Uptick in Tor users puts cyber security experts on toes

The experts say Tor Browser downloads have seen a drastic increase in the state, as it is one of the easily available browsers for accessing the darknet.

Published: 27th September 2019 06:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th September 2019 06:35 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

KOCHI: If you think Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are the preferred web browsers of Keralites, think again. According to cyber experts, it is ‘Tor Browser’ – popular for accessing the ‘darknet’ (the non-indexed locations of the internet) – that is gaining more traction in Kerala and is being widely used by youngsters to access prohibited websites for procuring drugs, dating and sex trafficking.

The experts say Tor Browser downloads have seen a drastic increase in the state, as it is one of the easily available browsers for accessing the darknet.

The challenges Tor poses to enforcement agencies across the globe was what prompted organisers of Cocon, the international conference aimed at showcasing and educating people on the latest trends in information, cyberspace, hacking and hi-tech crimes, to make ‘Darknet and Tor’ one of the main topics of discussion at the event.

“A number of youngsters in Kerala are using Tor Browser and other VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) to browse the darknet. Usually, it is hard to track the web activity of Tor Browser users,” Additional DGP Manoj Abraham, who is also the nodal officer of Kerala’s Cyberdome, told TNIE.

“However, at Cyberdome, we have developed a software that tracks activity of such browsers based on specific inputs and analytics. Work on the software is progressing,” said Manoj.

Cyber experts said Tor is part of the ‘The Onion Router’, a free client that helps users to anonymously connect a browser to volunteer-operated network of servers.

“Tor Browser allows users access to websites that are inaccessible using normal browsers. Now, the client has become a hub of criminal activity,” they said.

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