Surely you’ve ever heard of the TOR network, but… what is Tor exactly? What is it for? Does it work only on PC or can it also be used on Android? If you have never had the need to use it or the curiosity to know what all this was about, it is likely that the only image that comes to mind when you hear its name is that of a Norse god or that of a Marvel character. If you are interested in knowing a little more, keep reading, because the truth is that the subject is not wasted.
TOR, a network of servers to camouflage your identity and browse in private
The TOR network is a group of servers managed by numerous volunteers that improve the privacy and security of Internet users. Tor users use this network to connect to the internet through virtual tunnels instead of making a direct connection.
In this way, both users and organizations can exchange information on public networks without compromising their privacy. Following this same line, Tor is a great anti-censorship tool since it allows access to content that would otherwise be blocked or inaccessible. Basically, what Tor does is hide you and camouflage your IP among the rest of Tor users, so the more people use it, the more secure this network will be.
But let’s get down to business: You can use Tor to prevent web pages from identifying and tracking you, or to connect to sites or services that your ISP has blocked. For example, if you have contracted your internet connection with Vodafone or any other and the latter does not want you to access Example.com and blocks it, you can use the Tor network to access a said website. Pretty useful, right?
People also use the Tor network to access “sensitive” chats or communities, such as chat rooms for victims of violations or abuse of various kinds. Many journalists also use Tor to securely contact and communicate with dissidents, snitches, or moles. And it sure doesn’t surprise you if I tell you that the US government also uses Tor to obtain confidential information or to visit and investigate websites without leaving a trace.
But not everything is rosy…
All this may seem very nice and a plea for the freedom and privacy of individuals, but it is no less true that the Tor network is also a great tool to obtain and contract other types of services and less legal information. The Tor network is widely used for buying and selling drugs, hiring hitmen, and is a great tool for pedophiles and depraved people.
Of course, to find this type of thing you have to look for them intentionally… so if all you want is to navigate and protect your identity without the big operators and internet giants knowing which pages you visit or what your hobbies are, Tor can be a very interesting solution.
How do I access the Tor network?
To connect to the Tor network, all you have to do is download and install the Tor browser on your computer and only use that browser when you want to access websites without being identified. You can download the Tor browser for your operating system (Windows, OS X, Linux, and Android) from its official website.
If you really want Tor to work as it should and you want to keep your privacy to the maximum it is necessary that you also adopt certain habits when browsing through Tor:
- Only use the Tor browser.
- Don’t download or share torrents through Tor
- Do not install or enable plugins in your Tor browser. Many plugins and add-ons are used to reveal your IP, so do not use or install them in the Tor browser.
- Use HTTPS versions of websites. When you browse Tor it will always try to access the secure HTTPS versions of the websites that offer this possibility.
- Do not open documents downloaded through Tor while connected to the internet. If you download a document or file through Tor and open it, the program used to open these types of files may request external resources that result in the exposure and identification of your IP address.
If you are thinking of entering the Dark Web or deep internet, you will undoubtedly need to configure access to the TOR network in case you are browsing from your mobile. The Dark Web is made up of several darknets, and TOR is one of the best known, essential to be able to load all those .onion addresses in our browser. Let’s see how it works.
How to configure access to TOR from Android
Until recently, to be able to navigate TOR it was necessary to have 2 applications installed: Orbot and Orweb. One of them was in charge of doing the proxy work and the other worked as a browser.
However, in 2020 the Tor Project foundation officially launched the Tor Browser browser, a utility that until a few months ago was still in the alpha phase of development. Today it is already 100% operational and does not require the installation of any other additional tool.
The first step to being able to navigate TOR is to install the official browser, which is available for free from the Google Play Store.
Once installed we just have to open it and wait a few seconds while the connection is configured. Once this is done, we will be using a typical browser:
You can upload any Internet address and browse privately thanks to the degree of anonymity offered by the TOR network.
You can also enter a URL with a .onion extension to browse the Dark Web. These addresses are not available from a normal browser, so using a TOR-compatible browser is the only way to do it.
If you still face any issues or need further information regarding TOR, drop your comments below. We would be happy to hear from you!