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What do the words ‘Tor’ and ‘Dark Web’ mean to you? [VIDEO]

Does Tor make you safer, or make you a target for surveillance? Are there legitimate reasons to use it? Even at work? Our experts explain...

Enjoy our latest Facebook Live video featuring Sophos experts James Burchell and Greg Iddon.

In this episode, our dynamic duo reveal how well they did on our #SysAdminDay “Are you a sysadmin?” quiz, before tackling the controversial issue of Tor.

Tor, of course, is short for The Onion Router, software that’s supposed to keep you safer and more anonymous online, but that’s also used to access the infamous Dark Web, a popular haven for cybercrooks, ransomware collectors, peddlers of illegal drugs, and more.

Does Tor really make you safer, or pick you out as a target for surveillance? Are there legitimate reasons to use it? Even at work? How does Tor compare to a VPN? And if you aren’t ready to go all the way to Tor, what simple steps can you take to protect your privacy online?

(Can’t see the video directly above this line? Watch on Facebook instead.)

If you’d like to hear more from James and Greg (or from other Sophos experts, for that matter) in the relaxed format of Facebook Live…

…please let us know in the comments below!


Pole on the video host location. Reason is, I suspect many people that would otherwise watch them are missing out on the videos Sophos shares that are “only on FB”.

Thumbs up if: You can’t view the video on FB, but would watch it if it was on YouTube, (categorized as educational).
Thumbs down if: You have no trouble viewing the video as is. Thank you.


Watch it on Tor :-)

Just to be clear: these are Facebook Live videos, which is why they are on Facebook and not on YouTube. (You don’t need to login to a Facebook account to watch them.)

We chose Facebook Live because…well, we can’t do the same live video twice; more people follow us on Facebook than via Google; and the Facebook Live system works well. So we could switch, but we’d just have the same argument the other way around – people who don’t like Google but don’t mind Facebook would want us to switch back.

It’s one of those “you can please some of the people some of the time” dilemmas. We can’t stream to Facebook and Google at the same time, so we picked one.


I figured I would put a feeler out there, expecting most of the readers here are IT people at work. It may make for to much work/time, but what about making the video, uploading it to youtube, then sharing it on FB? Then you would get everyone. But yeah, that would blow the whole live feature.


Seriously, if you don’t trust Facebook but you do trust Google, then you should probably trust neither of them. (And as you don’t have to login to either service to watch videos, I’m not sure that you really need to trust them anyway, just to watch the video.)

If you mean that your employer won’t let you watch FB videos during work hours but will let you watch YouTube…

…then it’s a big ask to get us to change our workflow to take that policy into account :-)

As you say, the videos are done as a Facebook Live stream – because it’s fun, it’s a decent and easy-to-use platform, we have lots of followers there, and at least thousands of our readers *do* have access to FB – if not on their desktop computers then on their mobiles.

We could record the videos and upload them to dozens of different video sharing sites, but we’ve decided to go for the live flavour on Facebook. People seem to like it – it’s a refreshing change from the highly edited and perfectionistic HD material surrounded by ads and logos that you get in the “here’s one I prepared earlier” stable of video uploads…


it’s not as much a trust issue, as entertainment vs educational. At our place we filter the sites based on categorizations. Since YT has a categorization system, we can allow educational material while blocking the rest without micro managing the filter all the time. FB doesn’t have this feature – yet. * It’s only that we like the material you guys make that I brought this up (and thank you for letting me post the poll).The biggest YT user we have is a tech using cisco training videos.


Strictly production-wise, you *could* stream live to both. It would likely require two laptops, but you could split a single camera feed (unless it’s a webcam). Okay, so extra audio mixer, extra camera, another laptop, an audio engineer, additional Google feed technician…simple!



We block all torexit IP’s from our systems automatically..

There is no good reason to visit a normal website while using Tor…


“no good reason to visit a normal website while using Tor”
Well, from a corporate control perspective maybe. But from a human perspective controlling access (beyond stuff like porn and pirate sites) is short-sighted at best.

My grandma was an alcoholic–none of my employer’s business. I wasn’t her primary caregiver, but what about people who shoulder that level of responsibility alone? I’m a single dad and get overwhelmed working 60 hours with a healthy, well-behaved kid. If I caught flack for taking 20 minutes trying to get Grandma some help, I’d tell my boss where to stick his access policies. Is it on paper a valid business reason? No–until you treat employees so much like cattle that their demoralized productivity resembles the same.

Heck, some corporate blacklisting paradigms disallow pages like Naked Security for being “hacker” forums. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the moniker “naked” blocks it from a few more.


Actually, there are many perfectly good reasons to do so – although you might not want to extend access to everyone all the time. In fact, in the video we give you several reasons why Tor isn’t bad at work “just because”.


I would like to say in a non-technical comment that I very much appreciate the video. Live conversation is certainly not as polished as an article, but I thought it captured more information by the very nature of a casual conversation. Articles often weed out those very useful and interesting (if stray) ideas that I personally like to hear as well. Plus, I think that when I’m busy, such a video of James and Greg is much more inviting than a wall of text – so I say keep it up :)


Thanks for your kind words.

We plan to keep this sort of video going – indeed, we’ve locked in the Dynamic Duo for the next few months, so they know when we’re coming, camera in hand.


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