Tor—the anonymity network

Nowadays our online privacy are put on the table.

The most popular browsers we use today probaboly are IE, firefox, chrome which are not privacy-friendly, which means there are some other parties like  advertisers and rivals who can spy on you and track your web behavior, so your browsing history is going to be exposed.

On the contrast, the Tor browser is a free computer application that can be downloaded and used to avoid filtering.

“TOR”的图片搜索结果

picture from (https://www.torproject.org/)

It helps us to better protect our privacy, from their website(https://www.torproject.org/), it offers these: 1. Block Tracker: after browsing, history will be cleared, so trackers and ads cannot follow you. 2. IP will be hidden; no one can spy you. 3. You cannot using fingerprinting, since every users are made to look the same. 4. Information are coded 3 times, which means it would be much safer. 5. sites your network may have blocked which can be accessed by you.

However, Tor isn’t like other browsers. Any data is not going to be saved on Tor, for example: browsing history. It’s hard for police to trace Tor, even NSA cannot spy on the use of Tor, which means police cannot trace bad guys who are using Tor.(https://www.quora.com/Does-the-NSA-target-you-when-they-figure-out-you-use-Tor)

Tor is now supported by many organizations and countries. However, I don’t think China is going to fund on this project. This is because China has severe censorship on the internet. Like everything online should be censored under regulations. Therefore, like hidden IP is not going to pass under censorship.

Second, it’s not a Chinese company running this business. Like Emerging Technology from the arXiv said(Apr 4, 2012,https://www.technologyreview.com/s/427413/how-china-blocks-the-tor-anonymity-network/)”The biggest and most powerful of these is China, and the government there operates a firewall that denies its citizens online access to the outside world. ” This means that most of applications here like TOR are not allowed in China. Plus, for TOR, ISP can still detect you are using Tor though they cannot trace. This, in come aspect, is enough to do some repercussions.  Also, there is a fact provided by Sumit Passary Tech Times that there were someone who use Tor to make child pornography site, and it shut down by FBI. This tells us that FBI, in some content, can still spy on you. Though FBI do this for good, who can say that they are not going to cover other fields?(https://www.techtimes.com/articles/167002/20160626/the-fbi-can-still-spy-on-you-even-if-youre-using-tor-and-dont-ask-why.htm, “The FBI can still spy on you even if you’are using tor and don’t ask why”,)

 

 

 

Reference:

www.torproject.org

https://www.quora.com/Does-the-NSA-target-you-when-they-figure-out-you-use-Tor

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/427413/how-china-blocks-the-tor-anonymity-network/

https://www.techtimes.com/articles/167002/20160626/the-fbi-can-still-spy-on-you-even-if-youre-using-tor-and-dont-ask-why.htm

 

8 thoughts on “Tor—the anonymity network

  1. I remember when I was young my father showed me how to use the browser to find the things I want on the internet. Google chrome was not even introduced back then. I used IE to search things. The major difference from now and then is the browsing privacy is weaken now. It is somehow ironic since almost ten years passed by, but the security of internet is going backward.

    Many companies will use cookies to track our browsing history and browsing habits in order to provide the most suitable advertisement for us to view. Although we will ignore those advertisements for most of the time, if we take a closer look we would be shock that how does it know what I want. It seems like it can read our mind, but it is just the results from the algorithm under the data that it has collected from us. If we can find a way to hide ourselves from them, then I believe the results will be different. TOR can definitely help us to achieve that. As a user, I believe I should have the right to choose not to share my personal information including browsing history and habits. I looked at the website which introduced some pros and cons about TOR, and I think I will still lean to TOR. It provides a solution for us to have a safer browsing experience without having to worry about someone is watching us, but I believe it still has its own limitation. As an IST student, we still need to keep enhancing our knowledge of internet security. If the changing of technology is faster than the speed we learn them, then we will be swallowed by it eventually.

