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Is TOR safe to use?


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#1 mlb275

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 02:10 AM

Hi,

 

I've recently started using the TOR browser bundle because it seems like a safer alternative to using a proxy for anonymity purposes...but is it?  I use it solely to keep my IP address and general location private on a few forums I use.  I never log into Paypal or anything like that using TOR.

 

I know TOR is often used for illegal or otherwise questionable purposes, so I'm wondering if using it myself puts me at any risk?  For example, is there a possibility of contracting malware from one of the Internet connections TOR sends my information through?   Is it dangerous to use the same TOR IP address that has been used by someone else for criminal purposes?  Are there other dangers I'm not thinking of?

 

Basically I guess I'm just wondering if it's worth it for me to be doing this.

 

Thanks in advance to anyone who's able to shed some light on my questions for me!


Edited by mlb275, 03 March 2014 - 02:47 AM.


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#2 BInarybaited

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 03:00 AM

Hi ,I was  thinking of using tor as well ,and almost did,until i saw a video posted on youtube when i searched text for the best and safest type of network connection ,i came across some really interesting videos , sorry i dont have a htttp. but i manged to find a report on the tor package . 

 

apparently this is a free  secure browsing proxie and vpn..but you have stated one reason why some  dont join ..one is because they are a little on the slow  side connection wise. the other is it is a good onion networking system but the goverment and the cops 

dont like this group because they  think that they are up to something if you have something to hide by joining tor .Tor doesnt mind  because the more the merrier the thing that  most  others didnt like was we want to just surf the web and have  a little bit of security 

from threats as we browse for interesting projects  or articles etc..but that might not be so secure if you have  a fbi or cop  pounding down your door because they cant trace the person they are looking for so .they  go down the list if you happen to be close by the person they looking for. they  could mistake you as them..eventually it would get straightened out but in the  mean while your private  browsing wasnt so  private..odds are that tors customers arnt doing anything wrong but ..there is  the possibilty...for more information just go  check out  some youtube videos..

 

i am on hidemyass  they also   mentioned opendns  and a bunch of hardware for  a fire wall,  i recommend tweaking the firewall  and learning everything possible about firewalls , in my experience i have seen how these attackers get through . make ssure.if your browser is safe.  a antivirus or malware is easily disabled by the attackers through programs or updates that look like microsoft or validated  companys.in order to start the tunnel .they will  target your firewalll connection first as they have port scanners and quality monitoring devices so closing all and every open port is very  important ,ive watched these guys open ports faster than i can close them.until i had so slow a connection it almost wasnt worteh it .thats where back up firewall routers and switches help .now a days most  have signal boosters to give you  a better  connection if  running wireless.plus   for the price of a  private  assigned proxie address maybe 5$ a year  or month ..its worth the hastles.who knows what ip s they give out are safe off the dark web . nothing is really for free.its usually worse when its free as i  have found the hard way.

 

companys like conduit or white smoke love to attach themselves to you even if you mistakingly downloaded an a file like adobe.apparently cookies can now be malware activated...UGGGHH. i have my third part blocked and prompted on first  party..

 

good luck.



#3 NickAu1

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 06:26 AM

 

Computer scientists found almost 20 exit relays in the Tor anonymity network that attempted to spy on users’ encrypted traffic using man-in-the-middle technique

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2090400/some-tor-exit-nodes-attempt-to-spy-on-encrypted-traffic-researchers-find.html

 

I sit here on my pc with a software firewall behind a router. I do not need any tor or vpn or that stuff. Not doing anything to need it.

 

The more you hide the more somebody wants to know why.


Edited by NickAu1, 03 March 2014 - 06:33 AM.

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#4 quietman7

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 06:38 AM

Tor is Not as Safe as You May Think
Is Tor's Anonymous Internet Still Secure?
How to use Tor, and is it actually safe and anonymous?
How to Safely Continue Using TOR on Windows
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#5 Animal

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 10:51 AM

NSA and GCHQ target Tor network that protects anonymity of web users
Attacking Tor: how the NSA targets users' online anonymity

And dozens more with a Google search

The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life.
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#6 ToxicUlcer

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 02:17 PM

"The more you hide the more somebody wants to know why."

 

That's it in a nutshell.  You attract much more attention to yourself by using anonymizing sites and networks.  Anything encrypted can be de-encrypted - given enough time, brainpower, and money.  Who has that kind of time, brains and money?  Three letter government agencies.  We do know that a certain percentage of TOR users are indeed up to nefarious tasks.  I'm not talking about illegal music downloads, either. 

 



#7 Kilroy

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 02:43 PM

If you're doing something illegal on the Internet there is very little you can do to be safe and anonymous.   Hidemyass might work for private citizens, but they will hand you over to the authorities if asked.  I do know that the included browser had known issues that resulted in compromised users.

