Privacy in internet is a major subject for debate. It has legal and even philosophical implications. I’m not going to analyze those subjects here, but I want to punctualize that the information I’m going to make public can be used in good and bad ways. I encourage everyone to make a good use of these tools and stay away from trouble. Believe me, it’s not worth it, and although my country almost doesn't have legislation for this kind of things, I’m sure that the first world watches very well what you do online. With that said, let’s begin.
It is very well known that internet is always in danger of censorship. Nevertheless, there are ways to defeat such censorship through anonymous censorship. TOR is a popular method to achieve anonymity in internet.
And what is TOR? They put it very clear in their website:
Tor is a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. It also enables software developers to create new communication tools with built-in privacy features. Tor provides the foundation for a range of applications that allow organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy.
TOR protects against Traffic Analysis. Traffic analysis can be used to infer who is talking to whom over a public network. Knowing the source and destination of your Internet traffic allows others to track your behavior and interests. Traffic Analysis is focused on the header part of a package of data:
TOR sends data through a network of nodes, making it impossible to know the source of the data. The following pictures (obtained from TOR's website) show how it works:
So, now that you know what I am talking about, I'm going to show how to use practically. All you have to do is:
1. Go to the Download section in TOR's web page.
2. Download Tor Browser bundle.
3. Extract the downloaded file.
4. Double click "Start Tor Browser.exe". You'll see something like this:
Wait a few seconds and Firefox will be opened. You'll notice a little onion symbol. It means Tor is working on Firefox!
Now, go to https://check.torproject.org in the Firefox browser with onion symbol, and you should see a message indicating that you successfully configured your browser to use TOR:
Ok, now you are connected to the TOR network. You can surf anonymously. But that is not the most interesting part in TOR. You can start exploring the TOR network starting here: http://dppmfxaacucguzpc.onion/
However, you should be very careful. There is a lot of illegal content in this network, so you are warned.
Something interesting is that TOR sites have URLs that make no sense at all, so you'll have to take note of the ones you find browsing. Another point is that browsing may be a little slower than regular non-anonymous browsing, but it's worth it sometimes. Just in case, TOR can be used to pass browsing restrictions in some offices and schools. For example, I used to work in a bank and they did't allow us to use internet for anything that wasn't related to work. With TOR I was in Facebook the whole day long.