Tor browser is a powerful web browser configured to protect and enhance online privacy using the Tor network. The Tor browser is a tweaked version of Mozilla Firefox ESR. It was developed, designed, and configured by the Tor project in January 2008.
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Where does the Tor Browser save its downloads?
Tor browser downloads are, by default, saved in the Operating System default download location, be it for Windows OS, Mac OS, and Linux.
Different browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari use and store files automatically using the default downloads folder.
For Windows OS, the folder path directory is C:\Users\username\downloads.
While for Mac OS, there isn’t the exact text-based path to download the directory folder. However, you can find the downloads folder on the dock or by navigating in Finder. For Linux OS, the folder path directory is /home/username/downloads/.
How to change the default download location in the Tor Browser
In the case of the Tor browser, it is easier said than done. Like any other browser, the Tor browser saves download files to the default download location. You can access the browser by navigating the Menu option and then to the General Tab sub-menu. Scrolling further down in the general tab reveals a sub-menu for Files and Applications. Under this section, you can configure your downloads folder for the Tor browser. The user can save files automatically in the operating system default folder or choose a custom folder path. The tor browser gives the end-user the opportunities to decide how to download the files and applications are from the web.
Even though dedicated security-focused Linux-based OS enhances online privacy, like Tails (The Amnesic Incognito Live System) or Whonix, these systems are not failproof and foolproof. The Tor network encourages end-users to view word processing documents and pdf files in offline workstations to avoid privacy breaches.
While using the Tor browser, a dialog box always pops upon links to files that require external applications to run and display it. It acts as a buffer to caution end-users taking before taking a specific course of action with the file. It is an intended security warning informing the user that saving the file and launching it from an external application or program is out of Tor’s privacy management and could compromise your fore personal privacy.
But there’s a caveat to it; Tor project network doesn’t encourage opening and saving documents and files handled by external applications. That is because files and documents contain internet resources that may expose the user’s IP address, which will inadvertently compromise the end-user privacy to third-party applications. So, depending on the data you’re downloading, it is wise to decouple from the net, go offline altogether, and open the downloaded file.
Despite all security protocols in place, best safety practices should follow alongside.
What is Tor?
Tor, an acronym for The Onion Router, refers to both the browser and the networking protocol developed by The Tor Project. It is an open-source privacy software that protects your data by wrapping it in multiple encryption layers like an onion, hence the name. It encrypts your information and protects your privacy and identity on the internet, allowing users to browse it anonymously.
In the 90, the intelligence community felt the need to protect sensitive communications, which led to the innovation of Tor or the onion routing technique. The United States Naval Research Laboratory jointly developed it by mathematician Paul Syverson and computer specialists Michael Reed and David Goldschlag. This core principle is still the mainstay of how Tor works today.
Fast forward to 2006, the Tor Project, Inc, a nonprofit organization responsible for the maintenance and further development of Tor or the onion router, was founded.
How does Tor work?
The onion router or Tor is a combination of both a browser and a networking protocol. The tor network anonymizes its users by obfuscating the user’s IP address. The tor network does this encryption through countless nodes or relay points that pass data using encryption layers, hence the onion metaphor. Each node that your data passes through peels off another layer of encryption. The end of origin and the intermediary nodes are entirely unknown, unlike regular web browsers. Masking the source and redirecting it through encrypted channels protects end-users from passive traffic analysis and ISP tracking.