OperaTor Anonymous Browsing: Interesting, but Not Speedy


Do you ever need to surf the web anonymously? Do you like to keep useful applications on a USB thumb drive? If so, look into OperaTor, a free download that delivers a portable version of the Opera browser incorporating Tor (an anonymity network that keeps your traffic protected through proxies). As the folks over on Download Squad note, it slows your browsing down, but that’s also exactly how you can tell that it’s doing its job–keeping your surfing anonymous via proxies.

I’ve loaded OperaTor on a USB thumb drive and on a PC (it is for Windows only at the moment). It only has a 7MB footprint, making it ideal for a USB flash drive, and if you’re particular about keeping, say, your public online sessions anonymous, OperaTor in conjunction with VPN (virtual private network) software should do the trick.

The Tor network is explained here. Many people use it to keep their Internet surfing anonymous, especially people in overseas countries where seemingly innocuous moves on the web can land you in jail.

Tor uses a series of three proxy servers, which provide their own identifying information as you surf–shielding you from being identified. OperaTor anonymizes the HTTP and HTTPS protocols.

As soon as you visit a few pages on the web that you’re used to loading, you’ll feel how the proxy servers are indeed being pinged because the pages will be slow to load. Still, the speeds are not unacceptable, and the underlying Opera browser is known for being fast. I could easily see using OperaTor for short bursts of web work when I want to be anonymous.

There are some guidelines posted if you’re interested in how anonymous you can be with OperaTor. Use of JavaScript, chat clients and other standard features in Opera can begin to expose your sessions.  However, if you use VPN software in conjunction with OperaTor, I doubt if you’ll run much risk at all.

OperaTor may especially be of interest to bloggers and web workers in countries with restrictive Internet policies. Existing, similar tools based on proxies, such as Anonymizer, have been successfully used in such countries for years to keep web traffic anonymous. I’ve added it to my growing collection of USB thumb drive applications.

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