Internet users who value online privacy and anonymity will often rely on the Tor Browser to access websites. Using this browser, they can also access the so-called .onion websites, which are not indexed by regular internet search engines. However, the Web2Tor service provides an alternative way to access these sites. It is time to look at how both solutions compare to one another and figure out which solution is best.
2. Onion.cab / Web2Tor Services
Although the Onion.cab platform provides a convenient way for users to access Tor Onion sites, there are some drawbacks to using such a service. The protocol used by Onoin.cab is known as a Web2Tor connection, which serves as a reverse proxy to access the Tor network. However, the user does not need to install the Tor Browser to do so, which makes it seem more appealing to less tech-savvy users.
As one would expect, such services are not unnecessarily privacy-centric by any means. All services such as Onion.cab do is listening on port 80 or 443 on a clearnet server and then proxy requests via Tor to access the .onion site in question. There is no end-to-end encryption involved either, which means anyone can snoop on the connection even though it seemingly occurs over the Tor network. For anyone looking for more privacy, that is anything but positive news.
Moreover, a Web2Tor service provider can see what users are doing at all times. They are even capable of injecting content into the browser, without the user content. This does not mean Onion.cab will do so, yet some services have done so in the past. Moreover, internet service providers can see customers use these “hidden” services to hide their internet activity, which is not beneficial either. Then again, that is the price users pay for this convenient solution.
To make matters even worse, using Web2Tor services means the service provider will set various cookies to track users across hidden services on the Onion network. Even if the user’s IP address changes, the service provider can still track users as long as they keep relying on the same intermediary service to access Tor sites. All things considered, there is no valid reason why anyone would not use the Tor Browser directly, assuming they care about online privacy at all.
1. Tor Browser
Judging from all of the above, there is no real reason not to use the Tor Browser instead. The browser is designed to protect user information and privacy at all times. While it requires users to download a piece of software, that only needs to be done one time. It is no different than installing Chrome, Firefox, or Opera on a new computer either. Anyone who wants to access Onion sites and retain user privacy is better off with the Tor Browser. After all, it provides end-to-end encryption to all users free of charge.
Since the Tor Browser hides online activist from the internet service provider, users can browse the web in a privacy-centric environment. Do keep in mind the experience will be slower compared tor regular browsing, as all traffic needs to pass through relay points. All things considered, anyone looking to browse the web anonymously or access .Onion sites should stick with the Tor Browser instead of using online intermediary services.
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