The latest massive espionage scandal by a US intelligence agency has once again revealed how vulnerable our personal data is on the web. If after this type of news you have thought about trying to surf in a more anonymous way on the Internet, today we are going to show you how you can do it with Tor Browser.

This browser is mainly known for allowing you to access the TOR darknet, one of the most used of the Dark Web. But it is also a browser that allows you to access the pages of the web surface, the conventional Internet, minimizing the risk that cookies and many other elements can track you.

In essence, Tor Browser is a version of Firefox that brings the Tor service pre-configured so that you do not need technical knowledge to be able to use it. It also disables the loading of elements that can track you as Flash, ActiveX, QuickTime or JavaScript, although the latter is enabled by default. The routing of the Tor network takes us through three random servers to reach your landing page so you can not know where you are going from.

For the protection of your identity to be more effective, only store the cookies during a session until you close it or request a new identity. In this way, when you reconnect or change your identity, you will not be able to relate the pages you saw in the previous session with those of the current one. Nor does it retain any browsing history.

The complex routing system, which we already explained to you better in its day , allows that if our message is intercepted it is not possible to know where they are coming from and where they are going, only which is the next node they are going to. But you have to keep in mind that when you leave the Tor network to the clearnet, the last jump our pack will do without being encrypted , so your information is vulnerable.

This means that preserving more or less your privacy in the clearnet depends above all on your way of navigating . If you access your social networks through Tor or use your mail, you can relate your connection to your name. This is where a series of tips from Tor come into play to help you better maintain your privacy when you use your browser.

Maximizing your privacy

To get Tor to help you navigate in the most anonymous way possible you have to change a series of habits when navigating. The first is not to use another browser when you do not want anyone to know where you are connected from, since it is useless to hide with one if at the same time you are using another one that allows you to track it.

It is also not advisable to have any torrent active when you are browsing with Tor, since it is known that this type of exchange applications usually ignore proxies and establish direct connections even when you tell them not to do so. Therefore, if you use a torrent when you are browsing with Tor Browser you will be sending your IP address.

You have to avoid installing plugins and addons in Tor Browser, you should not open documents that you have downloaded from the browser while you are still connected to Tor, and you should make sure to only access pages that have activated HTTPS. The browser includes the HTTPS Everywhere extension to force the versions of the pages that support it, but it is advisable not to lose sight of the address bar to see how the web appears.

How to install and use Tor Browser

If you are a basic Internet user and have read this far, it is possible that Tor Browser has already intimidated you a bit. But quiet, because it has been designed to be easy to use and that anyone, regardless of their knowledge, can benefit from its protection. In addition, so that nobody is left out Tor Browser is multiplatform, and you can install it in Windows, GNU / Linux or macOS.

The first thing you have to do is go to the official website of Tor Browser, where below you will see the versions available for each language in each operating system . As with any other application, click on the version you want and download it normally, and then execute the installation file.

More than an installer, what you download is a decompressor that will ask you where you want to host the browser. Be careful here because, at least in my case, by default it puts you the folder where you downloaded the executable, the downloads. Therefore you will have to choose by hand a more convenient location so that it does not get in your way, such as in Program Files . Another advantage of this “no-installation” is that the browser can put it directly on a USB to be able to browse privately where and when you want.

The moment you install it, you will only need to execute it. Here you have to bear in mind that before opening the browser will connect you to Tor, so it may take a few seconds to connect . But once it does, the status box will disappear and the browser will be finished, which will have everything preconfigured (except JavaScript blocking) so you can start navigating normally.

The first thing you will notice is that the pages load slower when you use this browser . That’s because all incoming and outgoing traffic passes through Tor to offer you a relatively safe and anonymous experience. You can use it like any other browser, because after all it is still based on Mozilla. Of course, it has a couple of buttons with extra functions that should be reviewed.

Complement the experience with the TorButton

To the left of the address bar you have those two buttons with extra functions that I have spoken to you about. The first one, the one on the left that has the icon of an S! , is to block JavaScript globally. By default it is unblocked to facilitate a better browsing experience, but if you want to maximize your anonymity on the network you must activate it to block these add-ons as you already do with many others by default.

At your side you have the TorButton, a button with an onion icon on which you can press to activate different options exclusive to this browser . In it for example you find the option of New Identity , with which you reconnect with a new random IP and delete all cookies to start browsing again from scratch. The function will automatically restart the browser to be carried out.

You also have the option of a new Tor circuit for this site , which without the need to restart you create a new path through the proxies of Tor to reach this site through a different path. You also have security settings, in which you can set three different levels depending on whether you want to prioritize the browsing experience or privacy and anonymity.

Tor Browser is a browser made for private browsing is available to everyone, and in this effort to have everything easy these three levels of security are the key . By default you have preconfigured the lowest level to favor your browsing experience, but you can set a medium or high level of security so that, at the cost of going a little slower, you browse less personal data.

And finally you have the option Tor network configuration, where you can configure the proxy or firewall of your computer or create a specific configuration for your ISP and improve the quality of your navigation. There is a last option whose name already says it all, and is to check the updates in case there is a new version of the browser.