Tor, short for The Onion Router, is a free and open-source software that enables anonymous communication over the internet. It works by routing internet traffic through a network of volunteer-run servers, making it difficult for anyone to track the user’s online activity. While Tor is commonly associated with browsing the web anonymously, it has other use cases that are worth exploring. In this article, we will delve into some of the other applications of Tor, such as chatting, sharing files, and hosting websites.
Chatting and Sharing Files
There are chat applications and file-sharing tools that use Tor network to provide anonymity. One such application is Ricochet, a peer-to-peer instant messaging platform that encrypts all messages and routes them through the Tor network. Ricochet does not require any personal information to sign up, and users can communicate with each other without revealing their IP addresses or other identifying information.
Another tool that uses Tor for file sharing is OnionShare. OnionShare allows users to share files securely and anonymously over the Tor network. The tool creates a temporary web server on the user’s computer, which can be accessed by anyone with the unique onion address generated by OnionShare. The files are encrypted and can only be accessed by those who have the onion address.
These tools are particularly useful for journalists, activists, and whistleblowers who need to communicate and share sensitive information without fear of being tracked or monitored. However, they can also be used by anyone who values their privacy and wants to keep their online activity anonymous.
Another lesser-known use case of Tor is hosting websites on the Tor network, known as onion services. These websites have “.onion” top-level domain and can only be accessed via the Tor network. Onion services provide a high degree of anonymity and privacy, as the traffic is encrypted and routed through multiple servers, making it difficult to trace the source of the traffic.
Onion services can be used for a variety of purposes, such as hosting blogs, forums, and marketplaces. One example of an onion service is the popular whistleblower platform, WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks uses an onion service to provide a secure and anonymous platform for whistleblowers to leak sensitive information without fear of being tracked or identified.
However, onion services are not without their challenges. Due to the anonymous nature of the Tor network, it can be difficult to verify the authenticity of the content hosted on onion services. Additionally, onion services are often associated with illegal activities, such as drug trafficking and child pornography, which can tarnish the reputation of the Tor network as a whole.
Task for the Day
If you are interested in exploring some of the other applications of Tor, we recommend trying out some of the tools mentioned in this article. Ricochet and OnionShare are both free and easy to use, and they provide a great introduction to the world of anonymous communication and file sharing. Additionally, you can explore some of the onion services hosted on the Tor network, such as the Hidden Wiki, to get a sense of the types of content that are available on the network.
Tor is a powerful tool that enables anonymous communication and browsing on the internet. While it is commonly associated with browsing the web anonymously, it has other use cases that are worth exploring. Chat applications like Ricochet and file sharing tools like OnionShare provide a secure and anonymous way to communicate and share files online. Additionally, onion services hosted on the Tor network provide a high degree of anonymity and privacy for websites and online platforms. However, it is important to use these tools responsibly and to be aware of the potential risks and challenges associated with anonymous communication and hosting on the Tor network.