Sunday, 26 February 2012

The Onion Router


      TOR stand for The Onion Router and is a freeware software that is one of the best anonymity, privacy and unblocking tools available on the internet. Tor has thousands of volunteer relay servers in different parts of the world through which a user's data is routed and tunnelled in encrypted format with the intention of keeping it completely anonymous. Not only does it protect your freedom on the Internet, it keeps all your communications on the Internet completely secure. It can be downloaded free of cost from

       A number of organizations and governments like to monitor the Internet by performing something known as traffic analysis. For example, imagine your company could be running a data sniffer on the company network to look at the traffic on the network to figure out what websites and servers employees are accessing. At a bigger level, the government could be running a data sniffer on all major ISP's networks with the intention to record, monitor and analyse traffic of all users in a country. This information could then be used to block access to certain websites as well.

   Typically, all data i being transmitted  on the internet in the form of data packets. Each data packet has two parts:

  • Data: This is the actual data that is being transmitted in the data packet. It could be a part of an email, file or webpage.
  • Header: This contains important information about thee source and destination computers that is used to route the data through the Internet.
   There are a lot of ways in which the data being transmitted on the Internet can be encrypted. For example, it is possible to encrypt an email using PGP encryption and then send it out on the Internet. However, encrypting the actual data does not hide the header of a data packet. This means that somebody who is using a data sniffer at your ISP or company or college network could still easily read the header part of the data transfer and figure out valuable information about the source and destination of the data packets. For every data communication on the Internet, there are multiple such intermediaries that could be monitoring and spying on your data communication like your college, company, ISP or even the government. In other words, imagine that you want to communicate with your bank, then typically something like the following communication route is established:

      YOUR COMPUTER->COMPANY or COLLEGE Network->ISP Network->ISP Backbone->Bank's ISP->BANK

  Obviously, in a communication like the above, your computer and your bank will know everything about both the data and the data header. But based on how Internet routing works, all intermediaries along the way(like your company/college)

    One of the powerful data sniffers is a free software called Wireshark ( that allows criminal or system administrators to monitor all data packets being sent and received across the entire network. Even if a user has encrypted the actual data being sent on internet, Wireshark can be used to analyse the header informatiom to figure out valuable details about the source and destination involved in the data transfer.


     This is where Onion Routing comes into the picture. It is an anonymous communication mechanism that ensures that the intermediaries can read neither the data nor the data header that they are transmitting, hence giving complete anonymity to both the sender and destination sustems.

     Typically in Onion Routing, the entire data is repeatedly encrypted with multiple layers of encryption(just the way an onion has multiple layers of skin) and these encryption layers are slowly peeled until data reaches the destination computer. Once the data is encrypted at the source computer it is then routed through multiple intermediate nodes called onion routers. Whenever data reaches an onion router it will peel a layer of encryption to reveal information about the next onion router node to which the data has to be forwarded. The next onion router will follow and repeat the same procedure and peel the next layer of encryption, forward the data again and so on.. This process is repeated until all the encryption layers are peeled and the data reaches the destination computer. Such a multilayer-ed encryption and routing machanism ensures that none of the intermediaries know anything about the contents of the data, the source or the destination. the best part is that no intermediary onion router knows the complete path. Each intermediary onion router will only know where it got the data from and the next system it is supposed to send the data to. The destination system(recipient system) will think that all the data originated at the lat onion router and not the source system.

  TOR is a fantastic free utility that uses onion routing to provide users with a secure, anonymous and encrypted communication channel for all their data transfer needs. Once installed, all applications on your computer can be configured to communicate on the internet through the TOR relay servers(onion routers) in different parts of the world. According ti the TOR project's website(, TOR works in the following steps:

STEP 1: 
Let us assume that you want to connect to through an encrypted communication channel that is completely secure and anonymous at the same time. You need to install TOR on your computer and make sure you have configured your browser to connect to the internet through TOR. Once TOR receives your request to connect to the, it will first connect to the TOR directory server and download a list of all available TOR relay nodes(onion routers) that it can potentially connect to.

TOR will now create a secure encrypted connection between you and the by routing the connection through any three randomly selected TOR relay nodes one after the other. This path that the TOR creates is known as a TOR circuit. TOR will make use of Onion Routing principals while establishing this encrypted secure TOR circuit. TOR always connects to a minimum of three randomly selected TOR relay routers in any part of the world before connecting the user to the destination system, hence ensuring adequately randomized anonymity. The advantage of TOR over a proxy server is that TOR ensures that you are always routed via a minimum of three different TOR relay servers. On the other hand, in case of a proxy server, you are normally routed only through one system.