 

So, safe is a matter of opinion.  If you want to hide your IP address from the casual observer it works fine.  If someone really wants to find you, it can be done.



#8 mlb275

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 03:03 PM

 

The more you hide the more somebody wants to know why.

 

 

Yeah, that's a fair point.  

 

I write for a living and I use several pen names across several genres.  I don't necessarily want to link one name to another, so I use TOR to disguise my IP address on various writing forums I post on as well as Goodreads.  It boils down to wanting to keep my general location private as well as preferring not to link Pen Name A to Pen Name B.  

 

My purposes certainly aren't worth risking my online security; in fact, it's not really necessary I use TOR at all.  When it comes down to it, the mods/admins on the forums are the only ones who can see my IP address anyway and I seriously doubt they care enough to "out" my pen names.  My use of TOR is basically for my own peace of mind...but now I'm not so sure!  

 

I'm off to check out all the links you guys have provided me with.  It's probably time to re-evaluate the way I browse.  Would it be fair to say that sites like Hide My Ass (the ones that are well-known and have been around for a while) are safer to use than TOR?  I would presume they have risks of their own as well...I tend to steer clear of them because of all the annoying ads.

 

Thanks for all the replies and links, everyone!


Edited by mlb275, 03 March 2014 - 03:13 PM.


#9 Kilroy

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 03:38 PM

I use proXPN.  Originally I got it to bypass a regional blackout for a football game I wanted to stream.  It is now used to create a better Netflix experience on Comcast.  It may also be an good option for you.  You could have each Pen Name come out a different area of the world.  Send me a PM if you decide to go that way, I have a code to get you 20% off for the life of your account.  (No benefit to me)



#10 mlb275

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 03:40 PM

So in scanning those links, it seems like the biggest concern is that TOR isn't as anonymous as people like to think.  I'd already heard about the malware used by law enforcement but that doesn't faze me one bit since I'm not using TOR for nefarious purposes.  All I want is to post on forums while keeping my IP address private. That said, the point BInarybaited made about mistaken identity when using the same IP as criminals does concern me.  I'd think it would be easy enough to clear up but in the meantime, who would want to deal with that headache?

 

For the time being, I think I'm simply going to change the way I use the Internet in connection to my pen names.  I don't have to be using multiple accounts on Goodreads and writer forums.  It's not like I post that much anyway.  So I will likely be deleting the TOR browser bundle.

 

In the future, I think I might look into using a different ISP.  The one I have now assigns an IP address that makes it easy to identify my small city and I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that, especially on forums or in chat rooms (not only for my writing but also in general).  I'm certain I'm just being overly cautious, but whatever.

 

Edit:  RKilroy, I just saw your post now.  Thank you for the offer and the link.  I will look into it and PM you if I decide to go that route.


Edited by mlb275, 03 March 2014 - 03:44 PM.


#11 Kilroy

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 03:44 PM

I'd already heard about the malware used by law enforcement but that doesn't faze me one bit since I'm not using TOR for nefarious purposes.

 

The problem is, not just law enforcement can use this hole.  That is the problem with back doors for the good guys, they work just fine for the bad guys too.



#12 mlb275

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 03:57 PM

 

I'd already heard about the malware used by law enforcement but that doesn't faze me one bit since I'm not using TOR for nefarious purposes.

 

The problem is, not just law enforcement can use this hole.  That is the problem with back doors for the good guys, they work just fine for the bad guys too.

 

 

True, but I also think what happened this fall with the takedown of the Freedom Hosting sites will result in hyper-vigilance.  Many of the people who use TOR have a lot to lose regardless of whether we're talking about crime, politics, censorship, etc.  Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions but I would imagine security will be tighter than on other browsers simply because of how much is at risk for some people.  

 

If I remember correctly, the exploit used by law enforcement had a ridiculously simple fix:  forbidding scripts globally.  TOR quickly moved to make that a default setting on the browser, and I'm betting the developers took a long hard look at other security issues as well.  Every browser has its weaknesses, no?  And of course, if the good guys can exploit them then the bad guys can too.  It's unfortunate, but it's just the way it is.


Edited by mlb275, 03 March 2014 - 03:58 PM.


#13 quietman7

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 05:10 PM

If someone with enough tech savy wants to find you...they will.
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#14 mlb275

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 05:30 PM

Well sure, but that doesn't mean a person can't take precautions.



#15 quietman7

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 06:12 PM

Well sure, but that doesn't mean a person can't take precautions.

Of course...I didn't mean to suggest otherwise.

I often tell folks that security always begins with personal responsibility.
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