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Differences between using Tor Browser and VPN

Differences between using Tor Browser and VPN


tl; DR

Tor provides anonymous web browsing but does not provide security. VPN services provide security (sort of) and anonymity, but anonymity may be more questionable depending on the service. Because you rely on it, it will not log bits of information that may or may not be traceable to you.


A traditional VPN does not extend your ISP. A VPN extends an existing private network over a public network. For example, let’s say my company has its own network with email servers, web (intranet) servers and a DNS setup for company related services. It is a private network for company employees only. However, some employees want to work from home. The VPN is set up so employees can do it safely Connect to the private network remotely. This provides two advantages:

  1. Authentication – Users provide their credentials to access the VPN
  2. Encryption – The entire tunnel is encrypted between the remote user and the private network gateway.

Take the last phrase: “The entire tunnel between the remote user and the private network gateway is encrypted.” Once you cross the gate, the connection becomes unencrypted. Unless services within the same private network use other means of secure communication.

Keep in mind that anonymity is not provided by this setting. In fact, the company knows exactly what the IP addresses of its private network are connected to.

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VPN services
Nowadays VPN seems to take on many meanings, and on the internet/cloud/[insert Internet buzzword here] You have complicated things. We now see questions, “Which VPN takes your anonymity seriously?” What happened is that VPN services became a kind of “secure anonymity service”. The service will provide secure connections to a proxy server that then dumps your connections in a clear location for your destination.

This is somewhat similar to what traditional VPNs do, except that the phrase β€œVPN expands ISP” has become somewhat true. You are now only encrypting the first half of your communications. He. She extends Meaning, you can access websites and services that you would normally not be able to access due to your geographical location. But “stretch” is really not the right word to use.

Take ExpressVPN for example, they advertise the following:

  1. Encrypt your internet traffic and hide your IP address from hackers and spies.
  2. Access any website or app without geographic restrictions or censorship.

Take out the “internet traffic encryption” from the first statement, and you’ll basically have an anonymous proxy. But now that the tunnel is encrypted, the tunnel is a virtual private network (VPN) to your anonymous proxy (gateway) which then redirects your traffic to the public internet.

Tor Browser

onion routing

Onion routing is designed to provide complete Anonymity to contact. This is achieved by encryption. Three layers of encryption. When using the Tor network, the path is specified with an extension minimum From 3 knots (can be more). Encryption keys are prepared and exchanged between you and the three nodes. However, you only have all the encryption keys. You encrypt your data with each of the node keys starting with the last node (the exit node) and ending with the first node (the entry node). As your data travels across the network, a layer of encryption is stripped away and forwarded to the next node.

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As you can see, the exit node decrypts the last layer, and forwards your data to its destination. Which means your data is in “plain text” 1 at the moment, but your identity is completely anonymised. With at least 3 nodes, no node knows both sources And destination.

Anonymity, not security
Tor does not promise secure connections. Only encryption is used To provide anonymity between nodesYour data is not otherwise encrypted. This is why it is still highly encouraged to use HTTPS-enabled websites while using Tor. As LieRyan mentioned in another thread comment, sending personally identifiable information through Tor without using other security measures will break any anonymity that Tor provides.

traffic vision

As far as traffic visibility is concerned, if there is an administrator on the network, they will be able to see your traffic. Let’s take a stand with VPN: you have your remote laptop R and a private network gateway / secure anonymous proxy (G). Now you have a private IP network that is encrypted from R to G. The network administrator sitting on G can see the plaintext 1. As mentioned above, if you are using another secure protocol like SSL/TLS through a VPN/VPN service, the Plaintext is It is already encrypted, and the network administrator will not see anything but the encrypted data.

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So this really depends on where the network admin is in the connection, and whether or not you’re using a secondary secure protocol under the VPN. The same reasoning applies to Tor. Because as I mentioned earlier, encryption is only used for the purposes of maintaining anonymity.

Both VPN and traditional VPN services should be protected outside vision in the network. Neither of them will protect you authorized officials for the network you are connected to. It’s all about protecting your data from unauthorized eyes. Even with SSL/TLS, the website you visit sees the decrypted traffic. You must process the request. Administrators on this site can see and/or record the same requests. It is the security protocols used up front and between them that make the biggest difference in connection security.

1 It is plain text with respect to the data transmitted here. If the data was encrypted with something like SSL/TLS before going through the onion routing, the encrypted data will be seen at this point.

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