The Onion Router is a browsing method to surf the web anonymously. As we discussed in the past article there are many ways the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can track us using our IP address. Web sites are able to use identifying information to target advertising and collect all your online data. So it’s no surprise that politicians, revolutionary, and advocates have turned to Tor for a more anonymous browsing experience. In a normal internet connection, you are directly connected to the website you are trying to visit. This website or any other prying eye can see who you are and that you are trying to access their server using your IP address. The Tor network, however, is made up of countless nodes or relay points that pass your data along using layers of encryption.
Each node that your data passes through peels off another layer of encryption. Showing the previous node’s IP address, as well as where it’s being sent. The last node that your data passes through is known as the exit node. And it removes the final layer of encryption and then delivers your data to the intended server. The point of origin is and the intermediary nodes are completely unknown. Moreover, the Tor users can utilize its hidden services to create secure, yet private websites and messengers that can only be found using the Tor browser. However, not all activities on Tor are nefarious purposes. Undisclosed internet usage can be crucial for activists who are reaching out to sources, especially who live in countries that censor or block internet usage. And even law enforcement officers who use it for undercover operations. But nothing is perfect, tracking your internet activity is not impossible even when Onion Routing. There are still ways hackers can monitor your online activities on the internet and read data from many entry and exit nodes. Especially if Tor users aren’t diligent.
So, should you use Tor to browse the internet?
Internet users are signing on to Facebook, Linked In or any social media, probably not because you are putting your identity information out there anyway, but if you are looking to score some weed and read Pro Publica, then yes, you should use Tor definitely.