Surf the Web Wearing an Invisibility Cloak with These 4 Portable Anonymous Browsers

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The web is anonymous. That’s the greatest myth going around for those, not in the know. Our email ID or username may cover up for our real identity, we can give fake ages and even genders, or hide behind a dopey-eyed avatar but in the end, that’s mere window dressing. Learn about portable anonymous browsers.

The IP address – our digital fingerprint

Every time we log onto the web we leave behind a digital fingerprint – our IP address. IP addresses can be traced back to a physical location and to the specific computer. And if somebody knows where your computer is, invasion of your privacy takes a little while to follow.

Identity thefts, invasion by spyware, attacks by cyber-criminals are just some of the real dangers. Using simple IP tracing tools (sniffers) someone can exploit vulnerabilities and hack into your computer. Very commonly, IP addresses are tracked and logged along with your surfing activities to deliver targeted ads to your browser or even spam mail to your inbox. In an extreme case scenario, your passwords are hacked through.

All the above dangers have a solution through anonymous surfing. But hey, didn’t I say that it’s a myth? Well, it is usually, but a few tools to make it possible. The core for most of the anonymous browsing is the Tor network. Also called Onion routing, the technology uses a series of encrypted network relays around the world to protect your traffic from prying eyes. Hence, the likeness with an onion.

Portable Anonymous Browsers

Portable anonymous browsers lend the anytime-anywhere advantage. Carry it around on your USB Drive and browsing remains traceless.  Here are four browsers for anonymous browsing.

Note: You can test the browsers by going to a site like XMyIP and taking a look at the alien IP addresses it returns.

OperaTor

Combine Opera, the distributed network routes courtesy the Tor Network and a web proxy called Polipo to get the portable OperaTOR. The portable browser provides total anonymity from IP tracking as the proxy network conceals your true computer address. Also, all history and cookies get wiped out as soon as the browser closes. But again anonymity comes at the cost of speed, so be prepared for some slow speeds as the traffic gets routed through the Tor network.

Portable Anonymous Browsers - OperaTor

According to the website, the only protocols which OperaTor supports are HTTP and HTTPS, so if you want to stay anonymous you should avoid using other Opera features (e.g. Java, JavaScript, BitTorrent, integrated e-mail and IRC clients).

OperaTor (ver. 3.5) is a freeware portable browser and comes in a 10MB sized zipped package. Unzip and run it from your USB drive. Also, go through the welcome information the first time the browser loads.

OperaTor is a 10MB download and runs on Windows (all versions).

xB Browser

The XeroBank browser was previously known as TorPark. It runs using the Firefox engine. The free version uses the public Tor network to provide anonymity. Users can add XeroBank’s own anonymous proxy servers for additional protection but at a cost. The xB Browser is touted to be the world’s most popular anonymous browser.

Portable Anonymous Browsers - xb-Browser

The free and open source XeroBank installer is a 10MB download and contains the xB Browser, xB VPN (Virtual Private Network) and xB Mail (anonymous mail). xB Browser is portable and can be carried around on a USB drive.

Just like OperaTor, xB Browser does not leave any trace of your browsing activities. xB Browser is at its heart, a Firefox browser with a few extra security add-ons. You can switch your user agent, set AdBlocks, quickly switch to another language and flush the Tor circuit with a button click. The flush Tor circuit button puts you on a new set of Tor servers.

Browsing on the Tor network is slower than in an open network. The one gap I could see was that despite being a Firefox browser at the core does not provide an easy way to import bookmarks from your default Firefox browser.

xB Browser is a 10.2MB download and runs on Windows (all versions).

TorFox

TorFox is a very simple implementation of Tor and Mozilla Firefox. So, you have in your hands a simple secure portable open-source browser. You can download the browser as an EXE or a Zip file and carry it around on your USB Flash drive. The browser comes without any frills and it’s, in my opinion, the simplest of all the Tor browser apps.

Portable Anonymous Browsers - Torfox

Torfox (ver.3.0.11) is a 12MB download and runs on Windows (all versions).

