Why shouldn't I use the Tor Browser?
Internet The Tor Browser: Surf the Darknet uncensored
When there is talk of the Darknet in the media, the connotation is usually negative: The hidden Internet is a playground for criminals, a place for buying weapons and drugs, illegal pornography and all the other filth that has long been preoccupying the authorities on the regular Internet. And yes, it's true: The concept of the Darknet has numerous dark corners, but the real purpose of the network is different: Originally, the Tor network (an acronym for “The Onion Router”), on which today's Darknet is based, was invented to enable people in totalitarian systems with censorship-friendly media to access information.
How does the Tor network work?
How does the Tor network, on which the Darknet is based, work? Well: It's very simple: The user must first install a Tor client on his computer. This so-called onion proxy then connects to the Tor network. This consists of numerous interconnected servers all over the world, mostly in the USA. The onion proxy creates a chain of random encrypted connections across three servers at different locations. This gives the user three advantages: On the one hand, he can view the Internet as if he were at the point of departure, which avoids censorship measures. On the other hand, it is very difficult for investigating authorities to grasp because of the data transfer across several national borders. And thirdly, this transmission-related non-traceability in conjunction with the encryption has a largely anonymizing effect. Always provided that an attacker cannot monitor the entry and exit points. China and other censorship-friendly regimes are making great efforts in this regard - however, even the so-called "golden shield", a huge, nationwide firewall, is not able to completely prevent Tor connections.
Instructions: Use the Darknet
In order to be able to use the Darknet, you have to install an onion proxy, as I said. The browser has to be redirected via this proxy, which is quite cumbersome for laypeople. That is why the Tor Browser Bundle was developed, a modified Firefox browser with an integrated Onion proxy. It's easy to install and use:
- First of all, you have to Download the Tor Browser Bundle. The software is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux, except for Mac, in 32- and 64-bit versions.
- The installation of the Tor browser bundle is identical to the installation of other software, like Firefox. There is an installer under Windows, Mac users open the disk image and copy the tool into the Applications folder. Linux users can simply unzip it and it runs without any further installation.
- After the installation you can start the program. The Tor browser bundle automatically connects to the Onion network and is then ready for use. All connections within the Tor browser now run over the Darknet - and are just difficult to track.
- Before you start, however, you should do it once check whether the gate is really running. The easiest way to check this is to go to the website https://check.torproject.org. Reports this "Congratulations. This browser uses Tor“, The connection via the network is active and anonymized.
- You can now Surf the web anonymously with the Tor browser bundle and, if necessary, visit websites that are blocked under normal circumstances. You should find that the Internet is running much slower than usual, which is due to the fact that it is forwarded via several servers.
- However, that is not yet the actual Darknet. To be able to use this, you have to at least one .onion address be known. Good starting points are, for example, the hidden wiki (http://jh32yv5zgayyyts3.onion/) or Tor links (http://torlinkbgs6aabns.onion/).
Use the Darknet with your smartphone or tablet
The Tor browser bundle is only available for PCs and Macs, but not for mobile devices. The technology is particularly suitable here, after all, the Tor network can be used, for example, on business trips to countries that are likely to be blocked, for example to access German websites that are a thorn in the side of the censorship authorities. The Onion browser is available for iOS, Android users can use Orfox - but this requires Orbot to be installed. The functionality of both browsers is largely identical to that of the Tor browser bundle.
An important tool for the opposition - and criminals
Especially in countries with relatively reliable internet connections, which are heavily censored with the help of DNS blocks - including regimes such as China, Iran, Russia and now Turkey - the darknet is an important medium for resistance and dissidents who elude investigative authorities here can. The criminal part of the darknet is only a consequence of this possibility. Naturally, criminals are always in places to which the executive has difficulty accessing, which is why the Darknet rightly has a very bad reputation in this regard. Nevertheless, in dictatorships it is one of the few ways to receive and disseminate information unfiltered.
The Tor network also has its own web - the actual Darknet, recognizable by .onion URLs. Here are websites that offer everything from information about communication services to illegal content and black markets that is supposed to escape government control. Financial transactions in the Darknet are usually processed using Bitcoin. Media jazzed up to the "bad" Internet, the Darknet itself is initially not illegal - in Germany it can be used without further ado. The content offered here can, however, be illegal. Anyone who buys drugs here, for example, is of course acting against the law and committing a criminal offense. However, if you limit yourself to the procurement of information and anonymization without making use of illegal offers, you do not have to worry in this country.
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