Out now is the 7th major version of the #Tor Browser, based on Firefox 52 Extended Support Release (ESR) core. The Tor Project’s previous version was 6.5.2, which offered anonymous communication by directing Internet traffic through a volunteer network made up of more than 7,000 relays. Version 7.0 works the same, but it includes many security and performance improvements, including support for multi-process architecture and Electrolysis sandboxing.

How Tor works

Tor stands for The Onion Router, a network that can be used to surf anonymously over the internet. All traffic is guided through different Tor routers, and it is almost impossible for the receiver to determine who the original sender is.

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Onion routing is the basic principle of Tor, developed by Nick Mathewson and Roger Dingledine in 2002. Its alpha version was named “The Onion Routing Project” before going by the more recognizable “Tor Project,” now backed by individual sponsors and multiple NGOs, along with the U.S. and Swedish governments.

What makes Tor a standout is the fact that anonymity is not limited to standalone users alone. The Onion Router also secures servers and websites from third parties by way of hidden services.

Tor’s multi-process architecture

Since 2009, Mozilla had been busy modifying Firefox into a browser that can handle one process per tab. Known as Electrolysis, this process separates the browser UI from the content into two main processes. In effect, a page wouldn’t experience lags no matter how heavy is.

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Firefox finally received this feature last year, and as Tor 7.0 is based on Firefox 52, this will keep performance issues at bay.

Firefox amends vulnerabilities

In November, a vulnerability in Mozilla’s Firefox browser was used to attack Tor Browser users. Dan Guido, CEO of Trail of Bits, a security research company, called the attack the work of an amateur, implying that Mozilla’s browser, on which the Tor Browser is based, is about four years behind everyone else in security. Guido added it would’ve been more difficult to use an exploit against Chrome, which has better memory sandboxes and exploit mitigations than Firefox does.

With this in mind, both Tor and Mozilla worked hard to make amendments. The multi-process mode also enabled security sandboxes for extensions and web content.

The Tor Browser Bundle lets you use Tor on Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux without needing to install any software. It can run off a USB flash drive, comes with a pre-configured web browser to protect your anonymity, and is self-contained. #Mozilla Firefox #web security