Tor Browser is updated: new measures against censorship imposed by countries

The Tor Project team has announced the release of Tor Browser 11.5 . This is a very important version, which introduces new features to help users fight online censorship more easily , especially those imposed by countries with dictatorial regimes.

Tor is a platform that not only protects the privacy of online users but also protects their anonymity . Behind the project, we find a non-profit organization that manages and develops it, whose mission is to protect rights and freedoms by promoting and supporting technologies that make it possible to achieve this goal.

tor browser

The new version of Tor Browser annihilates the censorship imposed by countries

Anonymity and privacy is offered thanks to The Onion Router network , hence the name Tor. This allows you to access websites by routing traffic through different nodes of the network , thus making it impossible for the final server to know who made the initial request, finding as the effect of the request a node of the Tor network, identified as a node and not an actual user. Each connection between one node and another is obviously encrypted with different layers , and from the intermediate nodes it is impossible to trace the initial user. Each node is managed by volunteers.

Since Tor Browser helps not only to be completely anonymous on the net, but also to overcome any censorship, the program and the network it uses are seen as a “threat” by totalitarian regimes in so many countries . There are therefore several strategies adopted over time to block Tor by these countries with a dictatorial regime. Indeed, some governments of some nations have gone so far as to ask to eliminate the use of cryptographic algorithms or to provide backdoors for government access to the network.

Some countries now aim to block the Tor network by asking the country's network providers to block exit nodes. Tor publishes an official list of these exit nodes . That's just under 2,000 IP addresses, so it's pretty straightforward for a provider to block all communication to and from those nodes.

The new version of Tor Browser, 11.5, integrates a mechanism expressly designed to overcome any censorship . As explained in the post shared on the official blog , the new version brings with it the introduction of Connection Assist: a new feature which, when a possible network problem is identified (i.e. the browser cannot exit the Tor network, a symptom of a block exit nodes), will offer automatic application of a bridge . Previously, bridges were already available but required the user to do some research within the browser settings. Now, with the new feature, this is made more immediate and easier for the end user.

Another important change introduced in Tor Browser version 11.5 is the “HTTPS-only mode” . Currently, the browser has always used a bundled extension called HTTPS-Everywhere, which over the years has provided long-lasting protection for users, automatically updating their connections to HTTPS where possible.

All modern browsers, in recent years, offer native support for automatic updating to HTTPS. Firefox, the underlying browser that Tor Browser is based on, calls this feature "HTTPS-only mode". Starting with Tor Browser 11.5, HTTPS-only mode is enabled by default for desktop and HTTPS-Everywhere will no longer be bundled with Tor Browser.

On the Tor network, HTTPS is even more important than on the regular network. In fact, it helps protect users from SSL-stripping attacks by intentionally malicious egress nodes , thereby reducing the incentive to create egress nodes that implement Man-in-the-Middle attacks.

The Tor Browser article is updated: new measures against censorship imposed by countries was written on: Tech CuE | Close-up Engineering .