Tor! What is it good for? Absolutely everything

While the Dark web may seem mysterious, it offers a level of security in our world.  1984 may have gotten it right, although 30 years premature.  Big brother really is watching.

Edward Snowden, former NSA contractor, was able to outsmart U.S. officials using several layers of encryption.  At the SXSW conference in Austin Texas, Snowden gave a great webcast on NSA leaks and data security.

Here are some tips that he gave to keep your information safe:

#1. Encrypt your hard drive.

#2. Use plug-ins for your browser that stop companies from following you online.

#3. Use Tor, a network that allows you to cover your tracks online.

 

In today’s walk-through, I’m going to be going over the simple steps to installing the TOR network on Windows machines.  Keep a close eye on the site, I’ll be doing hard drive encryption walk-throughs in the future.

What is Tor?

Tor allows you to be anonymous online by hiding who you are and where you are connecting to.  It also hides you from the Tor network itself.  Think of it like a peer-to-peer network from the late 90’s.  But instead of downloading your favorite 90’s grunge band, you are hiding yourself in an intertwined web of nodes, masking you from Big Brother.

A Word of Warning:

When you are using the Tor Browser, only the activity done in the Tor browser is anonymous.  Everything else done on the desktop/irc clients/messenger apps etc… are not anonymous.  People can still use keystroke programs and other sneaky ways to find out what you are up to.

Setting Tor up:

Step 1:

Go to: https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en

(NOTE: Make sure that it’s https)

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Find the large purple download button then click on your language/OS version.  Most of you will have 64-bit windows.  I’m still lagging behind in the 32 bit scene.  Luckily I don’t have more than 4 gigs of ram, so it doesn’t really matter.

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Step 2: Open the executable file.

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(I have to give a warning that you need to make sure you get this file from the source.  Malware seems to be attracted to the dark web).

When the download is complete, you will have the option to open the folder where the file was downloaded  The default location is just in your Downloads folder. Double-click on the file “torbrowser-install-5.0.3_en-US.exe”.

 

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Select your language of choice:

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Select the directory you’d like to install it to.  I have to admit, I secretly hate that windows allows you to just install programs all over the place, it’s so disorganized. </rant>

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Start the program:

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Once the program starts, “connect” to the Tor network.  This should work in most cases.  Sometimes, the network that you are on could have a proxy server that might get in the way.  The most popular proxy server that people seem to be using these days is: “Open DNS

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It should connect for you:

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Alright! You’re connected!

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click on the “Tor” logo in the upper left hand side of the screen.  Then click “Privacy and Security settings”.

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When you’re using a normal web browser like Chrome, you can be vulnerable to “man-in-the-middle attacks”.  Slide the security level all the way up to “high” to secure the browser.  This will make your browsing more secure.  The downside to turning the slider all the way up to “high” is that not every website will load properly.  If you’re not worried about sophisticated hackers,  you’re welcome to leave the security download.  I personally think it’s a good idea to slide it all the way up to “high”.

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If you have any questions about the installation processes, please feel free to comment below.  I will write some articles in the future about traversing the Tor web network.  Be careful on it.  It can be a great way to be anonymous, but with great power can come great responsibility.

 

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