Once a TOR circuit has been created, it will continue to be used for all connections for 10 minutes or so, after which all new connections will be given completely new TOR circuits. It is also possible to force TOR to change its circuit sooner than 10 minutes if required. Whenever TOR changes its circuit, your identity on the internet also changes.

   Now that we have understood how TOR circuits are established and how TOR works, let us put this knowledge now to use and actually use it to anonymously and safely unblock a blocked website on the internet:

Download the TOR browser bundle, which is available as a free download on
The TOR  browser bundle is a self-contained executable file that can be run directly from a USB pendrive or even a camera SD Card without the need for any installation or configuration. It comes with a copy of the Firefox Portable Browser preconfigured and allows users to establish a secure encrypted connection esily and quickly without any hassles of configuration.


 STEP 2:
After downloading the TOR browser bundle, you need to extract it to a folder of your choice. It could be anywhere on your hard drive or even on an external USB peb drive. To launch TOR, you just need to go to the respective folder and double click on the Start Tor Browser icon.

As soon as you double click on the Start Tor Browser icon, the Vidalia Control Panel will open. At this stage, TOR will connect to its directory server and download a list of available TOR relay servers(onion routers) and then try to establish a secure encrypted TOR circuit through any three different randomly selected TOR relay servers. This entire process of establishing a TOR circuit should not take more than a few seconds. As soon as a secure TOR circuit has been established, a new Mozilla Firefox browser window will automatically open.

      Once Mozilla Firefox launches, it means that the secure TOR circuit has been established and you can start browsing on the internet securely and anonymously. The Firefox Mozilla window that opens will also say Congratulations. Your browser is configured to use Tor, letting you know that TOR is now ready to be used. 

Let us quickly test the TOR circuit by opening the website to check if our connection is anonymous or not. In this case if you look at the screenshot below, you will notice that TOR has routed our connection through a United States -based relay server whose IP address is ;)

     It is important to note that the TOR Browser bundle only works with the portable Firefox browser that it automatically opens once the TOR circuit gets established. All other applications, including other browsers installed on your system, will not automatically start connecting to the TOR circuit. For example, if you simultaneously open both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox portable browser to, then you will get two different IP addresses and two different locations in two different browsers at the same time!

  Let us assume that after sometime you get bored of being in United States and want to reroute your secure TOR circuit through some other country. All you need to do is in the Vidalia control panel you need to click on the Use a New Identity option and within a few seconds TOR will create a brand new TOR circuit for you, giving you a completely new location and IP Address.

  Now if you were to open in the Mozilla Firefox browser, then you will notice that your IP address has changed to and your new location to Sweden!

  Typically at any given point of time, TOR will have a few thousand different volunteer TOR servers/Onion routers(while typing this 928 relay servers were online) in different parts of the world. It is possible for a user to view all the TOR relay servers online at any given point of time by opening the Vidalia Control Panel and clicking on the View the Network link to display the TOR network Map:

   Within this TOR Network Map window, in the right bottom pane, information about all the three TOR relay servers throughwhich your computer has currently established a circuit is available.
currently my computer's TOR circuit is as follows:

Computer --> TOR Relay Server 1 in the United States --> TOR Relay Server 2 in Bulgaria --> TOR Relay Server 3 in Russia --> Internet

Celestra (Online)
Location: United States
IP Address:
Platform: Tor (git-c55c166e73d500af) on Linux x86_64
Bandwidth: 20.34 MB/s
Uptime: 108 days 7 hours 53 mins 30 secs
Last Updated: 2012-02-25 14:09:58 GMT

abgtor (Online)
Location: Bulgaria
IP Address:
Platform: Tor (git-4f42b0a93422f70e) on Linux x86_64
Bandwidth: 807.35 KB/s
Uptime: 1 days 22 hours 3 mins 21 secs
Last Updated: 2012-02-25 20:24:31 GMT

RedLantern (Online)
Location: Russia
IP Address:
Platform: Tor (git-1fbce83f8c56d9c6) on Linux x86_64
Bandwidth: 4.02 MB/s
Uptime: 33 days 14 hours 32 mins 6 secs
Last Updated: 2012-02-25 13:10:51 GMT

     Sometimes, your company, college or government will block access to the Tor Project website trying to prevent users from being able to download and use TOR. The good news is that it is possible to download TOR through email as well! Just sent an email to from any mail account that can accept large attachments (like Gmail or Ymail). Make sure you type help in the body of the email and they will get back to you with instructions on how to download a relevant TOR package via email:


