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With the next generation of the internet focused on maximum privacy and security, businesses, organizations, and individuals have enforced various ways to maintain them. Censorship has shifted from the streets to the digital domain. That forces the standard citizen to derive methods to maintain anonymity. Primary weapons in this field of privacy and security are the use of VPNs or the Tor Browser.
What is Tor Browser?
Tor which stands for 'The Onion Router," is an open-source privacy network that permits users to browse the web anonymously. Initially, the Tor network was developed and solely used by the U.S navy to protect sensitive government communications before the network was made publicly available. The digital era has disrupted the traditional way of doing things. In every economic sector, the rapid rise in the development and innovation of digital products has given way to frequent data breaches and cyber thefts. In response, consumers are increasingly opting for products that offer data privacy and cyber security.
Tor is one such underground network that was implemented to protect users online. The tor network intercepts the traffic from your browser and bounces a user's request of a random number of other users' IP addresses. Then the data is passed to the user requester's final destination. These random users are volunteer devices which are called nodes or relays.
The tor network disguises your identity by encrypting the traffic and moving it across different tower relays within the network. It uses an onion routing technique for transmitting data hence the original name of the onion router. To operate within the tor network, a user has to install the Tor browser. The Tor network transmits any address or information requested using the Tor browser.
Install Tor Browser on Rocky Linux
This post will give you a step-by-step guide on installing the Tor browser on Rocky Linux. We will look at two main methods:
- Install Tor using the yum repository
- Download and install the Tor Linux package
Method 1: Install Tor Manually (Recommended)
The first method you can use to install Tor is downloading the latest Linux package from their official website and running it on your system. As of writing this post, the latest version is 10.5.8. By the time you read this post, the developers might have already added some updates, including a new version of the Tor browser. Follow the steps below.
Step 1: Install the Wget Utility
If you are a Terminal person, you don't need to download the package the standard way of clicking on the Download button and waiting for the package to download through the browser or the Download Manager application. You can copy the download link and use wget to download the package on your Terminal. Install wget by running the command below on the Terminal.
sudo dnf install wget -y
Step 2: Download the Tor Browser Package
When done installing wget, head over to the official Tor website, right-click on the Download button, and select the option "copy link location" or "copy link address." Next, launch the Terminal and use the syntax below to download Tor.
ls command to confirm your download. The Tor package comes in a
tar.xz format, as shown in the image below.
Extract the package with the syntax below.
tar -xf tor-browser-linux64-10.5.8_en-US.tar.xz
When you rerun the ls command, you should see a new Tor directory, as shown in the image below:
Step 3: Run and Install Tor Browser
Navigate to the newly created Tor directory using the cd command.
When you run the ls command, you will see two files - a browser directory and the
start-tor-browser.desktop file. To launch Tor, run the .desktop file without sudo privileges, as shown below. We will look at the contents of the browser later in the article.
That launches the Tor browser window.
./start-tor-browser.desktopcommand does not install Tor on your system. Therefore, you will not find the app in the applications menu. To install the app, you will need to add the
--register-appparameter as shown below. However, first, ensure you close any running instance of the Tor browser.
You will see the message "Tor Browser has been registered as a desktop app for this user in
~/.local/share/applications/." You can now see the Tor browser app in the applications menu.
Method 2: Install Tor Using the YUM Repository
The other method you can install Tor is through the official yum repository. Follow the steps below.
Step 1: Configure the EPEL Repository
Launch the Terminal and execute the command below.
sudo dnf install epel-release -y
To enable the Tor package repository, you will need to create a new file -
/etc/yum.repos.d/tor.repo and paste the configurations below. Create the new file with the command below.
sudo nano /etc/yum.repos.d/tor.repo
Paste the contents below.
[Tor] name=Tor for Enterprise Linux $releasever - $basearch baseurl=https://rpm.torproject.org/centos/$releasever/$basearch enabled=1 gpgcheck=1 gpgkey=https://rpm.torproject.org/centos/public_gpg.key cost=100
Save the file (Ctrl + S) and Exit (Ctrl + X).
Step 2: Install Tor Browser
Up to this point, we have everything set up, and we can proceed to install the Tor browser. Launch the Terminal and run the command below:
sudo apt update sudo dnf install tor
You might see several prompts during the installation: type Y and hit Enter.
Configure Tor Browser
When you first launch Tor, you will see the window below with two buttons - Tor Network Settings and Connect.
When you click on the Tor Network Settings, a new tab will open, and you see several options, including:
- Quickstart: This option allows Tor to connect automatically every time you launch the app.
- Bridges: Bridges help you access the Tor network in places where Tor is blocked. Depending on where you are, one bridge may work better than the other. You can use an inbuilt bridge that comes available with Tor or request one from torproject.org.
- Advanced - Proxies: If you live in countries like Egypt, China, Turkey, where Tor is blocked, you can set your proxies.
When done, click the Connect button to establish a connection to the Tor network.
After successfully establishing a connection, you can now start browsing with Tor. You will realize that it uses the DuckDuckGo search engine, which offers much more user privacy than other mainstream search engines.
Tor Onion Services
When using the Tor browser, instead of browsing your regular websites, you can decide to visit the online services offered by the Tor network - The .onion sites. The .onion services are only visible on the Tor network, and websites have long names that end with a .onion. These services are private and are not indexed by the standard search engines. They use self-certifying domain names, which are long and complex. Now that you can cram these domain names as they are long and contain combinations of alphanumeric characters, you will need a website that lists the .onion sites and their URLs. One of the oldest and most credible sources where you can find working links is the Hidden Wiki.
.onion equivalent links to some notable websites.
- DuckDuckGo (3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion)
- The New York Times (https://www.nytimes3xbfgragh.onion)
This post has given you a detailed guide to installing and running Tor on your Rocky Linux system. Even though Tor gives you the utmost privacy while browsing online, it also has some downsides. You will notice that sites load much slower than your regular browsers like Firefox, Chrome, etc. Additionally, some sites have blocked Tor, and your browsing might be limited.