Tor stands for “The onion router”. It is open source and safe to download. It was developed by Paul Syverson, Michael G. Reed, and David Goldschlag at the United States Naval Research Laboratory in the 1990’s. Before explaining about this browser it is essential to know how normal browsers work. Now let us suppose you are working on chrome, you searched something on google. So that search query will go to your Internet service Provider first and then connect to a site you are looking for. So the problem is, if a person or government wants to see your activities, then they can easily trace it through your ISP. But this is not the case with tor browser. Tor works on the concept of onion routing!
So what is onion routing? Tor works on the concept of ‘onion routing’ method in which the user data is first encrypted and then transferred through different relays present in the Tor network, thus creating a multi-layered encryption (layers like an onion), thereby keeping the identity of the user safe. So basically, suppose that TOR has A-Z VPN’s. If you search anything on tor then first it will go to “A” VPN then bring back the result from “b” VPN and again for next query, it will go to “C” VPN and so on. It will keep on bouncing you through random computers or nodes. And the whole process is encrypted. Even if they try to trace your IP they will get the IP address of the relay. Backtracing that relay will give them IP of some other relay but never your computer’s IP. That is why tor initially connects to some other network before you start your browser. It works as a VPN.
Uses of tor
Most people think tor can only be used for illegal activities especially on the dark web. But it has some other uses too. Everything on the dark web is not illegal. People ranging from activists to journalists and even law enforcement and the military use Tor to establish secure communications. It is open source, which means programmers and experts can see into the source code. If you want complete privacy while surfing then TOR is the best browser for you. Sites only available on the Tor network are known as Onion services. To help keep the services anonymous, the sites are only accessible through sixteen mostly random letters and numbers followed by “.onion”. Facebook engineers launched facebookcorewwwi.onion, a hidden site that allows Tor users anonymously access the social network. some users seek the dark web as a sanctuary for illegal activities, others use it to safeguard their right to privacy.
Using Tor illegal?
Tor is not illegal. Well, everyone wants privacy! The browser is totally safe to use. More than 2 million people use tor, the US government is also supporting tor networks. It depends on what purpose are you using tor for. Both legal and illegal sites can be accessed on tor. Tor is a place of cybercriminals. FBI is now monitoring some illegal sites and everyday shutting down those sites. In tor, all the payments for illegal activities take place in bitcoins. And illegal activities include drugs selling, red rooms, gun selling, and even assassination. So, it is up to you on which side of tor you want to use. As long as you use it for privacy it is safe.