The Onion Router, or TOR, is a free tool for security your anonymity online. It routes the user through a series of servers located all across the globe to connect him to his destination. With the reports of NSA poking its nose in our personal lives, it has become important that we take our privacy and anonymity seriously the next time we are surfing the World Wide Web. And what better way could there be than to use TOR for this purpose.

Despite the claims of TOR being almost untraceable, there are chances that you might do something, which might expose your identity online. In order to experience a carefree net surfing session, you must take care of the points given below. So, let’s start!

1. Do not use Windows!

If privacy is your main concern while using TOR then it is advisable that you do not bundle it with Windows. Always use Linux based systems like Tails, or Whonix in order to remain completely anonymous. The problem with Windows is that it contains several vulnerabilities and bugs which could have a devastating effect on your online privacy.

2. Disable JavaScript, Flash, and Java

Binary applications such as JavaScript, Flash, and Java are capable of accessing and sharing your data since they operate with your user account’s privileges. Almost every website uses JavaScript to track its users. Whereas Java and Flash are capable of bypassing TOR’s protection by ignoring the proxy settings on your device. And even TOR is incapable of protecting your online anonymity when such agents are capable of interacting with the web directly without being routed through TOR.

3. Never use P2P

The TOR network was never intended to be used for P2P sharing. Downloading torrents over TOR network slows down the browsing of other networks. Apart from this, if you’re adamant on downloading files over P2P then beware! This might compromise with your online anonymity. If you’re using BitTorrent clients with TOR then you’re allowing such clients to send your IP address to other peers as well as the trackers, directly.  And once such a communication is made, your online identity is exposed to anyone in charge of such traffic.

4. Delete your Cookies and Local Data

Although, TOR may direct your data through a series of relays in order to hide your online identity. But it is possible that the websites can use cookies, local data, and other network packets for tracking your online activities. You’re not completely anonymous on the TOR network unless you delete your cookies and local data at regular intervals.

5. Do not ‘Google’

Popular search engines like Google are notorious for storing your browsing information and search data while you’re looking up for something on the internet. This enables them to show personalized ads onto the user’s device. Thus, it is advisable that you should not ‘Google’ something while using TOR. Instead of Google, you could use DuckDuckGo or Startpage to the same effect. These search engines do not keep a log of your IP or stores cookies onto your computer. Thus, while using TOR, use such alternatives to keep your anonymity intact.

6. Never send unencrypted data over TOR

TOR only encrypts your connection and not the data that you send over it. This makes anyone who is in control of the exit nodes, access such sensitive information. Thus, it is highly advisable that you must always send encrypted data over the TOR network to keep your privacy concerns at bay.

Conclusion

Yes, TOR has helped us to browse the internet in the most secure way possible. However, there have been instances where people have been busted mainly because they have been careless on the network. We have enumerated such situations, where your anonymity might be compromised with. Just keep the points mentioned above in mind to avoid a situation where your online identity could be exposed even while you’re using TOR.