One of the best VPN services around right now has joined forces with the Tor Project in an attempt to build a more secure internet.
The Swiss-based provider behind both ProtonVPN and ProtonMail is now actively supporting the project as a Green Onion Member. This means that both teams will work closely to improve users' experience when connecting to the Proton web apps over Tor.
"Tor’s work closely aligns with our vision of building a better internet where privacy is the default," wrote the company in a blog post. "Sadly, more and more governments are turning to internet censorship or shutdowns to control their citizens. This has made Tor, with its anonymous browsing and ability to bypass advanced internet blocks, a vital tool for fighting censorship."
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What is the Tor Project?
Became a nonprofit organisation only in 2006, the idea behind the Tor Project dates back to the mid 1990s.
The concept of the so-called 'onion routing' behind the Tor browser is simple: to route the traffic through multiple servers and encrypt the data each step of the way. The goal is to allow users' to browse the internet with as much privacy as possible. Everything open-sourced, of course.
Even though this process is really close to what VPN services do, Tor is more secure as it routes your data through at least three servers instead of only one. Also in terms of encryption it goes further by using multiple layers which get peeled off as you travel from server to server.
A notable downside of using a Tor browser is that all these encryption layers will inevitably slow down your connection. However, even VPN providers recommend to combine the two services when your online anonymity is paramount - like if you are browsing from highly monitored and restricted country like China.
Easy connect Proton apps with Tor browser
If with a ProtonVPN account you can connect to the Tor network through a normal browser, things are slightly different when you want to access your secure email service. As a result of this new collaboration, you can now sign up for your ProtonMail account directly on the ProtonMail onion site.
It's not the first time Proton and Tor are working together. Back in 2017, the nonprofit organisation has actually helped the provider in launching the site's first version. But now, due to a major update to the site, users can benefit from Tor’s enhanced privacy features to add an extra layer of protection to their chats, calendar and file stored on the drive.
As the provider explained: "At Proton, we believe everyone should be able to use the internet and express themselves without worrying about censorship or surveillance. Joining the Tor Project as a Green Onion Member is part of our work towards this goal.
"Our close collaboration with the Tor Project and our updated onion site will provide more ways for people facing advanced online surveillance and censorship to access our services."
- Read more on how to protect your privacy online with Tor Browser
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Chiara is a multimedia journalist committed to covering stories to help promote the rights and denounce the abuses of the digital side of life—wherever cybersecurity, markets and politics tangle up. She mainly writes news, interviews and analysis on data privacy, online censorship, digital rights, cybercrime, and security software, with a special focus on VPNs, for TechRadar Pro, TechRadar and Tom’s Guide. Got a story, tip-off or something tech-interesting to say? Reach out to email@example.com