Tor is a short form for ‘The Onion Router’. Since 2002, the software has been top on the list of the best security and anonymity browsers in the world – this article will address Tor alternatives in detail. Made by the Tor Project Incorporation, Tor discourages trackers from traffic analysis. At least, it was the best before the FBI hacked Tor in 2014.As part of Operation Torpedo, the FBI succeeded in bursting at least 30 million Tor by the use of malware tricks. Matt Edman, one of the Tor developers, was contracted by the FBI in to bring it. After the compromise, it is not wise to use Tor again as well as users must explore new options as well.
Browsing the internet is like broadcasting on live TV. However, only a pathological socialite would want the world to know how they use the internet. Most people strive to know how they can browse safely. Thus, this article addresses the best alternatives to Tor. It will help you remain safe spending internet data behind the keypad!
By now, it is clear that anyone who wants to have safe internet browsing should keep off ordinary browsers. Chrome, Firefox or any of those popular browsers are easy to track. In reality, they send information to many websites. Thus, it is hard to remain anonymous online when using typical browsers and users tend to go with alternative browsers to stay out of the radar.
For a long time, Tor has been the number one choice for anyone who wished to remain unnoted online. Most of the Tor alternatives could not possibly get there any soon. Generally speaking, the software has accomplished a lot.
Tor Hidden Sites
First, the software helps you find hidden searches. Search engines have deliberate removal of ‘sensitive’ results from their SERPs. However, Tor browser is quick to unhide them all and get you the full effect. That is how the browser helps you find Tor Hidden Sites. Specifically, these websites take part in illegal trades including drug dealing. Therefore, Google and Bing omit such results from their SERPs.
Second, the Tor Browser ensures no one tracks you over the Internet. Tor has some of sophisticated cache systems, which make it hard for trackers to find what you do online. Tor users remain anonymous due to the software’s ability to discourage traffic analysis. Not even your internet providers (ISP) can know what you are doing online.
In actual words, the makers of the Tor software themselves cannot track their very own users. How do they make Tor to be such a superb anonymity software? Well, it’s the secret that has been kept in the dark or at the apex of the world’s privacy software.
But, how hard is it to crack the privacy of Tor browser? At least, Tor has been useful in hiding the identity of online users until 2014 when the National Security Agency (NSA) breached it. Leading tracking agencies such as NSA tried hacking into Tor’s servers in vain. But, in 2014, the NSA successfully hacked into the Tor Project.
As a result of that, Tor got involved in lots of judicial breaches that left it at the centre of espionage. After the compromise on Tor, the next thing was to answer an obvious question: ‘Which is the best Tor browser substitute?’
In essence, finding an online anonymity tool that can articulate as a Tor alternative is not that easy, but the list below spares you the hassle. But as a flashlight here, while Tor was a trusted online partner for most people on the Dark Net, it can no longer have the trust.
Unless they reassure clients of full privacy, it is wise to try Tor browser replacements. Lucky enough, there are several alternatives to Tor. Freenet, I2P, Whonix, Tox, Disconnect are some of the options that work pretty well. Below we list a comprehensive list of 16 tested and safe Tor alternatives for you, let’s dive in then!
FreeNet is one of the best alternatives for Tor; it has both Darknet and OpenNet technologies. Besides, the peer-to-peer security software is plausible in combating censorship. FreeNet lacks a central server and thus, it is hard to hack into their systems.
By far, this means that not even those who maintain the systems can access the details of its users. Also, FreeNet stores the data in peers and all uploaded content goes to its nodes. All the data encryption happens before storage making it a fantastic Tor alternative. Or, doesn’t it?
Well, data is stored in such a way that attackers or trackers cannot intercept form. Noteworthy, the builders of the FreeNet software, cannot tell the kind of data stored by their users. They barely know whether the data is political, sensitive or from the underworld! Could this mean FreeNet is the perfect software/website like Tor? The answer is right ahead!
Something like Tor, I2P utilises DarkNet technology. The Invisible Internet Project (I2P) systems encrypt data in the form of layers. Besides, the I2P makes use of public and private keys to encrypt the network traffic. I2P is an ‘internet within the internet’. This is because it builds a network layer within UDP and TCP/IP sessions. This makes it an ideal storage for personal data and network traffic. In summary, these abilities make I2P a worthy Tor competitor.
