Tor is dubbed as one of the safest Internet browsers available to use. It’s free and open-source and is best known for offering a secure Internet connection. To provide security to its users, Tor directs the traffic through the worldwide overlay network. This helps in concealing users’ location from anyone trying to spy in your browser connectivity using network surveillance or traffic analysis.
Tor is an acronym for The Onion Router, derived from the technique of Onion Routing. Onion Routing is a type of network encryption where the communication between the browser and the website server is encapsulated in layers of encryption, just like layers of an onion.
Tor is known for concealing user identity and ensuring higher levels of privacy and anonymity while browsing online. It’s browsing settings can be tweaked to offer the most secure browsing experience and prevent hijackers from hacking into your IP address. Let’s learn what Tor does to secure communication on browsers, and how you can protect your privacy on the Tor browser by adjusting the privacy settings on it.
How Does Tor Encrypt Communication between Browser and Site’s Server?
Take a look at the image above. It’s the Tor browser tab with Google’s official site opened on it. When you click on the info button signified by an (i), this particular menu will drop-down. Here, under the heading Tor Circuit, you’d see three different regions in the path between Tor and Google’s site. Tor encrypts your IP Address and then bounce its traffic over three different volunteer computers in different regions before reaching the site server.
This makes it difficult for trackers and peepers to trace down your IP as the user location changes at every layer before the connection between Tor and the particular site’s server is established. This way, users can anonymously visit websites without revealing their internet activities to trackers, internet service providers, or even the very administrators of the sites they visit.
In case, any site isn’t working properly, users can click on the New Circuit button, which would renew the circuit ad reroute the IP through an entirely distinctive three layers.
How to Protect Privacy on Tor Browser: Adjust Tracking Settings
Tor Browser is set on private browsing mode by default. Under this mode, all your history, cookies, and browser data is wiped out once you close the browser after a session. While this is the most secure set of tracking settings on the Tor browser, you can always choose to decide which sites you wish to allow saving cookies on Tor.
To adjust these settings in the Tor browser, follow these simple steps:
Step 1: Open Tor browser and click on the three horizontal bars on the top right corner of the window.
Step 2: Go to Options.
Step 3: Head to Privacy & Security.
Step 4: Scroll down to History and uncheck the button for Always use Private Browsing Mode.
Step 5: You’ll be asked to restart the browser as the new settings will only take place in the new session.
Step 6: Once unchecked, you can choose from three different options:
– Remember Browsing and Download History: Tor will save browsing history until you’ve deleted it manually.
– Remember search and form history: Browser will remember searches and passwords to allow users future convenience.
– Clear history when Tor Browser closes: History will be cleared off completely when Tor closes.
Take Note. We recommend that you do not change the tracking settings at all. And so does Tor. Yes, having saved history and form data would indeed offer user convenience, but it’s better to be safe in a time when threats to online privacy have grown. The Private Browsing Mode on Tor deletes any data, passwords, searches, and history as soon as you close Tor. In the next session, the searches will be gone, and you’ll be browsing afresh in a new Tor circuit.
Also Read: How To Install The Tor Browser For Android?
Opt For Safer Browsing Options
Unless disabling a few sites won’t affect your browsing session, it’s recommended to switch to safer internet browsing settings on Tor. Tor offers three security modes of browsing the Internet. They are:
– Standard: All website features are enabled on Tor.
Here’s how you can change security settings on Tor:
Step 1: Go to Options.
Step 2: Head to Privacy & Security.
Step 3: Scroll down to the Security section.
Step 4: Choose from the above-mentioned options.
It’s better to go for Safer mode, as it mostly targets non-HTTPS sites. And it’s better to stay clear of these sites as they are highly risky to browse through. The Safest mode will affect major functionalities of the sites, which may hamper your session as well. However, using Safer mode doesn’t seem harmless at all.
Protection Against Browser Fingerprinting
When you surf the web on a particular browser, a set of data is collected about your search by the receiving site servers. Now usually, a user’s searches and work on the web is limited to certain sites. This creates a set of data points comprised of your behavior online. It leaves fingerprints of your searches behind which hackers use to identify you and plan phishing attacks and other hijacking attacks against you.
Since the Tor browser will always change the circuit of overlays and every session will be fresh, the fingerprints are hard to trace. Tor further claims that the browser is specifically coded to offer nearly identical fingerprints for all users, making it difficult to identify one of the many.
As for ads, Tor does not block ads, which remains the only concern. You can always install add-ons or extensions to block ads, but Tor says that such extensions affect site functionality. So, this is one thing that Tor users have to bear with.
Tor is one of the best browsers to use if you’re concerned about your privacy. It’s not entirely perfect, but it is closest to it than any other browsers. It’s better to leave the Private Browsing Mode on while browsing on Tor. This will automate the process for deleting cookies, passwords, form data, and search history whenever a user closes a session on Tor. With Safer security mode, you can also keep yourself clear off non-HTTPS sites, which do not encrypt communication between the browser and the site server.
Read More: 11 Best VPN For Windows 10, 8, 7 PC
Tell Us of Tor:
Let us know if you’ve used Tor extensively. How was your experience with it? If you haven’t, then try it out and let us know how it is better from other mainstream browsers. And for more tech knowledge and updates, join Systweak at Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and get along with us on your social feeds.