves on websites is traceable via this route, regardless of the encrypted route via the TOR network.

Components in the TOR browser

The version of Firefox in TOR is Firefox ESR (Extended Support Release). This version is slower to receive the new features that the standard version of Firefox receives, but is supported longer with security updates. Especially companies rely on this variant. Firefox ESR can of course also be downloaded and used without TOR, but in this case, it does not have the protection of the TOR network.

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With the “HTTPS Everywhere” extension, TOR Browser ensures that HTTPS is always used for connections to websites, even if a user only specifies HTTP. This extension is also available for traditional installations of Firefox. However, these are not protected by the TOR network.

Also included is the Firefox extension “NoScript”. This well-known extension blocks scripts from websites running on the PC and the browser. Of course, users can allow individual scripts or whitelist websites.

Getting started with TOR Browser

The browser isolates each website and thus blocks trackers and advertisements reliably. When TOR Browser is closed, cookies and browsing history are deleted. When the TOR browser is started, the anonymous search engine DuckDuckGo opens automatically.

The focus of TOR is to maximize user security and ensure that users cannot be tracked on the Internet. For this purpose, all data traffic is forwarded and encrypted up to three relays. The entire network consists of thousands of TOR relays. As soon as the actual web page is opened in the TOR browser, TOR decrypts the connection again so that the web pages can be used. The traffic within TOR thus always remains encrypted at most until the end of the chain.

When connecting, the TOR browser does not always use the same nodes but decides randomly which nodes to use for the connection. The last node that TOR Browser uses is the exit node. Here the traffic to the respective Internet page is decrypted.

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This approach blurs a user’s traffic on the Internet, making it effectively untraceable.

Using TOR Browser in macOS

In addition to Windows and Linux, TOR Browser is also available for macOS. Tor Browser is downloaded as a DMG file directly from the TOR project website, not from the App Store in macOS. After deploying the image, the browser is installed by dragging the Tor Browser icon onto the Applications folder. The browser requires about 200 MB of disk space.

Using the browser is simple. At startup, it is still necessary to confirm that macOS is allowed to open the file. When TOR Browser is started, a connection to the TOR network must first be established with “Connect”. If the computer is behind a proxy server, the proxy server can be defined with “Configure” and “I use a proxy to connect to the internet”. These settings can also be changed later. Here it is also possible to specify the proxy server, as well as the ports used and the login data.

Basically, it is sufficient in almost all cases to simply open the browser. A configuration is not necessary in most cases. After the successful connection to the TOR network, the browser opens and the Internet connection can be used just as conveniently as with a conventional browser. To check whether the connection to the TOR network is working and which IP address is being used, the website check.torproject.com is available. Here it is also easy to compare whether the current IP address differs from the actual IP address of the computer on the Internet.

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The browser settings are most quickly accessed by typing “about:preferences”. The TOR settings in the TOR browser are available via “about:preferences#tor”. In most cases, no adjustments need to be made here. The settings are often used to use TOR in countries where the TOR network is blocked. This option is also available via “Configure” when starting TOR.

Reset TOR browser sessions

If the current connection data is to be reset and all data deleted, the browser reset icon is available in the top right corner of TOR. When restarted, the browser will delete all cookies and browsing history. It will also establish a new connection to the TOR network.

Using the Darknet with the TOR browser

To connect to the darknet, at least one *.onion address is required. Such entry sites are for example http://torlinkbgs6aabns.onion or http://zqktlwi4fecvo6ri.onion. The page http://shopsat2dotfotbs.onion/ can be used to create your own stores on the darknet.