What's the difference between the VPN, Proxy, Tor network, and what's more secure to use? Bat-Hat

 VPN, Proxy, And Tor Network



There are tons of reasons why someone would want to use a VPN, proxy, or Tor.
The main purposes for people to use any of the above-mentioned services are either privacy or gaining access to sites and services that are restricted in a specific area.
So what's better for privacy and how do those services differ!? in other words, which of them I should use for maximum privacy!?

The proxy and the VPN:

Before we dive into the details, let's agree that each of the services has its own pros and cons, of course, one will be better than the other when it comes to a specific purpose, for which the most secure one won't be the best fit. So first, let's know more about proxies and VPNs...


What's the main duty of the VPN and the proxies?

simply put, the VPN and the proxies share one main task, which is hiding the client's actual IP address from the sites and services they use, and replacing it with another IP of a VPN or a proxy server.

The points of difference:

The VPN:

The VPN provides the service of hiding the IP address, as well as encrypting the data sent and received so the process of sniffing or spying on & understanding that data gets way harder in comparison to the traffic going out and getting back without encryption.

Also, the VPN is configured at the system level, which means all the traffic will go through the VPN tunnel, regardless of what that traffic actually is, or the kind of app the traffic is being sent from...


And all of that traffic will be encrypted using different algorithms and key strings and put in the tunnel to send to the VPN server, which means the data won't be sent in its actual form, for example, as shown in the picture below, the client sent a request let it be the message "Hello!", it will go as an encrypted message to the VPN server, which will decrypt and understand it, then send it to its destination "The site's server".

As well, the website doesn't need to support any kind of proxy to work with the VPN, because the VPN sends the traffic just like usual traffic is sent, though encrypted.

Will the data exchanged between the targeted server and the VPN server be encrypted too?

This depends on the targeted server of the website, and whether it has the SSL certificate installed or not, which will allow the site to move from HTTP to HTTPS, and allow the SSL & TLS encryption, in other words, the ability for the data being encrypted and the communication secured.

"HTTP & HTTPS are web protocols that are used for communication between web browsers and websites"


The Proxy:

As mentioned the proxy does change the client's IP address and transfers the data with a different one faster than how the VPN transfer the same data, though proxies use different protocols, therefore, they differ when it comes to the security of the traffic depending on the protocol the proxy uses...
And here we can notice 3 different protocols that can be used by the proxy, and the level of security differs depending on each of the following protocols:

-The HTTP Proxy:

It can be configured on the web browser or the visited website, and the only thing this kind of proxy does is change the IP address of the client, as it doesn't offer any kind of encryption.
While using the HTTP proxy, the connection will be forced to the HTTP site if the site supports both HTTP/S, or deny access to the website if it supports only HTTPS connections, also to mention, the HTTP proxies inject ads, as there's an absence of encryption.


-The HTTPS Proxy:

The HTTPS proxy provides encryption to the data, and connecting to an HTTPS website through an HTTPS proxy will give it a double layer of encryption, as well as the change of the IP address, which means, a higher level of data privacy.

In general, visiting HTTPS websites adds a layer of encryption no matter what tunnel the traffic is going through.

-The SOCKS (Protocol) proxy:

This protocol unlike the HTTP/S, supports any kind of data "traffic", though it offers no encryption just like the HTTP type of proxy.
It can be used with any software (Video game, Streaming, Voice chat..), though it needs the software to support it for the connection to be established. 

Also, some SOCKS proxy servers have SSH support, which kind of makes the connection more secure, though as mentioned, it works only if the app supports it.

Will using a proxy service provide me a 100% secured connection?

Well, if we are talking about the 100% things, then the answer is NO!, there's no a 100% anonymity on the internet, even if you are connecting to a VPN on your device, and using a VM with Proxychains and connecting to the internet through TOR browser, you won't be a 100% secure.
Though using all of those layers of encryption, will make it insanely difficult and time-consuming for Hackers or governments to track your connections and spy on the data you are sending and receiving.

Because you need to take into account that devices talk to each other nonstop, and most of these conversations are unnoticeable to us, for example, the devices connected to the same local network consistently talk to each other, each goes on the network like Hey! I'm on the network, here's my DNS, and here's my IP address then wait for the response from other connected devices on the network.
So even if you are using a proxy service, your computer may send requests to websites to get their IP addresses and domain names, and these requests may be sent outside of the proxy, so even with a secure connection, your device will still be giving away your ISP.

Tor (The Onion Router):

Tor or as it's known as "The Onion Router" is free open-source software & project founded in December 2006 by computer scientists Roger Dingledine and Nick Mathewson for accomplishing anonymous and private communication.

It uses 3 intermediate onions "Nodes", which are computers and servers, through which the traffic will be transferred and encrypted.
No one in the network knows what's going on in the whole network! each server or device knows about what's before and after them, and that's it.

Let's have a look at this picture to explain it more.


Let's say you want to visit "steam.com" through the Tor network, the process will go like the following:

- 3 Nodes will be selected randomly in the Tor network through which the traffic will be sent and received.

- Once you send the message, it will be encrypted with three layers of encryption, your device with have the 3 encryption keys, and each of the 3 routers will have one of the encryption keys...

- The message will reach the first Node "router' which has the encryption key "Ka", so it will decrypt it, and understand nothing of its concept, but that it has to send it to the next Node which has the key "Kb", so it sends it to the next Node, which as well will decrypt the second layer, understand nothing of the message and send it to the next and last Node "the exit Node", which has the last encryption key "Kc", so it will decrypt the message, understand it, and send it to the destination server which is in our case "Steam.com".


- The process will go the same way with the response from the server, though instead of decrypting, the routers will be receiving the response and decrypting the data, all the way till it reaches your device which has all of the 3 encryption keys needed to decrypt the data and understand the message.

- Each of the Nodes knows nothing about the whole connection of the network, and only about the next and the previous Node/Device/Server.

- Each of the Nodes can be transferring other data from other devices, for example, the first Node in your Tor network can be an exit Node and communicate with servers on other Tor networks.

So in conclusion, what's the best among the three services to use?

The answer to this question depends on what you want!, for example, if you want to stream but protect your online privacy and location, then your best fit is the VPN services because the Tor network in this case will be a big pain due to the slowness in the traffic flow caused by the encryption and the way the data take being sent or received.
On the other hand, if you are an activist, journalist, or want to share opinions, information, or communicate privately and away from being under the threat of getting caught, then Tor is the option to go with.

Last but not least, you can use proxy services when doing things that are not really confidential or crucial, for example, doing scholar tasks using a computer at your school or university. 
And at the end, if good privacy is your desire, then this is a nice path to go take :

VPN > VM > Proxychains > Tor Service 

Thanks For Reading! 


  1. Replies
    1. I ain't get what you exactly mean by "Changing it myself", though answering your question, nope this ain't a paid article, and currently we have no sponsorships or deals with anyone.
      I hope you have found something useful in the article!

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