Tor

The bundle comes with three applications: Tor, Vidalia and Privoxy. The core tool anonymises web browsing, instant messaging, FTP and other Internet Protocol applications. It’s a type of server that redirects packets of data onto other Tor servers in the network. This means that if you browse a website, you’re connecting through the Tor network rather than directly from your internet service provider. In turn, other people’s data is routed through your Mac.

Tor is a command-line application – and that’s where Vidalia comes in. It’s a GUI for Tor that enables you to control, monitor and configure the installation. Finally, Privoxy is a client side web proxy that integrates with Tor and lets you browse anonymously while blocking ads and pop-ups.

Why would anyone want to install Tor on their machine? There are a host of genuine and legitimate reasons why you might want to hide your location. It can put port-sniffing hackers off your scent, add security to online banking, and make e-commerce transactions safer. It can stop unscrupulous ad servers from collecting and collating personal data about you too. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which distributes Tor, has a long history of campaigning for privacy on the internet.

On the other hand, personalisation of content can be a positive thing. For example, Google redirects to the UK version of the service based on data it gleans from your HTTP headers. Tor would prevent the correct location from being identified.

OUR VERDICT

To decide whether Tor is best for you, visit this link. It’s not an easy installation, but it is one of the most effective privacy tools we’ve discovered.

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