Thursday, January 26, 2023

Is It Safe To Use Tor Without VPN

Don't Miss

What About VPN Over Tor

Tor For Android 2020 | Free Unlimited VPN Without Ads! How To Use Tor on Your Phone using ORBOT

It is possible to set up a VPN to work over Tor. Or rather, to put a VPN after the Tor node network. This is useful if you want to access websites that dont allow Tor connections. Heres the Tor Projects list of websites that either block Tor connections or ask additional verification when you use Tor.

Is it safe, easy to use, or at all recommended? No, its not. It forgoes the most important reason for using Tor over VPN namely, keeping your identity secret from the person who hosts the entry node. Neither does it mask Tor use from scrutiny by your ISP.

So unless you really, really need to use a website that doesnt accept connections from the Tor network, stick to Tor over VPN.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Using Tor

While Tor is highly secure, it has some drawbacks:

  • It cant hide that youre using it. Some agencies, like the NSA, are known to monitor Tor users.
  • Its slow. Sending your requests through several nodes increases your loading time.
  • It downgrades your browsing experience. Browser plug-ins, such as Flash, RealTime, and QuickTime are blocked because they can expose your real location.

The Ultimate Guide To Using Tor In 2021

Warning: Your IP address can be exposed while using Tor! Youll need a reliable VPN to protect your online identity while using the browser.

The Tor Browser is a great resource for browsing the dark web anonymously. It encrypts your online user data so no one can monitor the websites that youre accessing. However, your identity can still be traced while using it!

You can protect your personal information online by using a VPN. I tested several VPNs to find the best choices to use with Tor.

This ultimate guide will explain how to safely use the Tor Browser with a VPN.

Also Check: How To Change Country In Google Play Store Using VPN

How Does A VPN Work

VPN services have multiple servers throughout the globe. For instance, PureVPN has a pool of around 750+ servers spread across 6 continents. When you connect to a VPN, you will be asked to choose a location. When you connect to the Internet through the VPN, the public server would see the location that you have choose via the VPN, and not yours. As a result, you will be able to hide your real IP.

Apart from masking your real IP, a VPN provides an encrypted tunnel that allows you to keep your data hidden from unwanted eyes. With the data safely encrypted, no one will be able to see your sensitive information online.

The History Of The Dark Web

Can You Use Tor Without a VPN?

The release of Freenet in 2000 is often cited as the beginning of the dark web. The thesis project of Ian Clarke, a student at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, the Freenet was intended as a way to anonymously communicate, exchange files, and interact online.

In 2002, the dark web grew significantly when researchers supported by the US Naval Research Laboratory built and released the Tor network. At the time, the internet was still young, and tracking people was easy while staying anonymous was not. The Tor network was created to open safe communication channels for political dissidents and American intelligence operatives around the world.

The Tor network was created to open safe communication channels for political dissidents and American intelligence operatives around the world.

Later, Tors underlying code was released under a free license, and a nonprofit called the Tor Project was formed. In 2008, the Tor Browser was released, which made it easy for anyone to get on the dark web.

Don’t Miss: What VPN Works With Prime Video

Is It Dangerous To Use Tor

Instead of considering Tor as downright dangerous, we can consider Tor as insecure and that too, due to the plethora of privacy reasons mentioned above. The browsers association with the deep and dark web has it reputed as dangerous.

However, to gauge whether Tor is dangerous or not depends solely on your activity. If you are merely using Tor as an anonymity tool based on the privacy it provides, then no, Tor isnt dangerous. Just dont solely rely on TorsTors privacy alone better pair it with a VPN. Tor can be dangerous if you venture the deep and dark web unprotected. Since this unindexed part is the hub of criminal activity, it is best to avoid it altogether, and even if you do access it, make sure to pair Tor with a legitimate VPN.

Unencrypted Connection Between The Exit Node And The Destination Server

One of the biggest issues related to Tor is that the connection between exit nodes and the destination server is unencrypted. Meanwhile, although the connection between your device and the entry node is encrypted, your IP address is not hidden.

An IP address can often be enough to narrow down your identity to a few individuals. That means that you will know who is doing what online if you combine the information from both the entry and exit node.

Also Check: How To Setup VPN On Fios Quantum Router

Final Thoughts: Which One Among Tor And VPN Is Better

If you want your privacy protected, both Tor and VPNs will do the trick for you. But what is the best choice?

You should probably try not to think about this issue in terms of best or worse. Both technologies are different tools designed for different tasks, so each is best at its own job.

VPNs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but good ones are fast, encrypt everything you do or see, put you in control of your public location, and can get you access to any website in the world.

So while both tech platforms are inherently different, theres no doubt that VPNs are the more powerful option.

Of course, if privacy is important to you, you need to make sure that your VPN provider keeps no logs at all. If youre going to trust a service, choose one worth it. A couple of VPNs that we can recommend here are ExpressVPN and NordVPN.

Above all, stay safe!

