What Is Tor and Why Is It Important

With controversy continuing over the NSA's admission to spying on Americans, many people feel uneasy about having their Internet activities monitored. Stories about federal agents visiting homes because of innocent searches online make that fear understandable. Since the best VPNs come with monthly fees, a good alternative way to surf the Internet and send emails is by using the Tor browser. Anyone who does not like being tracked or monitored online can benefit from it.

What Is Tor?

Tor, which is short for The Onion Router, was originally made for the United States Navy. Its purpose was to provide a platform where users could browse online anonymously. The network later evolved into a non-profit organization focused on developing and researching Internet privacy.

How Does Tor Work?

When a person uses Tor, his or her identity is disguised by way of server bouncing and encryption. Imagine an invisible grasshopper jumping from one leaf to another. It would be impossible to see it. The same idea is true with Tor. Since traffic is encrypted, it is hard to decipher. In addition to this, having it bounced from server to server across the world makes it that much harder to intercept or track down. If someone tried to do so, they would simply see a large amount of traffic coming from various Tor network nodes.

Who Should And Should Not Use Tor?

Anyone who believes it is wrong to have their privacy violated may choose to use Tor as a matter of principle. Writers, private investigators and others who have to perform some questionable searches on odd combinations of topics may use Tor as a way to avoid a possible visit from a federal agent. However, Tor is also useful for anyone who finds targeted advertising annoying. It is often unnerving to people who search for products online to see them suggested on sidebars of sites they later visit. This would be the same as a salesperson in a mall clothing store following a patron into another store, sneaking up on her, stating that he saw her looking at the shirt and asking if she still wants to buy it. Nobody likes the idea of being monitored or watched so closely even if they are doing nothing wrong.

Tor should not be used for illegal activities. There are other ways of monitoring people online, and anyone planning to use it for the purpose of harming others or committing serious crimes should not expect to fly under the radar of law enforcement for very long. Tor should be used responsibly.

What Are Tor's Limitations?

As a great anonymity and security tool, Tor is available to download for free online. It does not require any configuration and does not include any complicated setup steps. Keep in mind that Tor is limited to browsing activities. For example, a person who wants to send a very sensitive email should not expect Tor to make it completely safe. Emails are usually stored on servers until both senders and recipients delete them, and some emails are stored for a period of time after that point. A secure email service must be used in addition to Tor for that purpose.

Tor does not provide safe online storage, and it is still important to protect login credentials. Every person who views or shares sensitive information online should have a secure storage place and a hacker-proof login system. For complete Internet security with a virtual locker and a hacker-proof photo login system, contact Netlok today to learn more.