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Things you should never do when trying to stay anonymous on Tor

Published Jan 5th, 2016 2:24PM EST
How To Stay Anonymous On Tor
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So you’ve started using Tor to help protect your anonymity when you search the web. This means you should be able to just do everything that you normally do without anyone knowing who you are, right? Wrong. Just because Tor protects the anonymity of your IP address, people tracking your activity can still identify you if you aren’t careful, as this comprehensive guide posted at Whonix makes clear. Let’s go through some of the big mistakes Tor users make that can compromise their identities.

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First and most obviously: Do not log into your Facebook account while using Tor. This will be an easy tip off to anyone who’s tracking your activity through Tor about your real identity. So if you log into Facebook and then buy some tabs of ecstasy elsewhere on the Dark Web, you’ll only have yourself to blame when you get arrested.

Similarly, you also shouldn’t visit your own personal website while on Tor. Nor should you log into your personal bank account or PayPal account while using Tor, since doing this will likely get your accounts frozen as part of fraud protection protocols.

Here are some other quick tips:

  • Don’t use two browsers at once while you’re using Tor. You don’t want to accidentally type in something in your Tor browser that you meant to type into your non-anonymous browser.
  • Don’t give out your phone number for sites that require two-factor verification to log in while on Tor. This should be pretty obvious, but if you give someone your actual phone number, they know who you are on Tor.
  • Never mention any potentially identifying information about yourself such as the place you live, your appearance, your gender, etc. In fact, Whonix says that you should even go so far as to avoid using special characters that are only available in your language.

These are just some of the tips for staying anonymous while on Tor. To see the rest, check out Whonix’s full guide here.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.