Here’s how you can install the Tor browser in Ubuntu and other distributions and use it.
The Onion Router, shortened as “Tor”, is a free and open-source software package which enables anonymous communication over the internet. Developed by the United States Naval Research Lab in 1990, it “routes” your traffic through thousands of volunteer-based relay networks and exit nodes. Hence, it conceals your actual IP address and location to protect your privacy over the internet.
However, Tor is not a VPN and can only protect your data when routed through its network.
The popular Tor web browser provides you easy access to the anonymous network while using it from your standard or privacy-based Linux distros.
“We believe everyone should be able to explore the internet with privacy. We are the Tor Project, a 501(c)(3) US nonprofit. We advance human rights and defend your privacy online through free software and open networks”The Tor Team
Here’s how you can install it and some usage guide for you.
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Tor browser is available for download from the official website (link below). And also available as a Flatpak bundle, making it easier to use in every distribution.
Download the zip file from the above link, and extract it. Go to the folder tor-browser/Browser and run the following script to launch it.
If you want to use Flatpak (recommended), set up your system for Flatpak and use the following command to install it.
flatpak install com.github.micahflee.torbrowser-launcher
After installation, you can find the Tor icon in the application menu.
Note: You can download this browser for Windows, macOS and Android mobile phones from the above link.
Basic Usage guide of Tor browser
You must connect to the Tor network whenever you launch the Tor browser. Then start browsing. To do that, click on the Connect button, as shown below.
After a successful connection, you can browse the internet as you do today in all web browsers. The default search engine in the Tor browser is Duck Duck Go, which is a privacy-friendly web search engine.
One of the important pieces of information you should know is that Tor is based on Mozilla Firefox, hence all the Firefox extensions shall work in this browser.
However, the Tor team installs and enables the “noscript” extension for you, which takes care of ad-block and other iframe injections on webpages.
Important Notes, Do’s and Don’ts while using Tor browser, network
Before using the Tor browser, you should keep a few things in mind. Because just using Tor won’t make you completely anonymous. You need to take certain precautions. Here are some of them:
- Keep your system up-to-date. This includes Linux, macOS or Windows; make sure you use the latest operating system and Tor browser version.
- Don’t use any personal information in any website forms while using Tor (such as mobile number, date of birth etc.). Also, don’t save the form data.
- Try not to use Google search in Tor or login into your Google account. Use the default Duck-Duck-Go search engine.
- Don’t use or visit websites that use HTTP only. Visit only HTTPS websites.
- Delete cookies and cached data while closing the Tor browser.
- Do not do any financial transactions over the Tor browser (such as your banking login, fund transfer, etc.)
- Try not to visit Torrent download websites
Tor can provide you with the tools to protect you. But at the end of the day, you must safeguard yourself from phishing emails and clicking unknown links. If you follow best practices, use the above tips and be alert, then it might be the best browser, combined with privacy-focused Linux distributions and search engines.