The Tor Project says that you can’t run the full version of the anonymizing Tor browser on a Chromebook. But, by using your Chromebook’s Linux subsystem, you can install and use it very easily. Here’s how.
What Is Tor?
The Tor Project has created a free, anonymizing computer network that anyone can use to maintain their privacy online. The Tor network uses the regular internet infrastructure along with its own overlay network of volunteer-provided Tor nodes. These do the routing for the Tor network traffic. They encrypt your traffic and use other tricks to make back-tracing and identifying your IP address difficult to the point of being almost impossible.The Tor browser allows you to access websites on the Tor network as well as on the regular web, which is known as the clear web. In both cases, your network traffic is routed over the Tor network. But remember that your traffic has to emerge from the cover of the Tor network to access the website you wish to visit. If the website uses the HTTPS protocol, your connection will still be encrypted and inaccessible to others. If the website uses the older HTTP protocol, your traffic will not be secure. Using a virtual private network (VPN) provides protection for that last step of the connection and is highly recommended.
However, the Tor browser’s main purpose isn’t clear-web browsing. In fact, it would make your connection seem a bit sluggish and would degrade your user experience. Its true purpose is to visit sites on the Tor network itself, which are called onion sites. These have an “.onion” extension and cannot be reached using a regular browser.
The Tor network is a darknet and a part of the dark web. There’s a lot of dreadful content on the dark web. You should only visit the dark web if you have a good or otherwise compelling reason to do so. And there are many valid reasons—the dark web isn’t all bad.
Oct 05, 2010 10.5.10 (91.2.0-Release) Oct 27th, 2021. Tor Browser is the official browser for Tor Project, the team behind Orbot. Now you can surf the Internet completely anonymously and securely, hiding your online identity under several layers of security. Orbot, as many users already know, is a version of the Tor network.
In some repressive regimes, Tor is the only way to reach clear-web websites that have been banned in those countries. Most major newspapers own an onion site on the Tor network so that anonymous sources can deliver stories and tip-offs while remaining anonymous.
- We do not recommend installing additional add-ons or plugins into Tor Browser. Plugins or addons may bypass Tor or compromise your privacy. Tor Browser already comes with HTTPS Everywhere, NoScript, and other patches to protect your privacy and security. Download.apk aarch64 Sig Download.apk arm Sig Download.apk x8664 Sig Download.apk.
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How Can You Run Tor on Chromebooks?
The Tor website says that there is no official Tor client for ChromeOS. There is a Tor Android app and, because Chromebooks can run Android apps, you can use that on your Chromebook. However, it’s not ideal. The websites that you visit think that you’re on a mobile device (such as a smartphone). The version of the website that you’ll see is the responsive one. These are tailored for small portrait-mode screens.
Luckily, there is a simple way to install a genuine Tor browser on your Chromebook. It uses the Linux subsystem for ChromeOS. If you haven’t activated Linux on your Chromebook, you’ll need to do that first.
The Linux subsystem might not be available on older Chromebook models. If the setting described in the next section doesn’t appear in your ChromeOS settings, then sadly, you’re out of luck.
Turning on the ChromeOS Linux Subsystem
First, you’ll need to turn on Chrome OS’s Linux subsystem.
Click the notification area (system tray) to open the Settings menu and click the cogwheel icon.
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On the Settings page, type “linux” into the search bar.
Click the “Turn On” button beside the “Linux Development Environment (Beta)” entry.
A confirmation window will appear to let you know that a download is about to happen.
Click the “Next” button to move to the next page.
Enter a user name, and leave the disk size option at the default setting. Click the “Install” button to start the installation process. This will take a few minutes. When the setup completes, you’ll see the Linux terminal window and a command prompt with a blinking cursor.
Note that the command prompt includes the user name you chose earlier. In this example, it was “dave.”
To find out a little bit about the Linux environment we’re running in, type this command and then hit the “Enter” key. You’ll need to hit the “Enter” key each time you enter a command in the terminal window.