    https://broadbanddeals.co.uk/the-pros-and-cons-of-the-tor-browser/

  2. Many users are aware of the problem of browser behavior being tracked, in the general browser, we are exposed all the time, our information, what we like, what we don’t like, the address, the commonly used browser, etc., despite some good internet habits can reduce the risk of information exposure, such as turning off the location on the phone, and often clearing browser cookies, but the ultimate solution is to be able to browse the web anonymously, which is the most thorough way to protect privacy. I think Tor is a very mature anonymous online tool. On the normal browser, the location information of the website is public, but through the Tor, these websites cannot find the user’s location information, but it also has a big drawback, most hackers and criminals like to use Tor because they don’t expose their information, also, for newcomers who don’t know Tor, Tor can’t guarantee 100% of your anonymity.

    References:
    https://www.torproject.org/

  3. I know quite a bit about TOR so I found this article interesting, upon a closer read, there are a few misinformation I would like to point out.

    Overall the article was well written, but I felt like the author didn’t actually do much research into TOR

    First of all, TOR is not as secure as you state, TOR works by relaying your data through several nodes, this means that an experienced person can still access the last node the relayed your data when you use TOR browser to visit a website, and then, they can do reverse searches, it takes a bit of time but they can eventually track down your real IP address and location.

    TOR is also very consumer-unfriendly if you wish to use this as your daily browser, since every time the data has to be relayed multiple times before reaching the destination, the load time will be much slower compared to a normal browser like chrome, TOR is almost unusable if you wish to use it for streaming or video gaming.

    Finally, the part that China government doesn’t allow TOR is bullshit. Here is the official Chinese website of TOR: http://t-browser.sourceforge.net/ , you can receive tons of information about TOR usage in China by just typing in “TOR浏览器” in http://www.baidu.com, which is China’s top search engine.

    I would like to say the topic of the article is interesting, but the person who wrote this clearly has no idea what they are talking about.

    Reference:https://www.vpnmentor.com/blog/tor-browser-work-relate-using-vpn/

  4. Tor is a very interesting browser because it can make the user anonymous, as it hides IP addresses, and it also can be accessed by anyone (it is free of charge) (Cumins, 2018). These benefits can let the user access things unlike anything before, with access to the “deep web”, which is an encrypted part of the web that is impossible to access with normal browsers (Betts, 2016). This access leads to the user being able to do anything with their browser.
    The dark web; however, can also be a con of using Tor. With very evil things lurking in the deep web, it is dangerous to people who do not know what they are doing. Hackers and other bad people can infiltrate one’s computer and take vital information. With the benefits and downfalls of Tor stated, it should be up to the owner of the device whether or not they would like to download it. They need to know that their privacy could be at risk when using the Tor browser as well.
    Sources:
    https://broadbanddeals.co.uk/the-pros-and-cons-of-the-tor-browser/
    https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/deep-web-important-think/

  5. The mission of the TOR is “To advance human rights and freedoms by creating and deploying free and open source anonymity and privacy technologies, supporting their unrestricted availability and use, and furthering their scientific and popular understanding.” This is great because users’ privacy will be protected and users can feel free to search whatever they want by using TOR. Moreover, I agree with you that TOR cannot be passed in China. The government of China would block outer internet links and they would control the information citizens can see from the internet. However, personally I do not think TOR will be popular. Firstly, the history of searching really benefits people. For example, if I accidentally close the tap, it is possible for me to find easily if I just see the searching history. It can save me really a lot f times. Also, it is not safe if even FBI cannot track the IP. If someone posts some misleading information and it really have bad influence to a large amount of people, we have no ways to find out the person and punish him, this is detrimental to the society.