No Warrant Necessary To Spy On Tor Users

Never Use Tor with a VPN

Another interesting case highlighting the flaws of Tor comes form 2016 when the FBI was able to infiltrate Tor to bust another pedophile group.

According to Tech Times:

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation can still spy on users who use the Tor browser to remain anonymous on the web.

Senior U.S. District Court Judge Henry Coke Morgan, Jr. has ruled that the FBI does not need a warrant to hack into a U.S. citizens computer system. The ruling by the district judge relates to FBI sting called Operation Pacifier, which targeted a child pornography site called PlayPen on the Dark web.

The accused used Tor to access these websites. The federal agency, with the help of hacking tools on computers in Greece, Denmark, Chile and the U.S., was able to catch 1,500 pedophiles during the operation.

While its great to see these types of criminals getting shut down, this case also highlights the severe vulnerabilities of Tor as a privacy tool that can be trusted by journalists, political dissidents, whistleblowers, etc.

The judge in this case officially ruled that Tor users lack a reasonable expectation of privacy in hiding their IP address and identity. This essentially opens the door to any US government agency being able to spy on Tor users without obtaining a warrant or going through any legal channels.

Now lets put this all into context by looking at the history of Tor and its funding.

Don’t Miss: How To Setup VPN On Samsung TV

Tor Over A VPN Connection

. This allows the fact that Tor is being used from your Internet Service Provider as they will not be able to see the connection to the Tor network, as they will only see a connection to the VPN server.

The other advantage of connecting to Tor over a VPN is the Tor network will only see the IP address assigned by the VPN and not the real ISP assigned IP address.

The disadvantage of connecting to Tor over a VPN is any malicious Tor exit nodes could still use HTTPS downgrade attacks to try to access or tamper with the information exiting their nodes.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Tor Browser

Apart from some security issues, the main disadvantage of Tor is that its super slow. This is a natural consequence of the fact that your data has to travel through several relays before reaching its destination. Thats the price you pay for anonymity.

Because of this, I dont recommend that you use Tor Browser for streaming or downloading. Its founders also strongly discourage torrenting not only because of speed, but also because it can expose your IP address and compromise your privacy.

If you really want to stream or torrent while maintaining privacy, I would recommend a VPN instead of Tor .

Another disadvantage of using the Tor network is that it can draw unwanted attention to you. Although your ISP cant see your activity, it can see that youre connected to Tor. This may be enough to raise suspicion, and could even turn you into a target for government surveillance.

In addition, its important to remember that Tor Browser is just that: a browser. It cant encrypt any of your other activity, so if youre using other apps you wont have any extra protection. This is another reason why I suggest combining Tor with a VPN to cover all your bases.

Recommended Reading: What Are The Two Types Of VPN Connections Choose Two

How Big Is The Dark Web

The dark web may seem large, but its actually not very big. Researchers from Recorded Future estimated that while there are more than 55,000 existing onion domains, only 8,400 of these sites were active. This means that the total network of live dark web sites is only about 0.005% of the size of the surface web.

Dark web domains tend to be inconsistent new ones pop up and others disappear, which makes sense since some of these sites may be offering questionable or illegal goods and services.

The Tor Project says that of the 2 million people using Tor every day, only 1.5% of them are accessing hidden, or dark, websites. Recorded Future notes that 86% of dark web sites are in English, followed by German and Russian, which offers some insight into the anonymous user base.

Are There Any Alternatives To Tor

Best VPN for Tor in 2020

There are a few alternatives to Tor Browser, such as Freenet and the Invisible Internet Project . They operate on similar principles in order to guarantee anonymity, but you cant use them to access.onion sites. If you want to access the dark web securely and confidently, the combination of Tor and a VPN is definitely the best way to do so.

Recommended Reading: Windscribe On Firestick

What Is A Proxy

Proxy usually means substitute. So as the meaning suggests, Internet proxy servers allow users to direct their traffic through the assistance of a substitute server. Out of private and public proxies, private ones tend to be more stable and secure.

There are a number of reasons why you would want to do that.

For instance, you want to visit a website which is not accessible in your country or region. To get past such country or ISP imposed restriction, you may want to try proxy. In short, a proxy server would allow you to enjoy anonymity from people spying in on your network to see your activities.

Nevertheless, you can find both free and paid proxy servers on the Internet. However, you can never be sure if the free version can be trusted or not.

Tor Has Issues With Malicious Nodes

Security researchers actually found at least 110 Tor nodes that were snooping on user traffic and exposing devices to malware. In fact, one exit node was configured to alter any files users downloaded through it with malicious executable code that turned said files into rootkits, basically giving hackers remote control over the victims device.

And the 110 nodes were discovered over a period of just 72 days. Who knows how many are actually out there.

Heres the thing about Tor nodes pretty much anyone can set up and operate them. Its part of Tor being a decentralized network.

That has its advantages, obviously its what gives Tor the feeling of anonymity in the first place.