Some interesting information is displayed for us. The most important thing is that we now know which version of Linux this subsystem is based on. It’s Debian Linux. Debian uses the APT software installation system, or “package manager,” in Linux-speak.
We will use APT to install the Tor browser.
Installing the Tor Browser
Copy and paste the next line into the terminal window. Note that if you’re using the keyboard to paste into the terminal window, the keystrokes are “Ctrl+Shift+V”, not “Ctrl+V.”
When we tell the APT system to install a package for us, it searches through several locations to try to find the package. This command sets up an additional location for APT to search.
Now, we’ll tell our Linux subsystem to check for any updates.
When that command completes, we’ll install the Tor browser launcher. Cut and paste this command into the Linux terminal window, and then hit “Enter.”
You’ll see a lot of output scrolling past and a text-based progress bar at the bottom of the window. You might be prompted to confirm that you’re sure that you wish to install the launcher. If you’re prompted, press “Y” and hit “Enter.”
When the installation completes, we can launch the Tor browser launcher.
What we’ve installed is a small program that downloads the actual Tor browser installation files, checks the integrity of the download against signatures and checksums, and, if all is well, installs it for us.
Wait for the files to download and install.
A connection dialog box will appear. Click the “Connect” button.
Wait while yet another progress bar slowly creeps to 100%.
Then, at last, the Tor browser will appear.
You’ll probably find it convenient to add the Tor browser to the pinned apps on your shelf. Right-click the Tor browser icon on your shelf and select “Pin” from the context menu.
To launch the Tor browser in the future, just click the icon on your shelf.
There will be a short delay while it gets prepared and configures itself, and then the Tor browser will launch.
Making Tor Safer on Chrome OS
Let’s increase the security level of the browser. Click the three-line menu icon at the top right of the browser window.
From the menu, select “Preferences.”
When the settings window appears, click “Privacy and Security” in the list of options on the left-hand side of the screen. If you have the browser window set to a narrow width, the option is replaced by a padlock icon. Set the “Security Level” to the “Safest” setting.
Now that you have the Tor browser configured, you’re good to go and visit onion sites. But where are they? Well, it’s a little bit Catch-22. If you know why you need to be on the dark web, you should know where you need to go to.
The dark web doesn’t have an equivalent to Google. At least, there’s nothing that you can trust that won’t point you to fake sites and endless scams. So you can’t search for a topic and get a list of links to different sites. This isn’t the clear web.
But the only way to prove that your Tor browser is functioning correctly is to visit some onion sites. So here are some safe ones.
- DuckDuckGo: The privacy-focussed search engine. This still only searches the clear web, of course. Find it at https://3g2upl4pq6kufc4m.onion/
- CIA: The Central Intelligence Agency’s onion site. It’s at http://ciadotgov4sjwlzihbbgxnqg3xiyrg7so2r2o3lt5wz5ypk4sxyjstad.onion/index.html/
- New York Times: The New York Times maintains several onion sites. This site provides its news to anyone who can reach it, including from regions where outside news is banned: https://www.nytimes3xbfgragh.onion/
For maximum security, use the Tor browser with a VPN (ExpressVPN is our favorite), and only go onto the dark web with a specific purpose in mind. Casual tourism doesn’t count.
ExpressVPN is our top VPN pick. It has a Chrome OS app that will protect Linux apps like the Tor browser, too.READ NEXT
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Tor browser is a 100% free software designed specifically to enable users to anonymously make searches through different search engines and use the Dark Web. Along with searching anonymously, users are also able to share files or make communications through different platforms without being tracked by any network surveillance systems. Tor browser also has the capacity to hide a user’s actual location, keeping them anonymous through the software’s overlay network.
This software is designed for organizations, journalists, and anyone who desires to keep their internet activity private whilst being able to communicate with others with the utmost confidentiality. This software has a number of features and one of them is blockage of trackers, defending you against surveillance and resistance fingerprinting which is based on the browser and devices you are using.
Tor browser is available for desktop and mobile devices powered by Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android making the software accessible to everyone.
