As members of the Patriot Privacy and Security Society know,
our goal is to provide you with valuable and timely information that you can use to enhance your privacy and security. That process begins from the moment you receive the Patriot Privacy Kit eBook. But, as you might expect, the privacy and security knowledge base is always changing. Therefore, we want to do everything we can to keep you informed of those changes.
Recently, several members of the society have asked me if
Tor is still a safe way to surf the web anonymously. First, the question makes me smile because it means you’ve read the Patriot Privacy Kit eBook closely and are using the information and techniques contained in the materials. Second, the answer is yes – with a few caveats.
On page 22 of your Patriot Privacy Kit eBook, Tor is discussed under the heading “Use a Secure Internet Browser” that begins on page
20. After discussing a number of ways to browse the Internet, the book discusses Tor, stating:
“A more anonymous choice is Tor Browser: https://www.torproject.org/
This browser allows you to be anonymous by bouncing queries and identities off a series of relays run by volunteers so that spies would not be able to track your movements. This process slows down browsing but is effective.”
That statement remains accurate.
But, because of documents revealed by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, we now know more about the level of security Tor provides.
Bottom line: In the opinion of the NSA, Tor is the most secure of the anonymous browsers available.
Does that mean Tor can’t be defeated by the NSA? No.
Under certain circumstances, the NSA can penetrate Tor. However,
the NSA documents – and analysis of those documents by a number of differentcryptanalysts – provide information on how the NSA is able to sometimespenetrate Tor. With that knowledge, steps can be taken to decrease the likelihood that Tor can be penetrated.
More important, it’s unlikely that almost anyone would need a NSA level of protection. What we do know is that Tor will protect you from hackers, stalkers, private and corporate spies and most every other type of threat to your privacy and security when viewing web sites.
With that understanding, I want to provide you with a number of recent articles about Tor that you can review and evaluate. I suggest you print them or bookmark them and keep them with your Patriot Privacy Kit eBook as a supplement to the section on secure browsing.
Tor: ‘The king of high-secure, low-latency anonymity’ – Extracts from top-secret NSA document acknowledge the fundamental security of the Tor protection tool and say ‘there are no contenders to the throne in waiting.’
Everything you need to know about the NSA and Tor in one FAQ
– This article by the Washington Post is a good primer on Tor and the NSA.
Secret NSA documents show campaign against Tor encrypted network – This article, also by the Washington Post, examines the methods the NSA used to attempt to penetrate Tor. Importantly, it also reports that the people who operate Tor are responding to the weaknesses that have been exposed.
How the NSA attacks Tor/Firefox users with QUANTUM and FOXACID
– A very technical look at the NSA’s methods.
A review of these articles teaches us that the NSA has and, presumably, still can defeat Tor.
But, for the privacy and security purposes of almost any user of the Internet, Tor is still the king.
Be safe and secure,