Tor Browser Bundle protects your privacy and defends you against network surveillance and traffic analysis. The protects you by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location, and it lets you access sites which are blocked.
The Tor Browser Bundle can run off a USB flash drive, comes with a pre-configured web browser to protect your anonymity, and is self-contained.
Tor Browser is a free browser that lets you protect your online identity and maintain anonymity of your traffic while browsing.
Tor Browser makes it possible for you to maintain privacy and from online threats via “onion routing.” This routing technique encrypts your data and then bounces it across the Tor network of computers, rather than connecting you directly to your destination. The result is anonymized internet traffic, and protection of your identity.
Tor Browser also lets you access blocked websites, as it prevents them from learning where your location is. It also prevents anyone from spying on your Internet traffic. The browser itself automatically deletes cookies and browsing history.
Journalists use Tor to communicate more safely with whistleblowers and dissidents. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) use Tor to allow their workers to connect to their home website while they’re in a foreign country, without notifying everybody nearby that they’re working with that organization.
Groups such as Indymedia recommend Tor for safeguarding their members’ online privacy and security. Activist groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recommend Tor as a mechanism for maintaining civil liberties online. Corporations use Tor as a safe way to conduct competitive analysis, and to protect sensitive procurement patterns from eavesdroppers. They also use it to replace traditional VPNs, which reveal the exact amount and timing of communication. Which locations have employees working late? Which locations have employees consulting job-hunting websites? Which research divisions are communicating with the company’s patent lawyers?
A branch of the U.S. Navy uses Tor for open source intelligence gathering, and one of its teams used Tor while deployed in the Middle East recently. Law enforcement uses Tor for visiting or surveilling web sites without leaving government IP addresses in their web logs, and for security during sting operations.
Our old screen had way too much information for the users, leading many of them to spend great time confused about what to do. Some users at the paper experiment spent up to 40min confused about what they needed to be doing here. Besides simplifying the screen and the message, to make it easier for the user to know if they need to configure anything or not, we also did a ‘brand refresh’ bringing our logo to the launcher.
Censorship circumvention configuration
This is one of the most important steps for a user who is trying to connect to Tor while their network is censoring Tor. We also worked really hard to make sure the UI text would make it easy for the user to understand what a bridge is for and how to configure to use one. Another update was a little tip we added at the drop-down menu (as you can see below) for which bridge to use in countries that have very sophisticated censorship methods.
Proxy help information
The proxy settings at our Tor Launcher configuration wizard is an important feature for users who are under a network that demands such configuration. But it can also lead to a lot of confusion if the user has no idea what a proxy is. Since it is a very important feature for users, we decided to keep it in the main configuration screen and introduced a help prompt with an explanation of when someone would need such configuration.
As part of our work with the UX team, we will also be coordinating user testing of this new UI to continue iterating and make sure we are always improving our users’ experience. We are also planning a series of improvements not only for the Tor Launcher flow but for the whole browser experience (once you are connected to Tor) including a new user onboarding flow. And last but not least we are streamlining both our mobile and desktop experience: Tor Browser 7.5 adapted the security slider design we did for mobile bringing the improved user experience to the desktop as well.
- We ship the first release in Tor’s 0.3.2 series, 0.3.2.9. This release includes support for the Next Generation of Onion Services.
- On the security side we enabled content sandboxing on Windows and fixed remaining issues on Linux that prevented printing to file from working properly. Additionally, we improved the compiler hardening on macOS and fixed holes in the W^X mitigation on Windows.
- We finally moved away from Gitian/tor-browser-bundle as the base of our reproducible builds environment. Over the past weeks and months rbm/tor-browser-build got developed making it much easier to reproduce Tor Browser builds and to add reproducible builds for new platforms and architectures. This will allow us to ship 64bit bundles for Windows (currently in the alpha series available) and bundles for Android at the same day as the release for the current platforms/architectures is getting out.
What’s New to Tor Browser:
- Update Firefox to 60.5.1esr
- Update HTTPS Everywhere to 2019.1.31
- Bug 29378: Remove 18.104.22.168 from default bridges
- Bug 29349: Remove network.http.spdy.* overrides from meek helper user.js
- Build SystemAll Platforms
- Bug 29235: Build our own version of python3.6 for HTTPS Everywhere
- Bug 29167: Upgrade go to 1.11.5
- Bug 29183: Use linux-x86_64 langpacks on linux-x86_64
Overall, Tor Browser for Windows is a simple, well organized and effective tool for users who are concerned about security or invasions of privacy whilst they are online. The browser interface is a standard, user friendly affair and the application is relatively lightweight.