Tor is extremely slow. Tor Browser’s slowness is hardly surprising. After all — your web traffic is bouncing all over the world, and is triple-encrypted before it reaches its destination. But you’ll probably only want to use Tor when you’re doing something really secret online, like accessing the dark web. Using Tor Browser can sometimes be slower than other browsers. The Tor network has over a million daily users, and just over 6000 relays to route all of their traffic, and the load on each server can sometimes cause latency.
The Tor network hides your identity by moving your Internet activity through different Tor servers. It allows anonymity and security for anyone trying to control their activity, such as government, hackers and advertisers. Tor is also a gateway to the “Deep Web” or “Dark Web”, which looks more frightening than it is. In fact, the Deep Web comprises most of the Internet.
The Deep Web is made up of sites that have not registered with any of the search engines for one reason or another.
Although many of them did not register by accident, some purposely did not register because they do not want to be easily found. For example, Silk Road, the online drug trafficking market that closed down a few years ago, could not be accessed by regular web browsers.
First, be aware: Tor can be very slow, sometimes you wont notice that it is slow, but other times you will think that things aren’t working at all. The experience varies as Tor changes how your connection is routed. This is because your connection is being routed through at LEAST three computers.
But Tor is not just for illegal activities on the web. It is also very popular with journalists, activists, human rights workers and whistleblowers, especially those who live or work in countries with Internet restrictions.
Tor not only hides Internet activity, but it also helps to ignore censorship.
The setbacks with using TOR
Tor’s main weakness is that it is susceptible to traffic analysis attacks, but this is not exactly new. Even the original design documents described this type of vulnerability. With this in mind, Tor was not designed to withstand an attack by infected nodes on a large scale.
After the Silk Road 2.0 illicit goods market closed and its founder was arrested, the Tor team released a patch for their software and urged users to update. They had found a group of relays that were exposing users who were accessing hidden services on the network. To accomplish this, it is estimated that they spent at least $ 50,000 on Amazon hosting services to host all the compromised nodes. Tor’s team also received information that investigators at Carnegie Mellon University received a payment of more than $1 million from the FBI to carry out this attack. Despite this latest blow to Tor’s reputation, Silk Road 3.0 is already operational. In the case of the Carnegie Mellon attack, only about six percent of Tor nodes were compromised.
These sites and the people behind them, along with many others who were attacked as part of the same operation, were brought down primarily by human error. Tor is only anonymous when you use it anonymously. Hidden servers are only as secure as the code that is installed on them. Using any kind of information that could be used to identify you when you are on the Deep Web or Dark Web will break your anonymity much faster than any agency or police force could. Using outdated or faulty code on a hidden server exposes that server to security flaws that will eventually lead to someone taking it over.
As a tool to maintain privacy and anonymity, Tor is an excellent resource. But it is only as good as those who use it. The weak point here is not Tor, but its user base.
Tor Browser Very Slow
Another drawback of using TOR is its performance.
As data goes through so many retransmissions, Tor is very slow, especially for audio and video. It can make streaming or downloading a nightmare.
It is also important to know that using Tor does not make you 100% invulnerable.
In fact, many believe that Tor can be easily hacked, as the exit nodes (the last transmission before your information reaches its destination) can see your traffic if the website you are accessing does not use SSL. Using HTTPS instead of just HTTP can add an extra layer of protection, but it is still not completely reliable.
Finally, government agencies can see if you’re using Tor. So, even if they don’t see what you’re doing, it’s still a red flag for the TOR network.
Alternatives to TOR
There are a lot of other alternatives to access Dark web without the help of TOR. Some of are browsers and some of them are the whole Operating systems. Depends on your requirements, you can choose what’s best for you. Some of the Alternative software for browsing Dark Web are Freenet, I2P, and TAILS.
We will talk about these alternatives in detail in our next Blog post. Stay tuned.
(Disclaimer: This tutorial is only meant for educational purposes and we are not responsible for any illegal activity that one might have done using this tutorial)
What is Tor Network?
Tor is a free network which gives you total anonymity while browsing the Internet. Using this network, you can search and access normal and dark websites anonymously i.e. by hiding your digital identity. By hiding your digital information like network name, I.P Address, location etc you can access blocked websites, you can access geolocation based websites etc. Tor network prevents others like Ad vendors to track your search history and your location.
Tor network is different from VPN because a VPN provider sets up a server remotely and allows you to use it to relay your HTTP requests via it, hence masking your identity and location. But as per the rules, the VPN provider logs your IP address of every user using it. Tor is completely different because Tor passes your requests through at least three different servers called as nodes before sending it to the actual destination.
How does Tor Network work?
As we mentioned above, the Tor network passes traffic through a number of randomly selected servers(nodes), this process is called the Onion routing. In the process of Onion routing, the traffic is repeatedly encrypted and sent through different nodes called onion routers. Here the term 'Onion' refers to peeling of the networks, each onion router removes a layer of encryption to uncover the destination routing instructions and then send the request to the next router. This Onion routing hides the source and destination addresses and protects the anonymity of a user.
When the Tor client starts it obtains a list of tor nodes from a directory server, then when the user wants to visit any URL, the tor client picks a random path to the destination server, later if the user visits another website, the tor client will select some other random path.
In the picture above, you can see the total overview of the Tor network. The user is connected through the different IP address of different location with some relay nodes, and at-last the request reaches its destination (onion) URL.
How To Install and Access Tor?
The installation of Tor is very easy. Tor is available for Windows, OSX, Linux/Unix and Android.
1) Tor Browser for Windows
Tor Browser Slow Speed
You can download Tor Browser for Windows from here. Run the package and the installation takes place in your chosen directory. Once installed, open Start Tor Browser.exe file, it will open the connection window and will start establishing a connection. Once connected, Tor client will start a light-weight firefox browser which is integrated with Tor network.
2) Tor Browser for Linux
First, add the below PPA repository to your Linux machine:
Then run the below command to update your Linux installation:
Now, use the below code to install the tor browser:
(Note: Tor in Linux is accessible only by other users and not via ROOT user)
3) Tor Browser for Android
You can install Tor Browser to access Tor network directly from the Google playstore. The app is named as 'Orbot'
Advantages and Disadvantages of using Tor Network
Below we have listed a few advantages and disadvantages of using the Tor Network, so choose wisely, whether you want to use it or not.
Advantages of Tor Network:
- You can access the deep dark web and blocked sites
- You can access non-indexed pages in google, bing, yandex etc search engines.
- You can hide your original IP address.
- It hides all the information about the source(which is you) and the destination.
- It also protects the data passed onto the network.
Disadvantages of Tor Network:
Tor Browser Too Slow
- Very slow network because it is used by many users.
- You can't download or upload large files.
- Tor is used for a lot of illegal activities too.
Tor Browser Fast
In the next article, we will try to cover more about the dark web and completely anonymizing your machine.