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How to browse anonymously on the Internet with Tor Browser

23 mayo, 2021

The latest massive espionage scandal by a US intelligence agency has once again exposed how vulnerable our personal data is on the web. If after this type of news you have thought about trying to browse the Internet in a more anonymous way, today we are going to show you how you can do it with Tor Browser.

This browser is mainly known for allowing you to access the TOR darknet, one of the most used on the Dark Web. But it is also a browser that allows you to access the pages of the surface web, the conventional Internet, minimizing the risk that cookies and many other elements can track you.

How Tor Works

In essence, Tor Browser is a version of Firefox that comes with the Tor service preconfigured so that you don’t need technical knowledge to use it. Also disable uploading of items that can track you such as Flash, ActiveX, QuickTime or JavaScript, although the latter is enabled by default. The Tor network routing takes us through three random servers to your landing page so you can’t tell where you’re browsing from.

To make the protection of your identity more effective, only store cookies during a session until you close it or request a new identity. In this way, when you reconnect or change your identity, the pages you saw in the previous session will not be able to be related to the current one. It also does not keep any browsing history.

The complex routing system, which we explained to you better in its day, allows that if our message is intercepted, it is not possible to know where they come from and where they are going, only which is the next node to which they are going. But you have to keep in mind that when you go from the Tor network to the clearnet, the last jump our packet will do it without being encrypted, so your information is vulnerable.

This means that preserving more or less your privacy on the clearnet it depends mainly on your way of browsing. If you access your social networks through Tor or use your email, your connection can be related to your name. This is where a series of tips from Tor come into play to help you better maintain your privacy when using your browser.

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Maximizing your privacy

Genbeta Tor

To get Tor to help you navigate as anonymously as possible you have to change a series of habits when sailing. The first is not to use another browser when you do not want anyone to know where you are connected from, since there is no use hiding yourself with one if at the same time you are using another that allows you to be tracked.

It is also not advisable to have any torrent active when you’re browsing with Tor, as these types of sharing apps are known to ignore proxies and make direct connections even when you tell them not to. Therefore, if you use a torrent when you are browsing with Tor Browser, you will be sending your IP address.

You have to avoid installing plugins and addons in Tor Browser, you should not open documents that you have downloaded from the browser while you are still connected to Tor, and you must ensure that you only access pages that have HTTPS enabled. The browser includes the HTTPS Everywhere extension to force the versions of the pages that support it, but it is advisable not to lose sight of the address bar to see how the web appears.

How to install and use Tor Browser

Installing Tor

If you are a basic internet user and have read this far, Tor Browser may have already intimidated you a bit. But calm down, because has been designed to be easy to use and that anyone, regardless of their knowledge, can benefit from its protection. In addition, so that no one is left out, Tor Browser is cross-platform, and you can install it on Windows, GNU / Linux or macOS.

The first thing you have to do is go to the official website of Tor Browser, where below you will see the versions available for each language on each operating system. As with any other application, click on the version you want and download it normally, and then run the installation file.

More than an installer, what you download is a decompressor that will ask you where you want to host the browser. Be careful here because, at least in my case, by default it puts the folder where you have downloaded the executable, the one for downloads. Therefore, you will have to choose a more comfortable location by hand so that it does not get in the way, such as in Program files. Another advantage of this “no-installation” is that the browser you can put it directly on a USB to be able to browse privately where and when you want.

Connecting Tor

The moment you install it, you will only need to run it. Here you have to bear in mind that before opening the browser it will connect you to Tor, so it may take a few seconds to connect. But once you do, the status box will disappear and the browser will finish executing, which will have everything preconfigured (except for the JavaScript blocking) so that you can start browsing normally.

The first thing you will realize is that pages load slower when you use this browser. That’s because all inbound and outbound traffic goes through Tor to give you a relatively safe and anonymous experience. You can use it like any other browser, because after all it is still based on Mozilla. Of course, it has a couple of buttons with extra functions that should be reviewed.

Complement the experience with the TorButton

Torbutton

To the left of the address bar you have those two buttons with extra functions that I have told you about. The first one, the one on the left that has the icon of a Yes!, is to block JavaScript globally. By default it is unlocked to facilitate a better browsing experience, but if you want to maximize your anonymity in the network you will have to activate it to block these complements as you already do with many others by default.

Next to it you have the TorButton, a button with an onion icon that you can press to activate different exclusive options of this browser. In it for example you find the option of New identity, with which you reconnect with a new random IP and delete all cookies to start browsing again from scratch. The function will automatically restart the browser to be carried out.

You also have the option of New Tor circuit for this site, that without restarting you create a new path through Tor proxies to get to this site through a different path. You also have the security settings, in which you can set three different levels depending on whether you want to prioritize the browsing experience or privacy and anonymity.

Tor Browser is a browser made to make private browsing available to everyone, and in this quest to have everything easy these three levels of security are the key. By default you have the lowest level preconfigured to favor your browsing experience, but you can configure a medium or high level of security so that, at the cost of going a little slower, you browse exposing less personal data.

And finally you have the option Tor network setup, where you can configure the proxy or firewall of your computer or create a specific configuration for your ISP and improve the quality of your browsing. There is one last option whose name says it all, and that is to check for updates in case there is a new version of the browser.

Link | Tor Browser
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