How To Use Tor for Linux
Would you like to surf with anonymity? The Onion Router (TOR) directs online traffic via a volunteer overlay network. Also, Tor’s goal is to protect the user’s freedom and privacy. Even so, Ubuntu users be careful; the Tor project suggests not installing Tor from Ubuntu’s regular software repositories. Here is how to install and use Tor for Linux.
What is Tor?
Tor is an overlay of a network that, when used effectively, provides anonymity to users. Also, with Tor, no one can track your activity back to your IP address. The reason being, the traffic that travels along the Tor network gets encrypted. Besides providing anonymity to people, encryption leads to a networking problem.
Moreover, Tor network traffic cannot work with regular switching and routing elements of the internet. Instead, Tor relays maintained and hosted by volunteers perform the switching and routing. So, the relays bounce your connection between numerous relays. Yet, to reach your destination, the routing doesn’t get required.
Another reason it is challenging to track Tor users is the “bouncing” that takes place. Considering the network’s uniqueness, criminals use the network to host many websites. In turn, the websites get used for criminal activities like the sale of illegal drugs. The Tor network composes a big part of the darknet.
However, not all activity in the Tor network is illegal. For instance, the following people also use the Tor network:
Dissidents in repressive regimes
Anonymous press sources
Note that Tor aided services have addresses ending in the “.onion” suffix. The websites won’t show up on Google and can’t get viewed or accessed by a standard internet browser. Only the Tor browser can visit those sites. Also, you can use Tor to visit regular websites with additional anonymity.
How to Install the Tor Browser
Notably, the Tor project advises against installing pre-packaged versions of the Tor browser. Especially those from the Ubuntu repositories. The versions haven’t gotten updated by the Ubuntu community in the past. You should only install it from the official Tor website.
Besides, the Tor Project also offers official repositories for Debian and Ubuntu. But the following guidelines will work on any Linux distribution.
First, browse the Tor project download page and select the penguin. When the browser opts to open or save the file, pick the save file option. Now, let us assume the file got saved on the Downloads directory. Once updated versions of the Tor browser get released, the version numbers in the filename change.
Moreso, part of the filename indicates the language. For example, “en-US” means US English.
A .tar.xz file gets downloaded. So then, it needs to get uncompressed and untarred. The reason being, so that we use its contents. The process can get done in several ways. For instance, when you right-click on the file, a context menu appears. From the menu, select “Extract Here.”
However, if your context menu doesn’t have an “Extract Here” option, close it. After that, double-click the downloaded file. Then, your file manager might extract the content in the file for you.
Open a terminal window in your Downloads directory if it doesn’t work. Use the following command: tar -xvJf tor -browser -Linux-8.5. You should note that the “J” in xvJf is in uppercase.
So, either way, the file will be untarred and uncompressed for you. A new directory will get created in the Downloads folder. To make the file manager change, double-click the new directory. There’s another directory inside the first one, just like Russian dolls.
Run from the Directory
You have a choice to either do a system install or run from the Directory. You go ahead and use the Tor browser now that you downloaded and extracted it, with no further installation steps. Also, you have the choice of performing a tighter level of integration with a system-level installation.
In both cases, the operation of the Tor browser is similar. In addition, bug fix patches and security updates will find and update the browser either way.
The Tor browser should have a light touch on your device as possible. Also, it is perfectly fine not to get the Tor browser embedded into your system. You will still be anonymous and protected even when you use it directly from the directory. Some people prefer this option. If you are one of them, follow the steps below.
How to use Tor for Linux from the Tor Directory
First, open a terminal window at the directory. This is to start the Tor browser directly from the location.
Using Tor for Linux from the System Level Integration
To start, open a terminal window at this location. Next, you will want to install the Tor browser into a system folder. For that reason, you will need to move the following directory, tor-browser_en-US, into the /opt directory. In Linux, that is the usual location for user-installed programs.
You should ensure to use sudo, and you will get prompted for your password. You can do this with the command below:
sudo mv tor-browser_en-US / opt
The folder will vanish from the file manager window and move to the new location. To get to the /opt/tor-browser_en-US directory, change the directory in the terminal window.
After that, we see another directory and file with a “.desktop” extension using the 1s to list the contents of this directory. To register the application with your desktop environment, we need to run the “.desktop” file.
When the Tor browser gets launched, a dialog window appears. After that, clicking the “Configure” button allows you to set a proxy to let you use Tor in countries where its use gets restricted.
How to Access an Onion Site on Linux
Some websites have a presence both on the clear web and the Tor network. For example, the search engine DuckDuckGo does this. The Tor browser has a fast way of connecting you to the DuckDuckGo “.onion” site.
Select the “New to Tor Browser?” link in the top left corner of the browser window. Then, hit the “Onion Services” link, then select the “Visit an Onion” button. Next, you will get taken to the DuckDuckGo “.onion” site.
To see the route your connection takes, click on the green onion logo in the site information field. In addition, to see your current security level, click on the shield icon in the top right of the browser toolbar.
When using Tor, be wary, be safe, be cautious and be careful
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