      As described in their instructions email, if you want to receive the TOR browser bundle for windows, you need to send an email to them at with the keyword windows in the body of the email. Within a few seconds they will send you a detailed email with the TOR Browser Bundle for Windows attached. As simple as that!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Unblocking Websites via TRANSLATION TOOLS

There are various free translation websites avialable that allows users to translate text and web pages from one language to another on the Internet. For example, if you wish to read a web page or document that has been written in japanese and the only language you can read is Hindi, then you can use a translation website to translate from Japanese to Hindi on the fly. All for free!
The two most popular translation tools on the internet are:
  • Google Translate ( provides instant translation between 58 different langugages.
  • Yahoo Babelfish ( supports fewer languages but still does a decent job.
       The technology behind the instant translation of webpages is obviously cool. But what is even cooler is the fact that it is possible to use these translation websites to unblock websites and acces censored content! 
     Let us assume that your college or company has blocked access to the YouTube website and you are shown the blocked error message eachtime you try to access it. However, if you experiment a little bit, you may realize that your network may not have actually blocked access to websites of Google Translate or Yahoo Babelfish, This means that it may be possible for you to connect to either of these translation websites and use them to access YouTube by translating it from english to anyother language of your choice , including Hindi, Tamil, Bengali and various other regional Indian languages/Foreign languages(Indian Regional languages are supported only by google transalte). Your college or company thinks that you are accesssing a safe unblocked website(the translate website), but in reality you are using the translation website to access a blocked website! Below we will see how easy it is for you to use Google Translate to access a blocked YouTube video:

           Start your browser and connect to so that your local firewall thinks that you are connecting to  safe normal, unblocked website. In the space provided, type the web address of the blocked website that you wish to access. In this case, I am going to type Then select the original language for the webpage(in this case, English) and the language ibto which you wish to translate the webpage(in this case, Hindi). Finally, click on the translate button.

          Within a few seconds, the Hindi translated version of the YouTube website will get displayed on the screen. The fact of the matter is that eventhough the website has been translated into Hindi, the interface is still the same and the actual language of the videos that you are going to watch will remain the same. In other words, an English video will remain an english video even if the youtube interface is displayed in Hindi or someother language. The best part is your college or company thinks that you are accessing a Google Translation website, which is far from reality. Go ahead and try it out. It is important to note that when you use the Google Translate service some of the links or search feature on the translated page may not work.

           You can navigate to the page of the video  that you wish to watch by clicking on the links on the YouTube homepage or if you know the direct URL of the video you wish to watch, then you can directly type it into the translate input box at the top of your browser and you will be directly taken to the video. The video will play normally as it is supposed to play and will be in its original language; only the interface language will change.

          The problem with such translation websites is that the requested domain of the blocked website appears in plaintext in the browser URL address bar and that makes it easy for system administrators to block it. Moreover, there are only two popular and effective translation websites on the Internet, which means that they both can be blocked.




This note is to make the FB and all other users to preview the spam links which they get on their wall to have a preview of it before actually opening it......

First let us see how You can shorten larger URL's to smaller URL's for our covenience through:


However, it is important to note that such shortened URL'S can easily be misused by a criminal to redirect the victim to malicious websites for phishing,stealing and other purposes, since by simply reading the URL or even hovering the mouse over the shortened URL, it is not possible for a user to find out the real destination of the link. From a security perspective, it is always a good idea for users to preview a link before opening or viewing it in the browser. Different URL shortening websites have different ways to preview its URL as described below:

URL SHORTENING WEBSITE                                   HOW TO PREVIEW A URL
  •                      ------------------------>    Add a + after the URL
  •                    ------------------------>    Visit
  •                   ------------------------>    Add a = sign after the URL
  •   ------------------------>    Add a preview. after http;//


Hey guys ever wished/wanted to see a webpage of or anyother page of feb 16th 2005 or any other date ????
here is the trick pals :D

Start your browser and connect to, type the website URL whose cached or archived copy you wish to view in the space provided and click on the TAKE ME BACK button. For example,

Select the year ,month and date from which you wish to view the archived copy. In this example, i'm going to pretend that I want to see the Feb 16th 2005 copy of the website.

Within a few seconds, the WAYBACK MACHINE tool will display the archived copy of the website from the date that you selected in the previous step.


The WAYBACK MACHINE software is very useful to access popular websites that may have been BLOCKED. However , it cannot be used to access websites that may not be that popular or websites that have dynamic content(like youtube,facebook,etc).


TIMES OF INDIA on feb 16 2005!


The wayback machine can be also used to view the blocked websites like facebook, youtube ,etc(in blocked places like IT Companies, Colleges etc) too ;)

cool na ?? jus try it out :)