The reason for anyone to go anonymous on the internet ranges from individuals. In most cases, dark web users resort to the Virtual Private Network (VPN) and The Onion Router (TOR) for maximum security in a bid to make their personal information and online activities remain private.
Though The Onion Router (TOR) and Virtual Private Network (VPN) has shared similarities, their small differences make them a powerful tool when combined for the same purpose.
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The Onion Router (TOR) is free software that provides a hidden private service. It has a unique way of protecting users’ identity through encrypting their online traffic and routing it through multiple volunteers operated nodes. The node is designed to benefit from multi-layer encryption. This makes the network to see the IP address of the node before and after. The exit node is designed to be visible and it is the only node to see the encrypted data.
Nodes are set up by volunteers, making it possible for anyone to set up their node. In this sense, poorly setup nodes leave your information visible to spies and threat actors. The Onion Router (TOR) then prevent all browsing activities from being linked back to you.
The Onion Router (TOR) Browser
The Onion Router (TOR) browser is one of the most popular dark web browsers available. It comes with the TOR network. To safely access The Onion Router (TOR) network, you definitely need The Onion Router (TOR) browser. This open-source deep browser is available for a wide range of devices including android, windows, mac, and Linux.
According to some research, The Onion Router (TOR) browser is the most secured browser on the internet, and very reliable since it was the first deep web browser of its kind to appear on the internet. It has been designed to isolate visited websites to prevent third parties and ads from tracking you. It automatically clears cookies and browsing history after every successful browsing.
It is impossible for third parties to monitor your browsing habits and watch the websites you visit. It ensures that all users look the same to prevent any attempt to fingerprint users based on browsers and devices. The network has been designed to comprise of thousands of volunteer-run servers called The Onion Router (TOR) relays.
According to the official website, the browser ensures that traffic is encrypted and relayed three times as it passes over The Onion Router (TOR) network.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Virtual Private Network (VPN) is known for providing end-to-end encryption from the user’s device to a remote server in any country the server is available. People mainly use the VPN to hide their location and make it appear like they are browsing from the location of the remote server instead of their actual location.
All data are encrypted prior to being routed through the chosen server once connected. The VPN transverse data through the tunnel to the website being accessed. VPN hides the user’s IP address and replace it with the server’s IP address to complete anonymity.
Combining Tor and VPN
A lot of dark web users prefer to combine TOR and VPN for maximum security and privacy for their identity which is not a bad idea. There are two ways by which this is done – 1. TOR over VPN, and 2. VPN over Tor.
The Onion Router (TOR) over Virtual Private Network (VPN)
TOR over VPN is established by activating the VPN connection first before opening the TOR. In this process, the VPN takes the charge to encrypt users’ traffic whiles hiding your TOR activity from your ISP. The ISP will not be able to see the data being sent over TOR. In this case, the IP of your VPN will be visible since the actual IP will not be seen by the TOR entry node.
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In order to use TOR over VPN, make sure the information you send is not sensitive. Use this combination when you need to hide your traffic from your Virtual Private Network (VPN) provider and when you need to hide the use of TOR from your ISP.
VPN over TOR
In this combination, users need to activate their TOR network first before opening their VPN, opposite to the other combination. The TOR exit node will reroute your traffic to the VPN server to do away with any malicious exit node. Though the entry node will see your actual IP address, the VPN will only see the exit node address.
This will protect your use of Virtual Private Network (VPN) from the ISP whiles the use of TOR is visible. Use this combination when you plan on bypassing geoblocks and transmitting sensitive information over your connection. Also, this combination is best for anyone who intends to protect his online connection against any malicious exit node and to hide VPN use from ISP.
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