When it comes to browsers, the Tor browser is viewed as the safest to use out there due to its incredible encryption abilities. Is the Tor browser safe to use to the point that you are fully safe on the internet, though?
To understand whether Tor is safe to use, we first have to understand how it works. And only then we can see if it has weaknesses.
Understanding How Tor Works
Tor tries to keep you safe by anonymizing your internet traffic by putting your connection through multiple layers of encryption on nodes (servers) located around the world.
One of the reasons for why it’s viewed as so safe is because each node only decrypts enough information to know which node to pass it on to next, meaning that none of the nodes know what sites you’ve been accessing and what your identity is.
This type of encryption makes Tor incredibly secure, although it significantly slows down your connection.
That doesn’t mean that the Tor browser is fully safe to use, though.
If it was, we wouldn’t be told that we are more disguised using Chrome than when we are using the Tor Browser.
Why the Tor Browser Isn’t Fully Safe to Use
“Tor Browser is specifically engineered to have a nearly identical (we’re not perfect!) fingerprint across it’s users.” – Tor
(They spelled that wrong by the way.)
What’s a fingerprint?
We’re glad you asked. We’ve explained browser fingerprinting in the past.
Every site you visit? It’s able to collect data about you and your device — things such as what web browser your rock or your screen resolution. Pfft, even your graphics card, will give away data that can help identify you when on HTML 5 websites.
One piece of data tracked isn’t going to be enough to identify you, but combine a few, and that makes you quite unique if you were to be investigated by someone.
Tor will change your IP address and will keep you encrypted to the point that is the safest browser to use, and one we recommend you use if you are looking for safety, but the fact that you are using Tor in itself is trackable, meaning that while a site you are visiting might not be able to identify you directly, they might see you as suspicious, and thus block you.
After all, how many people use Tor? Not a lot compared to the global base of browsers users.
That in itself makes you quite unique.
Precaution to Take When Installing Tor If You Want the Tor Browser to Be Fully Safe to Use:
Don’t download and use Tor if you aren’t using Kameleo prior.
You might be the only person in the area with Tor installed.
So imagine you search for Tor on the internet when you aren’t already fully secure.
The fact you download Tor could be tracked.
And if you are the only user of Tor in your area, and sites can recognize that you use Tor, and mix that in with some other data points, it will be possible to identify you if someone has that need.
A situation like this happened in college prior. There was only one known Tor user. And he got exposed. Of course, what he did was very wrong, but it’s an example of the weakness of Tor being that people see that you are using Tor.
If you are looking for fully browser safety, this is where Kameleo comes in the places where Tor doesn’t.
Kameleo spoofs browser fingerprinting.
It doesn’t block fingerprinting as that in itself would be somewhat trackable, but instead, it spoofs trackers by providing them with the wrong information.
The fact that you are using the Tor browser by itself makes you unique since most don’t. With Kameleo, you can look like you are using Chrome or Safari. In fact, you can customize just about all trackable pieces of data, including canvas fingerprinting, which is responsible for the already mentioned fingerprint based on your graphics card.
Is the Tor Browser Safe to Use?
The Tor browser is a great tool for anyone that needs to use it.
It’s not a perfect safety tool, but for most, it will be enough.
And for those that need the best protection out there because everything depends on it, that’s where Kameleo compliments it.