So, which is the best privacy software; Tor, I2P or FreeNet? We won’t shy away from addressing this question that has dominated the center stage of most technological debates. Below is a fair comparison of the three programs.
Tor vs I2P vs Freenet
Whether I2P or FreeNet are better than Tor is an eternal debate, but the truth is still out there. Before the compromise by NSA, Tor Project makers had the best security software. Tor’s central database is crucial in determining any hidden services or websites on the internet. It makes the ‘Tor Hidden Sites’ available on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP). Also, accessing onion sites without Tor has proved a hard thing, but now possible with new browsers such as Yandex.
However, some experts say I2P is safer than Tor. As a DarkNet, I2P is network layers that can exist in some other networks. For instance, Web services, Emails, IRC, HTTP as well as Torrents can articulate with I2P. The Threat Model used in I2P is superior enough to earn the reputation as one of the best alternatives to Tor system. I2P creates its very own safe network. Thus, I2P remains safe!
Second, FreeNet is the other good alternative to Tor. Like I2P, FreeNet utilises P2P systems to make online users anonymous. FreeNet has decentralised servers and thus, it is hard to track down users. FreeNet is an impressive software that competes favourably with I2P. Yet, that does not make it competitive enough for Tor.
In the end, finding a perfect alternative for Tor is quite a task. Most of the other software and systems like the I2P or FreeNet function differently from Tor. Therefore, anyone who wants to be immune from tracking should consider the following programs as well.
As a matter of fact, Yandex is one of the best Tor browser replacements. Yandex understands that a similar browser like Tor should be free from tracking. Also, it can scan files and keep users safe from the malware. Yandex Browser is a product of the Russian tech giant- Yandex.
Additionally, the browser houses many plugins oriented for online security and privacy. For instance, ad-blockers and flash-disabling extensions help keep the user safe from unsecured websites. When using the Yandex browser, security systems scan downloadables with an inbuilt Kaspersky anti-virus.
Yandex browser is compatible with Windows 7 and later and runs well on Mac OS X as well as Linux. Yandex is free and downloadable straight from their website.
iPrediaOS is a Linux based OS that could be an ostensible alternative for Tor. It has programmed encryption services that hide users from the sight of watchers. It does this through encrypting the network traffic, making it private and safe from tracking online.
At a monthly fee of $7.99 (a free trial of 5 days is available too), Globus provides you with premium online security and anonymity. As an alternative to Tor browser, Globus uses a VPN network to redirect traffic. This means that once someone tries to track you, he or she will find the Globus servers instead. Moreover, the browser allows you choose the location you want to appear from online.
For instance, you can set your location in Germany while you are still in New York and make the trackers believe it! For malware protection and unblocking of sites, Globus makes use of the Tor network. Thus, you can access onion sites without Tor with Globus! The software is compatible with all the major OSes.
Notably, Whonix is the kind of an Operating System that is in the mind of every person seeking online anonymity. It is one of the security programs based on Tor and runs on the Linux Operating System. Also, it runs on isolation meaning that a user can do anything online without his or her IP address getting revealed over the Internet.
When using Whonix, not even DNS or malware can leak the personal information or location of a user. The software has two main parts. First, the Whonix-Gateway – as the name suggests is a gateway that runs only on Tor. Second, Whonix-WorkStation that runs on an isolated network. But, only connections made on Tor can go through. If used the right way, Whonix can form an efficient replacement for Tor.
Comodo Ice Dragon
The Comodo Ice Dragon browser is a security software that has privacy features as well. Based on FireFox, Ice Dragon has features that allow it to be one of the best secure alternatives Tor browser. Also, it has a safe DNS service that helps speed-up browsing activities. The browser is free!
As the name suggests, Disconnect disconnects users from sites known to track people. It crawls the internet for websites or companies that track users then ask you if you would wish them blocked. Also, Disconnect offers a broad range of browsing experience.
It allows Android, iOS and Windows users to browse and search safely. However, the software is not the ideal sole privacy tool or a perfect alternative to Tor. It is an effective supplement, though. Disconnect costs $5 per month, or you can get the one-year subscription for $50.
Similar to the Tor browser is the Subgraph OS, chiefly. Like Tails, the software utilises the Tor technology. The fortunate thing Subgraph OS is the dedication to privacy and user friendliness. Besides having an ergonomic interface, the Subgraph OS systems are hard to crack or track.
