October 24, 2020

TOR Anonymity: Things Not To Do While Using TOR

4 min read

The Onion Router (TOR) is a network of servers that can be used to enable anonymous internet browsing. TOR can be used for several reasons. For instance, journalists and political activists may use TOR to avoid prosecution in countries where expressing controversial views is frowned upon. On the other hand, TOR may also be used for hiding illegal activity. 

However, TOR wasn’t designed for conducting illegal activities. In fact, it was originally developed with the help of the U.S. Navy to facilitate anonymous communication by the Navy and other military organizations. You might want to use TOR simply to hide your identity from ISPs, and ad services.  The point here is that the TOR network can be used for good. However, if you wish to hide your identity as well as possible, there are some things that you should not do when using TOR. We will cover these below.

How TOR Works

To access the TOR network, you need to download the TOR browser. When you connect to the TOR network, your connection is routed through several different servers (or nodes). Traffic is heavily encrypted and is passed through a guard node, a relay node, and an exit node. 

While TOR is great for hiding your identity, according to Vpnoverview.com it does have some limitations. For instance, using TOR doesn’t protect you from potential cyberattacks while using the TOR browser. In addition, since your data is passed through extra nodes, your connection will be slower. 

Things to Avoid

As we mentioned before, there are some activities to avoid while using TOR, it is possible for your identity to be deduced in some cases. Below we will talk about some scenarios to avoid.

1. Torrenting with TOR

You should avoid TORrenting with TOR. When you use a P2P client, your IP address is shared. Anyone who is downloading information from your computer will be able to see your IP address.

2. Using TOR With Windows

Windows is heavily used and it has several security flaws. Hackers may be able to maneuver their way around your TOR protection and compromise files on your computer.

3. Using Non-HTTPS Websites

If you access a website that uses HTTP rather than HTTPS, the data transferred to and from the website will be unencrypted. The data transferred might be viewable at the exit node of your TOR connection.

4. Using TOR With Java

You should not use TOR with Java. Java is widely used across the internet on websites. Hackers know how to exploit this language and could possibly use it to circumvent your TOR connection since Java programs are usually given a lot of permissions.

5. Using Google With TOR

Google tracks information about your browsing habits, stores cookie files, and even monitors your browsing habits. Using Google with TOR may cause you to unintentionally expose information. 

6. Not Deleting Cookies After Browsing

Whenever you browse websites, files called cookies are stored on your computer. They store identifiable information about you. You should delete these after a TOR browsing session.

7. Operating User Accounts With And Without TOR

If you use one of your user accounts with and without TOR, then you are exposing your information. Whenever you log in to a website like a social media network, your IP address is logged. Even though your IP address will be masked when you log in with TOR, if you log in again without TOR, your real IP address will be visible. This could lead to identifiable information about you being exposed.

8. Posting Personal Information While Using TOR

If you post personal information while using TOR, then this kind of defeats the purpose of hiding your identity. Do not do this. While your IP address will be masked, it won’t matter if you give your identity away. 

9. Using a Text Message for Two-Factor Authentication

This is a tricky one, but don’t use the text message option for two-factor authentication. If you give your number to a website for two-factor authentication, then they can use your number to identify you.

10. Sending Unencrypted Data

Sending unencrypted data is risky since that data can be compromised on the exit node of the TOR network. Your identity may not be compromised, but your data may be. 

Final Thoughts

The Tor network is one of the most solid methods of securing your identity online. However, there are some precautions that you should take if you wish to keep your identity concealed. Follow the steps above to gain the desired results from using the TOR network.