Nobody likes to be spied on, especially on the internet. I will introduce you to the Tor Browser (The Onion Routing Network), which bounces your communications around a distributed network of relays, run by volunteers all around the world thus hiding your physical location. You can even access sites that are blocked in your country. (and also access the Dark Web, but that is a topic to be discussed on another blog entry)

Tor Browser is basically a specially configured Firefox Browser and can be downloaded here. It works by installing on your computer (it only copies a few files to your desktop, nothing else) but it also can run through a live-cd and USB stick as well. So you can carry it around with you wherever you go.

What it does:

  • Hides your physical location
  • Lets you access sites blocked by your ISP / Country
  • Protects you against traffic analysis (what sites you visit)

What it does not:

  • You final connection is not encrypted, you should try to use https:// (secure) versions of websites.
  • The fact that you are using Tor browser cannot be hidden, but what sites you visit cannot be seen.
  • Does not let you browse the internet with full speed, it will work slower than what your connection can handle, as it bounces from one volunteer’s computer to another.

Be Careful:

  • Installing Tor Browser does not help other software on your computer to be anonymous. You must only use the Tor Browser itself.
  • Do not use torrent with Tor, your IP will be revealed and you will also slow down the entire Tor network.
  • Do not enable or install browser plugins; these may reveal your IP address.
  • Use https version of websites whenever you can. (your final connection, from the last volunteer computer relay to the site you are connecting to is not encrypted)
  • Do not open documents downloaded through Tor; these may reveal your IP address. (especially .doc and .pdf files)
  • Tor Browser provides you anonymity, but the fact that you are using Tor cannot be hidden. If this is very important to you, use a Tor Bridge Relay.
  • Always try to use the latest version of Tor Browser as earlier versions of Firefox had serious flaws.

Let’s get started.

1. Download Tor Browser here.

TOR Browser - tor-1

2. Run the setup file you just downloaded. It will only extract the files to your desktop, no other locations are used.

TOR Browser - tor-2

3. Run the Tor Browser.

TOR Browser - tor-3

4. Choose Connect as seen below.

TOR Browser - tor-4

5. If all goes well, you should see the screen below.

TOR Browser - tor-5

6. Just to make sure, click on “Test Tor Network Settings”.

TOR Browser - tor-6

7. See your new IP, which is definitely not you 😉 

TOR Browser - tor-7

And you are ready to go. Please do not use this information to do evil, as the world already has more than enough.

Please use the comments section below if you like this article and/or need to know more. Good luck.