For ISPs, there is a retention of one year related to your internet behavior. You’re email, visited Internet sites and newsgroups will be registered. The providers are also able to log the contents of this Internet traffic. Everyone has his own reasons to go anonymously on the Internet. For example, you do a search on Google, your ISP sees this query and Google will see your unique Internet address (IP number) from which your identity can be determined. Using TOR (The Onion Route) software allows you to avoid both.
How TOR works
The Tor project provides software that makes it possible to send network traffic through bridges and relays (servers). These bridges and relays do not know where the traffic comes from and the bridges are randomly chosen. The more bridges and relays, the more anonymous it is. Now do a search in Google using TOR. You surf as usual with your browser to the URL of Google, but this time it does not directly request to Google, but the relays to which connection is made. This takes a shell of the encryption and then send your request to a second random relays. This removes another shell and request it on to third (exit) node, which encrypts the last shell and request it to Google. The route back from Google to your PC is again the same way through three relays.
How to use Vidalia Tor Bundle
You can use Vidalia with different browsers, you only have to change the connection settings. The Tor Bundle include a Firefox browser to let you browse anonymous. The Tor Project advise you to use this package to surf save and anonymous but you can use also your own browser to browse using another IP address. The Tor Browser Bundle lets you use Tor on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux without needing to install any software. It can run off a USB flash drive. If you would prefer to use your existing web browser, install Tor permanently. There are many ways to download Tor. The Tor Browser will block browser plugins such as Flash, RealPlayer, Quicktime, and others: they can be manipulated into revealing your IP address. They recommend not to use the plugins.
You have different options to download this software, choose first your operating system and choose the package what you want:
- Tor Browser Bundle lets you use Tor on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux without needing to install any software. It can run off a USB flash drive, comes with a pre-configured web browser called Aurora, and is self-contained.
- Vidalia Bundle includes Tor, Vidalia, Polipo, and Torbutton. You have to use your own web browser, the Tor button will be installed in Firefox on the right lower part, so you can switch in one click to Tor or browse on the regular way
- Vidalia Relays Bundle, which is configured to be a bridge by default. This helps censored users reach the Tor network.
- Vidalia Bridge Bundle, helps to configure your Tor to be a relay too.
- Vidalia Exit Bundle, is configured to be a default as exit relay.
- Expert bundle, contains just Tor and nothing else. You’ll need to configure Tor and all of your applications manually.
Some bundles have also different languages. Once you downloaded and installed the bundle, you can start Tor by double-click on Start Tor Browser, now Vidalia will start and looking for a network. Once it is connected Firefox will open and you can start browsing the internet anonymous. For normal use you don’t have to change anything, only important is the Use a new Identity button. When you click on this button you can use another path and you will get a new IP address. This can be interesting if your current connection is very slow.
The TOR network runs by volunteers, each gives a piece of their bandwidth available. The speed you are browsing depends on the slowest relays. This means that the pages may load a bit slower than usual. In general, the connection is fast enough for comfortable browsing. If you have taken an extremely slow network, you can try it with a different identity to make it faster.