Tor browser

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The Tor group just released the latest version of Tor browser, known as 6.0. I use Tor browser a lot. It is the only browser I know that confers anonymity automatically as you browse with it. Just like any good VPN. As a matter of fact, it is the most well known browser for accessing the Dark Web. Tor’s spinoff operating system Tails, is another product from the group that grants you anonymity by default. Though, we still await the in-built VPN Opera is thinking of adding to their browsers.

Tor browser

According to Tor, Tor browser 6.0 is the first release that is very staple. One can download it from the in-built updater in Tor browser or from their distribution directory. To use the built-in updater, just click the onion shaped icon at the top left hand corner of Tor browser, then click ‘Check for Tor browser update…’ at the bottom of the drop down menu.

Tor Browser Changes Default Search Engine

Formerly, the search provider was Disconnect. The Tor team still uses that. But to provide search results, the default search engine is now DuckDuckGo. This has something to do with the fact that Bing search results were not up to standard. One can also still use Bing and Yahoo on Tor though. It is just that the default search is now DuckDuckGo.

What about Google search? That hasn’t being in use since Google stopped Disconnect for Android two years ago. This is what Tor had to say about the search engine situation:

A note on our search engine situation: Lately, we got a couple of comments on our blog and via email wondering why we are now using DuckDuckGo as the default search engine and not Disconnect anymore. Well, we still use Disconnect. But for a while now Disconnect has no access to Google search results anymore which we used in Tor Browser. Disconnect being more a meta search engine which allows users to choose between different search providers fell back to delivering Bing search results which were basically unacceptable quality-wise. While Disconnect is still trying to fix the situation we asked them to change the fallback to DuckDuckGo as their search results are strictly better than the ones Bing delivers.”

SHA-1 Certificates Disabled

SHA-1 certificates, that for long have being a vital part of the codes and protocols used for apps security, is now no longer part of Tor browser. The main reason is that SHA-1 certificates are no longer secure as they used to be. With the advent of more advanced bugs, it was natural that protocols like SHA-1 would lose their effectiveness.

Other companies too intend to stop using these certificates. Or are in the process of switching to better security protocols. For instance, for Windows 10 anniversary, the updates for Edge and Internet Explorer would disable support for SHA-1 certificates. Google too is going the same way for Chrome. And Mozilla are targeting next year to completely phase out SHA-1 certificates.

Basically, SHA-1 has being obsolete for a while now. Tor just became the first to actually reflect that in their own browser.

This first stable release of the Tor browser is also based on Firefox algorithms. So no changes there as Tor browser has always being based on Firefox. Since it is using the latest Firefox codes, it means HTML5 is fully supported. So watching content like YouTube videos would be a fantastic experience with no need to install any third party flash player. In any case, Tor already blocks flash and some plugins. Besides, I have never really seen the sense in installing plugins and add-ons on Tor browser. They slow down the browser and can easily blow open your real location.

I just updated my Tor browser. And I must confess I do like the performance. My anonymity increased by 10% according to whoer.net.

 

photo credit: bp.blogspot.com

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