Follow the steps below and I’ll show you to download the Tor Browser for free.
How to Download and Install Tor Browser for Free
- Click the Download button on the sidebar and the official Tor Browser download page will open in a new tab.
- Tor has download options for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Choose the one for your operating system and the exe file will automatically download.
- When the file download is complete, double click on it to begin the installation process.
- Choose your preferred language and click OK.
- Select the destination folder you want the program installed on, or just use the default option. Then click Install, and the browser will be installed on your computer.
- When the installation is complete, press the Finish button and the browser will open automatically.
How to Uninstall Tor Browser
If you find that the Tor Browser isn’t fast enough or you don’t need all the privacy features, you can uninstall it from your computer in a few steps. Perhaps due to privacy reasons, the Tor app isn’t located in the Control Panel or listed with all installed programs. To uninstall it, you will need to delete the source folder. Follow the steps below to guide you through this easy process.
- If you don’t remember the destination folder from the installation process, you can type TOR into the windows search bar.
- The top result should be Start Tor Browser. Right-click on the mouse to open the menu options and select Open File Location.
- The destination folder will open and you can highlight the Tor folder and delete it.
- Open the Recycle Bin on your computer and delete the files, which will permanently remove it from your computer. Most computers automatically empty the Recycle Bin folder every 30 days, so if you don’t do this, it’s not a big deal.
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If you’re still looking for a secure browser, check out the free Tor alternatives below.
Tor Browser Overview
The Tro Browser is powered by the same infrastructure that runs Mozilla Firefox. In addition to the regular browser features, such as tabbed browsing, shortcuts, and the ability to display websites with video and audio components, the TOR browser keeps your online activities anonymous.
It blocks all trackers, hides your IP address, and can access the Dark Web. While it has many of the same benefits as a VPN, the two are actually quite different and, if you truly want to stay anonymous and safe online, you should use both a VPN and Tor. For more information on how to best use Tor, check out the Ultimate Guide to Using Tor.
Tor Browser Features
- Hides your IP address: The computer’s IP address can reveal a lot of information about a user, such as their location, computer type, ISP, and more. With the Tor Browser, all the information is blocked, allowing you to browse anonymously.
- Access to restricted websites: There are many reasons that a website is blocked, usually it has to do with firewalls or based on specific geo-locations. Since Tor is blocking your IP address, you’ll be able to access websites that would otherwise block you.
- Access to the Dark Web: There are plenty of legitimate reasons to visit the Dark Web, but you can’t access it with a regular browser like Chrome or Firefox. Tor was built for fast, secure, and anonymous browsing on all Dark Web sites.
- Strong encryption protocols: When using the Tor Browser, your data is secured with top-level encryption to prevent cybercriminals and hackers from stealing your data or infecting your system with malware.
Free Alternatives to Tor Browser
Tor Browser is great but there are other alternatives just in case you want to further explore these kinds of software on the market.
- Freenet: Freenet is a great way to connect with friends in a peer-to-peer kind of interface. It’s great because it allows a user to segregate between the levels at which they will share certain information with others on the network.
- Tails: Tails stands out from the options with its portability, a user can literally load the software on a portable media such as a USB drive OR DVD enables one to enjoy anonymity as they use the internet through in-built functions of the software such as a web-browser and office suite.
- I2P: 2P derived from Invisible Internet Protocol is another software that will keep you anonymous on the internet. I2P is enabled for censorship-resistant communication and as you make your communications back and forth you can trust that your information is encrypted on both ends of the communication.
Is Tor Browser free?
Yes! Follow the instructions above to download the official Tor Browser 100% free. If you see a website that is selling a Tor subscription package, you should avoid that site completely, as there is no cost to use the browser.
Is Tor Browser secure?
Tor Browser is completely secure using multiple levels of encryption and IP address cloaking to protect your privacy and prevent any cyber-attacks.
Will I be able to delete Tor Browser from my phone when I feel I no longer need it?
Yes. Deleting/uninstalling Tor Browser is straightforward. Check out the steps for deleting Tor from your computer.