Your StartMeStick Guide to the Tor Browser

So you’ve received your StartMeStick, and you’re probably wondering how you can get the most out of it, especially when it comes to your privacy and security.

While the StartMeStick has some great built-in privacy features, there are always ways you can go above and beyond with your privacy – which is why we’re providing you with the StartMeStick Guide to the Tor browser, our way of helping you maximize your privacy while you’re online.

First things first, what is the Tor browser?

Tor is a browser you can run on your computer which effectively hides your IP address while you’re online. Tor is similar to a VPN (Virtual Private Network), but does so much more to guarantee your privacy. 

Tor essentially bounces your internet traffic around several networks, preventing anybody from observing your internet connection, and effectively hiding your IP address, the sites you visit,  and your physical location. While other proxies typically relay your internet traffic through a single server, it’s definitely not the best option if privacy is what you’re after.

If you’re curious and would like to learn more about Tor, you can read up on the Tor FAQ.

Why should I use Tor?

If you’re concerned about your privacy, then Tor is your best bet. Ever wonder why you keep seeing ads that are almost too relevant to your recent online searches and activity? It’s because pretty much everything you do online is compiled into a data profile – online databases are constantly compiling information on your browsing habits and selling this data to corporations.

If you find this unsettling, you’re not alone – this is exactly why the StartMeStick uses a program like Tor to guarantee your privacy.

Through Tor, your IP address is effectively hidden, guaranteeing that all your data and information is kept to yourself.

How to access Tor on your StartMeStick

While you’re using the StartMeStick, you can see the Tor browser among the list of available applications (you can find it in the bottom row of the application menu – it will look like an onion).

You can start by clicking on the Tor browser iconthis will then prompt the browser to begin downloading. To free up space on the device, Tor isn’t automatically installed when using the StartMeStick, but its set-up is quick and easy; it shouldn’t take any longer than a few moments to get going.

Once you have the application open, all you have to do is click “connect”, and you’ll be able to use Tor for all your internet concerns. Tor uses DuckDuckGo as its default search engine – for those not familiar, DuckDuckGo is a search engine that prioritizes protecting searchers’ privacy and avoiding the filter bubble of personalized search results.

Once you’re in Tor, you can navigate it similarly to any other web browser! We also recommend checking out Tor’s Getting Started Guide, which you find in the top right corner when you open the browser.

Your privacy matters

It’s important to keep in mind that while Tor is one of the best programs for prioritizing your privacy, it’s not a foolproof solution; there are still some things to keep in mind while you use the browser.

Try not to use plug-ins or add-ons

You won’t have the degree of customization that you’d get on a browser such as Google Chrome. While in Tor, it’s strongly discouraged to install new add-ons, because they’ll often compromise your security and privacy.

Don’t log into your accounts while using Tor

While Tor is great for maintaining a high degree of privacy, many people will try to use the browser to be private while they check their emails, banking, and social media. Logging into your personal account defeats the purpose of using Tor – by logging into these accounts, you’re essentially sharing your data with outside sources.

Try not to download files through Tor

Many users will hope to use Tor to download files and other content – but this poses a further risk for exposing your IP address. Once downloaded and opened, the file may automatically connect to your original IP address, effectively exposing it to trackers. If you’re going to be opening downloads and hope to maintain your privacy, we recommend disconnecting from the internet beforehand!

For your regular internet needs, you have Chromium

If you’d like a more personalized online experience, you can always opt into using Google Chrome – while you won’t be able to achieve Tor level privacy and security, you can still achieve a fine balance of customization and privacy.

Check out our guide to navigating Chrome’s many extensions here!

With that being said, if you’re still curious about Tor and what it does, we always recommend checking their FAQ.

If you’d like to do more to ensure your privacy and security on the internet, we suggest checking out our data privacy guide so you can get the most out of your privacy.

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