Mullvad Browser: Tor Browser without the Tor Network

Originally published at: Mullvad Browser: Tor Browser without the Tor Network | Boing Boing


So…I can have 103 open tabs with sub-tabs but all in privacy mode? Win/Mac/Linux …hm.

One thing this didn’t make clear to me is what the attraction of the logline " Tor browser without Tor" us. Are there liabilities to Tor? Is it onerous to use? Taxing on systems?


It’s slow as molasses because, as @beschizza said, it’s private, which also means you have to log into things by typing your password in every time like some sort of caveman.


Because Tor enters and exits through volunteer servers, it’s often very slow as GilbertWham says. It’s also frequently blocked by websites and services such as CAPTCHAs. The use case is transmitting data you don’t want your Internet service provider, VPN service, or other intermediaries having access to. Journalists, political dissenters, domestic abuse victims, people seeking abortion services, and other potential targets of violence all benefit from the risks its designed to mitigate against.

Since its focus is total anonymity, it’s wise to use it only for things you would never allow to cross over onto non-Tor networks. If you’re going to sign up for a service that you intend to use on Tor, do it start-to-finish through a Tor connection and use an email account you also signed up for through Tor and will never use outside the network.

Privacy Guides is a community effort to distribute current guidance on digital privacy. Their pages on Tor and desktop browsers are informative and current:


Thanks for sharing those links. I had been led to understand that the Tor browser was a more user-friendly tool distinct from the Tor network that was more like Mullvad - that it was already “Tor without Tor.” But reading your links, it seems like the Tor browser includes for better and worse the full functionality of the Tor network.

That’s exactly it. The Tor browser is developed by the Tor project and Mozilla to facilitate easy access to the Tor network. It’s purely a client for easily accessing Tor. Many of the improvements made have been included in mainstream Firefox through the Tor Uplift Project, but not all of them, in order to keep Firefox friendly to non-technical users. For people who would rather lean more heavily toward the privacy side of things and are willing to tolerate the inconveniences involved, Mullvad developed this intermediate fork of Firefox.

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Sounds good. I have been using DUckDuckGo’s browser for all my mobile surfing, (except for sites I need to log in to) and it seems to work pretty well. What additional benefits would this browser provide?

Just seeing if I’ve got this right.

TOR browser hides your true IP address by routing your request via at least 3 TOR relays, but going through 3+ relays can make it slow. It also avoids fingerprinting by deliberately having very few options, so that requests from different users look the same.

Mullvad browser does not do any relaying, but keeps the features that avoid fingerprinting. So if you use it without a VPN, web sites will know your IP address. In practical terms, they know where you live, but may not be able to work out which computer in your house the request came from, which isn’t much anonymity.

So the intention is that you should only use Mullvad browser via a VPN, ideally the Mullvad VPN which has lots of users using Mullvad Browser who all show as having the same fingerprint, provided you don’t break it by loading add-ons. Then the sites you visit don’t know your IP address, but the people running Mullvad VPN do. So your level of security is dependent on the behavior of the company running Mullvad VPN.

So you get faster internet due to having only 1 relay (the VPN) rather than 3 or more relays, but your anonymity now depends on a single point of failure, the VPN.

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