    Resource: http://www.torproject.org

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/427413/how-china-blocks-the-tor-anonymity-network/

  6. I found this post very interesting as before reading this I felt that so many browsers like chrome and Firefox being able to view our search history and have cookies and show advertisements used to be an invasion of privacy. Thinking about how the government has such easy access to all your information and “search history’s” is a scary thought. Yet, after reading about Tor and how they have the ability to be more private, it raises some concerns. Because it clears your history so trackers can’t find you and information is coded 3 times more, police can’t track hackers or criminals. This browser could be more of a negative thing for criminals on the internet. Since no data is saved, criminals could search certain things and not be traced. This is a frightening concept as it is all about anonymity on the web and would allow people to search things knowing that their data wouldn’t be saved.
    Yes there are some positives about Tor as it does provide a lot of security, its free to access, and supports all major operating systems, yet I think the negatives overpower the positives. Having hidden IP addresses and wiping clean search history can lead to criminal actions or allow criminals so search up illegal content. Another major disadvantage is the network is not yet fast enough to supply all of it users. It’s slow performance can also lead people to not want to use this browser as now, other websites are way faster on the internet. Overall this post made me start to think about how maybe it is a good thing that the government can track our history as it makes it a more safe environment.

    https://www.deepweb-sites.com/pros-and-cons-of-using-tor-browser/

    https://broadbanddeals.co.uk/the-pros-and-cons-of-the-tor-browser/

  7. I found your analysis of Tor to be very interesting. Tor is something I have only heard of before but never actually utilized myself.

    I found an interesting article that discusses a possible loophole of Tor (https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/bitcoin-is-not-anonymous-and-tor-users-are-forgetting-this). Bitcoin is often utilized to keep transactions anonymous, but there are ways to decipher a user’s Bitcoin address. When utilizing Tor, the article argues, the anonymity of Bitcoin is exposed through a “de-layering” process that involves the user’s specific address. It is understandable why Bitcoin is such a popular platform on Tor because the users must be conscientious of their anonymity to be using either of those platforms on their own. Yet, many users are unaware of this potential exposure.

    Researchers from the University of Qatar recently published an article discussing this phenomenon. In their words, “Bitcoin lacks retroactive operational security.” This essentially means the actions of users can be traced back to a certain point (Jawaheri et al., 2019). The researchers were actually able to identify a number of ‘anonymous’ users who had Bitcoin transactions on Tor.

    These articles relate to the topic of anonymity on the Web. Privacy continues to fade with new applications and new methodologies are creating even more avenues for unwanted exposure. In my opinion, I do not see this trend stopping and believe measures will continuously become outdated and have to be reengineered to protect users and their privacy.

    Sources:
    https://arxiv.org/pdf/1801.07501.pdf
    https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/bitcoin-is-not-anonymous-and-tor-users-are-forgetting-this

  8. Before reading this post, I never knew that any completely private web browsers existed, let alone a well established one such as Tor. Your post caught my attention because this seems like a simple fix to web browsing privacy, however you recognized some relevant concerns.

    One concern that I have is how Tor would impact the usability of the internet. If no history is tracked at all, then you would have search for a website every time you used it, instead of it popping up as you begin to type. There would not be any filtering of what sites might actually be the ones you are looking for based on your history. Also, we would most likely have to reenter usernames and passwords every time we reentered a site if not information is saved.

    A larger concern to me is that not even law enforcement is able to track the data on the Tor browser. This is alarming because so much of crime in today’s age is committed online, or parts of the internet are used to track criminals. In fact, the Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that victim losses due to internet crime exceeded $1.4 billion in 2017. Some of these crimes included, fraud, identity theft, and data breaching.
    There are also many other serious crimes that use the internet as a platform, such as black market drug trading, human trafficking, and terrorism. All this being said, the basic human rights regarding privacy and transparency are still important. I think that for safety concerns, law enforcement agencies should have the right to browsing data, but only if it is fully disclosed in a more transparent way than it is now. I think the biggest problem with privacy today is that people are not aware of who is able to track them, and exactly what they are tracking.

    References:
    https://www.torproject.org/
    https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2017-internet-crime-report-released-050718

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