However, the main problem with decentralization is that any cybercriminal can set up a Tor node if they want to. Heres just one example out of many back in 2007, a Swedish hacker set up multiple Tor nodes. Over the course of a few months, he collected sensitive data specifically login credentials for around 1,000 accounts.

Actually, you know what heres another even better example of that: WikiLeaks. Thats exactly how it got its start by using Tor nodes to log tons of private documents.

Were not saying WikiLeaks is a bad thing, but it does show that anyone can get their hands on sensitive information with Tor nodes like they did.

You May Like: Urban VPN Firefox

Tor Anonymity: Things Not To Do While Using Tor

Top X

The awe-inspiring internet has its nightmares for the ones who get stalked and harassed in the digital world. They cant get away from the predicament one possible recourse is to go anonymous while using the internet with the help of various tools available. Name it, VPN, TOR, or you can use a proxy server for your anonymity needs.

Apart from all these available options, TOR stands out first in the line when we compare the level of anonymity provided by various tools. Many people regard The Onion Router project as the best cloak for those people who want to hide on the internet.

Edward Snowden, who came to light after he acted as the whistleblower and exposed NSAs unethical surveillance activities, used the TOR browser to do so. The federal agencies also inculpated him and alleged that his disclosure of confidential information was the impetus behind the Paris death massacre.

The Onion Router has the strength to protect you and hide you from all those stalkers and evil minds who follow you on the internet. Even if you want to be another Edward Snowden, you can very well do so by using the TOR browser.

According To Tor It Is Safer To Use Tor Over VPN Did I Miss Something

VPN WITH TOR : Do You Really Need a VPN to Use TOR Browser? YES, and here’s why !

You -> VPN/SSH -> Tor

You can route Tor through VPN/SSH services. That might prevent your ISP etc from seeing that you’re using Tor . On one hand, VPNs are more popular than Tor, so you won’t stand out as much, on the other hand, in some countries replacing an encrypted Tor connection with an encrypted VPN or SSH connection, will be suspicious as well. SSH tunnels are not so popular.

Once the VPN client has connected, the VPN tunnel will be the machine’s default Internet connection, and TBB will route through it.

This can be a fine idea, assuming your VPN/SSH provider’s network is in fact sufficiently safer than your own network.

Another advantage here is that it prevents Tor from seeing who you are behind the VPN/SSH. So if somebody does manage to break Tor and learn the IP address your traffic is coming from, but your VPN/SSH was actually following through on their promises , then you’ll be better off.

Read Also: Does VPN Use More Data

How To Make Tor Safe

Is Tor safe to use?

Clearly no.

So what can you do to make it more secure?

Its pretty simple use a VPN. Its an online service that hides your IP address and encrypts your Internet traffic.

The main advantage is that you get to hide your IP address before connecting to the Tor network. So, even if Tor suffers any IP leaks, data breaches, or has potential backdoors, nobody will be able to see your real address just the VPN servers address.

Whats more, even if you come across a malicious node, you wont need to worry about any hackers seeing your traffic since the VPN already encrypted it. Just make sure you use antivirus/antimalware software too VPNs cant protect you from malware and viruses.

Plus, if your government or ISP blocks Tor, a VPN can help you access it. It hides your IP address and your traffic, so nobody can see you accessing the entry node.

Oh, and a VPN makes torrenting safe and reliable, and even lets you bypass geo-restrictions and firewalls with ease.

Alternatively, you could just use the VPN service on its own. Youll still get to protect your privacy very well, and you wont need to deal with Tors slow speeds.

Want To Try The Top VPN Risk Free

NordVPN is offering a fully-featured risk-free 30-day trial if you sign up at this page. You can use the VPN rated #1 for the dark web with no restrictions for a monthgreat if you want to try this no-log provider’s Onion over VPN servers for yourself.

There are no hidden terms or conditionsjust contact support within 30 days if you decide NordVPN isn’t right for you and you’ll get a full refund. Start your NordVPN trial here.

Also Check: Does VPN Work With Cellular Data

Integration Between Brave Browser And Tor

Brave Browser, initially released in 2019, is a free, open-source privacy-focused web browser that is widely used and well-known as a strong advocate for online privacy and safety. Brave also boasts built-in ad-blocking capabilities, as well as BAT cryptocurrency user rewards.

Privacy aficionados will know that Brave has famously partnered up with Tor by managing some of their connection relays. It has also integrated Tor functionality into its browser.

This feature within the Brave browser is called the Private Tabs with Tor mode, which is currently available only for the desktop version of Brave browser.

Within the desktop version of Brave browser, youll find a menu in the top right corner containing the following options:

  • New Tab
  • New Private Window
  • New Private Window With Tor

The first two options refer to the regular browsing you likely already do with your default browser. In these modes, anonymity functions and clearing of search history do not take place.

The New private window option is Braves own anonymous mode, similar to Google Chromes Incognito mode and Mozilla Firefoxs Private window. Using this option does not anonymize you in any way, but it does clear your search history, forms, cookies, and site data.

More articles

Popular Articles