The thought of protecting yourself from hackers, spies, and malicious attacks should be your focus every time you connect to the Internet. This is the main purpose of both Tor and VPN But what do you really know about Tor and VPN?
VPN and Tor are the most powerful tools you can use when it comes to keeping our personal information and online activity private. Both share striking similarities, but it is the differences that make them useful in niche situations. Whether you are using a geoblock or surfing the dark web, you need to understand which choices are right for a given situation.
What is Tor and how does it work?
Tor, short for The Onion Router, is free software that provides a hidden traffic service, protecting your identity by encrypting your online traffic and routing it through multiple nodes run by volunteers.
Each node benefits from multi-level encryption, allowing the network to see only the IP address of the node before and after. The exit node is also visible and the only one that can see your encrypted data.
Since the nodes are run by volunteers, anyone can create an exit node. The problem is that a poorly configured site can collect personal information that remains visible to hackers and spies. Tor will prevent feedback from you while browsing, but anyone can see your traffic as soon as it leaves the network. Everything except where it starts.
To stay safe, you should avoid sending private messages and other sensitive information over your connection.
Tor will display a path that starts at your device, guiding you through two randomly selected nodes until it finally arrives at an exit node. Tor will apply three levels of encryption before sending your data packet to the first node.
The first node in the trip will remove the outermost layer, which is the layer that knows where the data packet is going next. The second host will repeat this process, sending your data packet to the egress host.
The output node removes the last layer, revealing all the information that the data packet carried. For hackers to guess, Tor will keep using the same three nodes for no more than 10 minutes before creating a completely new random route for your traffic.
Benefits of Tor
- Tor is 100% free, making it the most cost-effective solution for your security.
- There are no logs or entries on the Tor network. There are no subscriptions here, and you don’t have to worry about disclosing your financial information when using the software.
- Tor is not afraid of ever being closed. All nodes are scattered all over the world, so it is almost impossible to ever be in danger of being removed. The absence of a main server protects it from attacks and raids from intruders and legal authorities.
What are VPNs and how do they work?
A virtual private network (VPNVPN, your IP address is hidden, so it appears that you are accessing the Internet from a remote server and not from your real location.
You will need to select a provider, create an account, launch the client from your device, log in, and then select the appropriate server. The right server will depend on your needs. For a safer and faster connection, the nearest server is preferred. If you want to bypass regionally blocked content, connect to a server in a different country with less restrictions.
Once connected, all data will be encrypted before routing through the server of your choice. The data will then go through the tunnel to the website you are trying to access. Your IP address will be masked from the website, and in its place will be the server’s IP address, making your access completely anonymous.
- All data from source to destination is encrypted.
- VPNs can slow down or speed up your connection depending on network congestion and whether your ISP is limiting your bandwidth.
- Technical skills are usually not required when it comes to VPN
- VPN can help you bypass geo-restrictions by using IP masking. Can’t watch American Netflix while in Korea? A VPN can help you overcome this obstacle.
By combining Tor and VPN, you can create a powerful online security and privacy protection hub. There are two ways to combine VPN and Tor; either Tor over VPN or VPN over Tor The choice will be determined by your needs.
Your ISP will not be able to see the data being sent over Tor, even if it still sees that you are connected to it. Since the Tor entry node cannot see your real IP address, it will be shown the IP address of your VPN server, increasing your anonymity.
However, your traffic is not encrypted after it leaves the Tor network, leaving you unprotected from malicious exit nodes. You should still be very careful when sending sensitive information over your connection.
- you need to hide Tor usage from your ISP.
- You need to hide your traffic from the VPN provider.
- You will not send confidential information through your connection.
Using this method will take you in the opposite direction from Tor via the VPN You will need to connect to the Tor network first before logging into the VPN This will require you to be more technical, as you will need to configure your VPN client to work with Tor
The ingress node will still be able to see your real IP address, but your VPN will only see the egress node’s address. This hides the fact that you are using a VPN from your ISP, but they can see that you are on the Tor network. This setting will make it easier to bypass geo-blocking, allowing you to access some Tor nodes that were initially unavailable.
- you want to protect your online connection from malicious exit nodes.
- You need to hide your VPN usage from your ISP.
- You plan to transfer confidential information through your connection.
- You need to bypass geoblocks.