Tor Browser Bundle

The Tor Browser Bundle is a built around the Tor software tool, a Tor front-end from Vidalia, the Polipo web proxy and a configured version of portable Firefox. It allows the user to use Tor without the need to install anything. It has all the pros and cons of the Tor Network and functionally is very similar to OperaTor.

Portable Anonymous Browsers - Tor Browser

Tor Browser Bundle is a 16MB download and runs on Windows (all versions).

The four tools above are very similar in that they are combos of the Tor public network and a portable browser. It’s only on the web that you have to pay to be anonymous. With these free portable anonymous browsers, anonymity could be finally yours without a cost.

Are you using portable anonymous browsers? Which one do you recommend? Let us know in the comments below.

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7 comments… add one
  • willdo Jan 28, 2010

    HideIpAdmin,
    Thanks for the article,but as we can see all of the browser’s that use Tor has not only slow connection but it can also reveal the true IP if we aren’t careful with javascripts and plug-ins.JanusVm
    or JanusPA is much better option as uses not only Tor but other anonymous services for better protection.As you wrote in a previous articles Tor’s server was hacked and it’s blocked in Russia:(There plenty of ip hiding browser’s out there but only few are free but slow others are paid:( but fast as anticipated.

    I found this new portable browser[may versions] but it’s not free though it has decent 14 days trial,I tried it myself and it works almost everywhere on all medium,here the link:

    http://www.eisst.com/products/private_browser/

    I would like to hear your views and suggestion on this

    Thanks so much for your efforts you are putting here for us;)

  • kingpin Jan 29, 2010

    HideIpAdmin,
    These all are free tor based browser’s,what about other free and paid version browser’s
    for e.g. “e-capsule private browser”[paid but fast and portable]

  • HideIP Admin Jan 30, 2010

    @kingpin – I’ll take a look a closer look to both JanusPA and e-capsule and write about them soon. Thanks your suggesting them!

  • patrick feenan Mar 9, 2010

    I won a month’s free IP Hider last Friday, but when I downloaded it my computer rejected it, and I haven’t been able to use it since. I was sent the ( very long ) licence number, but when I applied it onto the little blue box it stated, ” this licence is invalid. ” what the heck do I do now?

  • HideIP Admin Mar 9, 2010

    @patrick feenan – You should contact the IP Hider support team. They will be able to solve your problem.

  • Zark Page Apr 5, 2010

    my friend, where you said
    “. xB Browser is a 102MB download”
    perhaps you meant
    “xB Browser is a 10.2MB download”

    also, i regularly use xBB-Fx 3.9.10.24, including right now 🙂 & have successfully imported bookmarks via an html file – that’s how it’s most stably done between normal installations of Fx anyway, i reckon… export bookmarks to an html file from one installation, then import that file into another – there’s an option in Bookmarks Mgr for it

    mind you, i have altered _many_ preferences in about:config so that may have helped… in fact, i apologise in advance about talking it up, but:
    i have uninstalled a couple of extensions from the default install, using a teensy workaround (i can let you know how if you’d like, it’s quite easy & i’m sure the dev.s would be fine with that), & installed some of my preferred extensions & a nice dark theme, & changed the search-providers to SSL-Wikipedia & SSL-Scroogle (for Google text searches) etc.
    actually i’ve customised it to my heart’s content, even including custom throbber (animated leaping-panther silhouette), Fx’s exe-icons are now xBB’s icons (in titlebar, XP64’s Taskbar / TaskMgr etc.), titlebar with no “… – Mozilla Firefox” or “… – xB Browser”, a couple of nice pictures-on-‘about’-pages etc.
    still, this may not be necessary or even desired by many users
    i also use it almost exclusively on dial-up from where i live 😀
    but that’s another story…
    let me know if you’d like to hear that (interesting) tale 🙂

    thanks for the informative article,
    now thinking of trying out TorIMBrowserBundle & OperaTor,
    -Zark

  • HideIP Admin Apr 6, 2010

    @Zark Page – You are right. It’s 10.2 MB instead of 102 MB. 🙂

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