Even more, the software also looks into how safe software installations are to your computer by the use of layers. Between the Subgraph OS, there exist protection layers. Metaproxy, firewall, and hardened kernel are some of them.
This is the favourite online privacy tool for most activists. Safeguarding the online anonymity of its users is Freepto’s priority. The software runs on any computer while remaining saved on a USB stick, making it a portable Tor alternative that you can use anywhere without having to install again and again.
The software, which is Like Tor, runs on Linux OS. No need for alarmed because it encrypts and saves all the data saved on the disk. Thus, the identity of Freepto users cannot leak out to the trackers or hackers – this makes it an excellent Tor alternative.
Whenever you want to block specific individuals or programs from tracking you, install Peerblock! This alternative to Tor prevents any Java communication that could get you tracked. Besides, the Peerblock helps you control the people you interact with on the internet.
Thus, other individuals or programs cannot trace or penetrate into your computer. But, the same happens to yours, too, meaning you cannot get into theirs. However, caution is necessary due to Peerblock’s incapability to stop all trackers from finding you. In short, always use other software to supplement Peerblock. It is free on the market!
Lightweight Portable Security (LPS)
Light Portable Security is also Linux based system. LPS is an Operating System that needs booting from an external memory infrastructure. The LPS acts as an excellent alternative to Tor because it does not communicate to external servers in any way that could be prone to tracking.
If you are a fan of secure messaging apps, this is an option for you to consider trying among all Tor alternatives. Whenever you want messaging services encrypted, Tox is the destination. Tox provides services such as encrypted messages mail, IM, and others. Also, Tox is a trusted provider of secure video conferencing services.
As a secure and privacy-oriented browser, Epic browser is indeed epic! The browser is active in blocking ads and scripts that attempt to track its users. The blocking tendencies are results of the Chromium source code that build the software.
Also, it disables the DNS cache or online auto-fills which prevent third parties from accessing cookies. Epic is a combination of FireFox, Chrome, and Tor. Thus, the software is a perfect alternative browser to Tor.
JonDo Live is yet another Linux-based OS. The popular GNU OS is a foundation for the JonDo Live. Unlike most OSes (operating systems) that come alone, the software comes along with pre-installed programs. These include Tor Browser, Pdigin and Thunderbird.
Of all the known Tor alternatives, Tails is the best in uniqueness. Due to Tails’ complicated systems, it is the safest of all Tor’s supplements. First, Tails is a live OS bootable from any hard disk, DVD or USB disk. Second, the Linux-based OS has several inbuilt programs that make it efficient in use regarding anonymity and security.
For instance, Tails has a browser, office suite as well as audiovisual editing programs. Among other applications within the Tails OS is an IM client and email client. Thus, surfing the internet is as safe as using the computer offline. Third, due to utilising the Tor network, Tails provides other security capabilities. Thus, Tail is far better than Tor when it comes to safety.
With Tails as your Live OS, you are sure of anonymity. Ejecting your disk or memory infrastructure containing Tails helps the computer to leave no trails of evidence, indeed. There is no need to worry even if you were using a friend’s computer on a public network, as everything stored the moment you eject the disk containing the OS.
It is because the computer does not depend on the installed OS. Instead, it boots on the Tails’ external memory. After you eject the memory disk, it goes back to its normal OS.
Moreover, the OS does not use any of the computer memory apart from the RAM. Thus, after a reboot, there is no information saved on the computer. The OS then stores all the data you need, making it an ideal solution for handling sensitive documents.
Many browsers and pieces of software claim to be replacements for Tor but, a close examination shows nothing could be farther from the truth. The compromise on Tor’s services went so far that it hit hard on its users. For instance, most people have not yet adapted to the new reality.
But even so, it is hard to find a tool that works with the perfection of Tor. In basic terms, every program is created different from the other – uniqueness means no other software can fit in Tor’s shoes. So, the programs named above should act as supplements.
Nevertheless, you should try them must; that’s how you’ll discover the jams! Alongside making use of Tor alternatives, using secure VPNs like ExpressVPN or Hide.me alongside with live OSes and anonymity-oriented browsers is the best trick.
What specific tool like Tor you use to keep yourself anonymous? Are there any that you find work better than the ones listed in our article above? If so, please share in the comments below.