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Is Tor totally safe?


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#1 jacklai

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 02:41 AM

Firstly, I'd like to sorry if this question sounds stupid to you :)
I'm intending to use Tor to replace Chrome & Firefox. I heard that it's safe but Tor is mostly used by underground purpose so that I wonder if it's totally safe?
Can I use Tor to access a web page full of malware without being infected?


Edited by NickAu, 23 September 2016 - 03:50 AM.
Moved from to a more appropriate forum


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#2 Angoid

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Posted 23 September 2016 - 05:21 AM

Hi Jacklai,

 

Firstly, the only stupid question is an unasked one :)

 

Tor is not a browser: it is an anonymity network that allows you to surf the Internet with more anonymity than you would otherwise.  It just makes you harder to track, that's all.

You typically use the Tor browser, which is a specially configured implementation of Firefox.  You won't be using Chrome.   The Tor browser has its own logo but really it's based on Firefox.

 

While it is true that Tor is used to surf the "Dark Web," it can be used to surf the "normal" Web as well.  There is no commitment to use the dark web at all.

 

If you use it to gain access to a web page full of malware, then if your browser and OS is vulnerable to the malware on that page then yes: you will be affected.  If you plan on visiting malware-infected pages, then consider setting up a VM (Virtual Machine) and using that.  Also, make sure you have no other devices connected because if the malware payload is ransomware, the end result will not be pretty.

 

It think it goes without saying what I'm going to say next anyway: unless you're a security researcher and you know exactly what you're doing and letting yourself in for, then don't do it.


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#3 jacklai

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Posted 28 September 2016 - 10:32 PM

Hi Angoid,

 

Your answer is great! I cannot find the thanks button to say how I like it.

Just one more question, if I use it with VM as you said, then can my ISP trace what I did?

 

Thank you!



#4 quietman7

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Posted 29 September 2016 - 09:16 AM

How Can I Prevent My ISP from Tracking My Every Move?
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#5 jacklai

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Posted 02 October 2016 - 10:56 PM

Cool! Thanks Bleepin' Janitor very much!

I'm thinking about being a hacker hehe



#6 quietman7

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Posted 03 October 2016 - 05:50 AM

Not a problem.
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#7 rp88

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 07:18 PM

Tor itself is perfectly safe, it is an anonymity network but it also does have it's own firefox based browser bundle that lets you download it and set it up in a simple way.

I would not advise replacing FF or chrome with it, there will be no advantage to total replacement, infact there are disadvantages:
1.it's a bit slow because it has to route through several nodes before getting to the overall internet
2.some sites will not work properly if they see you coming from a known tor exit node, the operators of some sites might decide they don't want anonymous visitors so make some features not work for those coming at it from tor
3.if you use tor too much for things you don't need it for you slow it down for those who really need it

Tor is a safe download but check the sha hashes and such, make sure it is the download the tor website actually meant you to get.

Tor won't protect you from malware any more than other browsers, better to rely on a good antivirus, an anti-malware, an uptodate browser, an ad blocker, a script blocker, an anti-exploit program and cautious behaviour for this.

Tor will help stop your ISP tracking you, and your government and such, but it's not perfectly foolproof. Thankfully the developers behind it, and coders all over the world (including some working for governments as for every time a government wants to unmask tor using opponents it also wants to shield tor using allies), check it for security flaws and update it when they find them. Tor is not perfect but it's being improved at the same rate as new problems are found, the mroe users it has the betetr the anonymity of any individual using it.

P.S. in general you'll only want to use it to visit the normal web in an anonymous way, you almost certainly don't want to go visiting .onion domains. Most of those are a bit dodgy, and there will be a lot of malware there. Tor to visit the normal web is no greater (BUT ALSO NO LESS!!) in malware risk than a normal browser, tor to visit hidden pages is very risky.

P.S. Have I heard a question like this before, something about it seems memorable.

Edited by rp88, 04 October 2016 - 07:19 PM.

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#8 Angoid

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 09:26 AM

Of course, there are the victims of ransomware who end up paying the ransom and they have to visit the criminals' .onion sites in order to pay.

I very rarely use TOR, but with regard to .onion sites my primary thoughts are that they are hidden for a reason, and that people visit them for a reason.

That said, security researches and the like will access them because that's where the hidden cracking forums are and thus they can find out what new threats are available on the black market. Also, legit companies that provide security services need to delve down there to see if customer details are being traded in the shady underworld.

