My Tense Trip To The Dark Web – Risks & Rewards of TOR – SDP#42

PODCAST-“The dark web—which utilizes a technology created by military researchers in the 1990s to allow intelligence operatives to exchange information completely anonymously—is unknown to many. It’s been said to be a breeding ground for organized crime, sex traffickers, and hackers. But it’s also used by good actors, including whistle-blowers and activists.”  https://phys.org/news/2017-03-dangers-dark-web.html

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THE ONION ROUTER (TOR)

Dr. Perrodin shares that the Tor Browser, which is the door to the dark web, is astoundingly easy to access.  In fact, the Tor Browser is a version of Mozilla Firefox that has been modified by the Tor Project for enhanced security and privacy. When you open the browser, it automatically connects to the Tor network, which encrypts and bounces your connection to the Internet around in a way that’s supposed to make it difficult to spy on you. The TOR Browser is rated 3.5 / 5 stars from 26 votes on CNET with most low ratings due to TOR’s slow speed.  Learn more about the Tor Project at www.torproject.org

IS IT LEGAL TO SURF THE DARK WEB?

It is legal to use Tor, but it does host illegal content. An illegal act conducted via Google Chrome or Internet Explorer would also be illegal if conducted via TOR.  The dark web is a network of websites that only run on anonymous browsers, which will hide the identity of the user and the people who run the sites – so detection of nefarious acts is more difficult when a person uses a TOR browser.  The Silk Road, accessible via the TOR Browser, is a well-known site marketing illegal drugs.

WHAT IS VPN?

A VPN or Virtual Private Network is a method used to add security and privacy to private and public networks, like WiFi Hotspots and the Internet. VPNs are most often used by corporations to protect sensitive data as it hides your IP address – or the address of your computer.  TOR is almost always paired with a VPN such as CyberGhost, NordVPN, or Trust.Zone. While TOR is free, VPN’s cost about $10 a month.

FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TOR  

(1) It Protects the Identity of the User Through ‘Hopping’ Across Devices Worldwide; (2) To Find a Site on Tor You Need to Know the Address of the Onion Service. This means the “dark web” websites have .onion in their address; (3) Less Than Half of the Activity on the Dark Web is Illegal; (4) The Dark Web Was Originally Meant to Safeguard Government Communications.  “Onion Routing” was originally developed in order to protect intelligence communications online. The United States Naval Research Laboratory created Tor in the mid-1990s. The project was transferred to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in 1997 and underwent its first round of software testing on 20 September 2002. Tor was publicly launched a year later. (5) Anyone Can Volunteer to Be Part of Network Running Tor.

 

TOR AND SAFETY

The presence of the TOR icon, which is an onion, on a computer or other device might imply that the user is accessing websites that broker drugs, sex trafficking or other dangerous activities. It could also just indicate that the user is hyper-vigilant about privacy. Don’t jumpt to conclusions – place everything in context. Remember, TOR doesn’t create a historical log. Those that support TOR argue that the service is necessary to protect against increasing government surveillance and corporate tracking.

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