Introduction to Tor:

How It Works and Why You Should Use It

Table of Contents

Hey, everyone! Welcome back to ITS Tech Time. Today, we’re diving into online privacy with a topic that’s gained much attention—Tor, or The Onion Router. In this video, we’ll explore how Tor works and why it’s become an essential tool for many internet users concerned about privacy. But before we begin, if you’re new here, don’t forget to subscribe and hit the bell icon for more tech and privacy-related content.

What is Tor?

So, what is Tor, and how does it work? Tor is a free, open-source software that allows users to browse the internet anonymously. It achieves this by bouncing your connection through a series of volunteer-operated servers, encrypting the data at each step. This process creates layers, like the layers of an onion, hence the name “The Onion Router.”

Imagine you’re sending a letter. Instead of sending it directly to the recipient, you put it in multiple envelopes, each with a different address. As it travels, each server removes one layer, and the final server sends the letter to the destination. This way, it’s challenging for anyone to trace the letter back to you.

The first relay is the “guard” relay. It receives your data and adds the first layer of encryption, like an onion. The guard sees your IP address but has no other information about you, and it can’t see where you’re trying to access. So, there is no way for it to log what you are doing.  The only information the guard has is the address for the next relay.

The second relay is the “middle” relay. The middle relay can’t see your IP address, and it can’t see what you are trying to access. All it does is add another layer of encryption to your data and then pass you on to the next relay. 

Most of the volunteer relays that are set up are middle relays, which is a good thing for your typical hobbyist.  Since they can’t see your IP address or the IP of where your trying to access, if someone is doing something illegal on the dark web, you’ll have no information that you would be liable for.

The last relay you will connect to is the exit relay. It does have access to your destination address and can see what you are connecting to.  However, all the destination can see is the IP address of the exit node. Which then routes traffic back to you. 

Most exit nodes are operated by universities or large organizations. This is because if someone does something Illegal on the dark web, the authorities will first go to the IP address for the exit node, and these large organizations are better equipped to handle that process. 

For anyone interested, Tor does supply Legal documents that you can view/use if you are interested in setting one up

Why should we use Tor?

Now, why should you use Tor? Well, Tor offers a range of privacy benefits. First and foremost, it helps anonymize your online activity by masking your IP address. This makes it more difficult for websites, advertisers, or even your internet service provider to track your browsing habits.

When you use a regular browser, your connection is like an open book. Your IP address is exposed, and websites can easily track your location and preferences. With Tor, it’s like wearing a digital mask, keeping your identity hidden.

Common Uses

Now, let’s talk about some common use cases for Tor. Whether you’re a journalist working on a sensitive story, an activist in a restrictive regime, or simply someone who values online privacy, Tor provides a level of anonymity that traditional browsers can’t match.

Journalists, for instance, use Tor to communicate securely with sources, protecting both their identity and the information they share. Activists in countries with online censorship rely on Tor to access and share information without fear of retribution.

And there you have it—an introduction to Tor, how it works, and why you might want to use it. If you found this video helpful, give it a thumbs up, and don’t forget to share it with anyone who might benefit from learning about online privacy.

Thanks for watching, and as always, stay curious and stay secure. See you in the next video!

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