Another thought is to read material posted by the likes of Ed Snowden, to see what he is HAARPing on about...

But as a general rule, ask yourself if you really need to visit any .onion sites. Often the answer will be no. So don't do it unless you have a LOT of protection and you know EXACTLY what you're doing.

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#9 bwv848

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 05:12 PM

You can always try a Tor-based browser on your phone or tablet, if you're hesitating. :) I've tried Tob for iOS, and I quite like it because it doesn't have ads. For Android, I've heard of Orfox.


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#10 BlueGalaxy

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Posted 07 October 2016 - 09:51 PM


Tor is a safe download but check the sha hashes and such, make sure it is the download the tor website actually meant you to get.

 

 

Is it really safe to download Tor?

I tried to download Tor from what seems to be the official website. https://www.torproject.org/download/download-easy.html.en

McAfee Webadvisor displayed a page that the link is dangerous. The file still started to download, and I had to manually cancel it.

XKyVJL.jpg

 

Is it possible that a virus was packaged with the download? I think it would be good to use Tor to prevent spyware from tracking and stealing login data. Why would McAfee Webadvisor try to block the page? Is it possible to use Tor without visiting the deep websites, to just visit normal websites like BleepingComputer anonymously so that spyware won't track you?



#11 rp88

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Posted 11 October 2016 - 02:48 PM

Maybe you tried to visit a fake page claiming to be the tor site, or mcafee might have a false positive. Maybe report it to them, antivirus companies often mark legitimate software/pages as dangerous due to automated definitions systems. It helps them refine their product if people who know a site/program is safe tell them about false positives.

Tor can be used to visit the normal web yes, it lets you visit the normal web but do so in a way that is very hard to trace back to you and can do things like let you browse the web as if you were coming from a different country than the one you are geographically in. Tor ALSO lets you visit dark web onion domains. If you want to use tor to visit the normal web go ahead, any sites you visit on the normal web will be no more or less dangerous than if visited with a normal browser, if you need to be anonymous or appear to the site as coming from a different IP address for some reason when visiting a normal internet website then tor can help with this. Visiting hidden services (another word for .onion websites) on the other hand is something you will not want to do, those sort of sites are generally dangerous. It is perfectly possible to use tor without going anywhere near the dark web, just browse normal sites and stick to normal domains when browsing through it.

Tor will help you avoid tracking but avoiding spyware means avoiding being infected by spyware viruses (tor will not make this any more or less likely). Tor won't help you avoid logins being stolen, actually it may increase this risk if the exit node of tor that you happen to be leaving through when you do the login is using a non-https connection to the website you are logging into.

The key thing to understand is that tor is for ANONYMITY and PRIVACY, NOT SECURITY. It lets you browse the web in ways that make it very hard for governments and isps to track your browsing, it lets you bypass many forms of online censorship, for some people doing those things will be necessary. It doesn't help keep you free of viruses, and if you REALLY NEED it for one of those anonymity reasons then you'll have to take extraordinary care to avoid infection by using security software and best practices. In some circumstances tor may aid security from viruses but that's not the reason to use it. If you want anonymity and a high level of privacy, use it. If it's security you are after it won't help you, you need to use the normal security techniques to protect yourself from viruses and spyware (a type of virus). If it's just advertisers tracking you that worries you set your browser to clear cookies after each close, if it's more sophisticated tracking you are worried about then use tor, but don't expect it to do anything other than make it harder for people to track you, keeping secure is a separate matter.

Edited by rp88, 11 October 2016 - 02:48 PM.

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#12 JohnnyJammer

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Posted 11 October 2016 - 04:35 PM

Also take note that the FBI still to this day has a exploit to obtain your real IP and MAC using Tor and Firefox and also i believe Chrome.

So i wouldn't be thinking its that safe!



#13 quietman7

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Posted 11 October 2016 - 04:54 PM

I have come to the conclusion that if you choose to use the Internet, you should assume nothing is ever totally safe and nothing is ever totally private.
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#14 Animal

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Posted 11 October 2016 - 07:08 PM

+1 To what quietman7 said.

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#15 NickAu

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 08:01 PM

Also take note that the FBI still to this day has a exploit to obtain your real IP and MAC using Tor and Firefox and also i believe Chrome.

So i wouldn't be thinking its that safe!

 

 

 

I agree.

 

Exit nodes can be and have been monitored by law enforcement and they can track you if they really want.


Edited by NickAu, 12 October 2016 - 08:03 PM.





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