Torry.io Search Engine: Convenient or Unsafe?

Torry.io is a search engine that has the ability to integrate with Tor, and also to search for onion links, somewhat like Ahmia or Onion Search Engine. While this is a convenient idea in theory, in the past, this has caused DNS leaks, as in the case of Brave Browser (see Brave Privacy bug exposes Tor Onion URLs to your DNS provider).

Torry.io Search Engine: Convenient or Unsafe? Torry.io Search Engine: Convenient or Unsafe? png base64 iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAABAQMAAAAl21bKAAAAA1BMVEUAAP KeNJXAAAAAXRSTlMAQObYZgAAAAlwSFlzAAAOxAAADsQBlSsOGwAAAApJREFUCNdjYAAAAAIAAeIhvDMAAAAASUVORK5CYII

According to blokt.com:

Using a DNS service is dangerous because it gives away a lot of information about your online activities. If you are not protected, anyone watching the DNS server (not to mention the people who run the service) will be able to see the names and IP Addresses of every website you visit. While this doesn’t tell anyone what you did while you were connected to the website, this information can still be very valuable to outsiders, and something you don’t want to share.

Torry has an option called “Tor anonymous view,” which appears to use a SOCKS5 proxy to query Tor (.onion) hidden services. In the case of Torry, you can use this to access clearnet sites through Tor or access .onion sites. Still, the fact that this is done through a proxy server is somewhat questionable, because if not configured correctly, it can break your anonymity.

Torry.io Search Engine: Convenient or Unsafe? Torry.io Search Engine: Convenient or Unsafe? png base64 iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAABAQMAAAAl21bKAAAAA1BMVEUAAP KeNJXAAAAAXRSTlMAQObYZgAAAAlwSFlzAAAOxAAADsQBlSsOGwAAAApJREFUCNdjYAAAAAIAAeIhvDMAAAAASUVORK5CYII

There are a number of Tor search engines that have clearnet mirrors, and all of these are best viewed in the Tor browser, or an equivalent such as Onion Browser. Any sort of privacy technology, like Tor, Tails, Signal, etc., also needs frequent updates and bug fixes to maintain its privacy features. Still, if this isn’t that important to you, you can use the shortcuts; there are just consequences for doing so. For instance, when testing Torry, it occasionally gave the error message:

Torry.io Search Engine: Convenient or Unsafe? Torry.io Search Engine: Convenient or Unsafe? png base64 iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAAAEAAAABAQMAAAAl21bKAAAAA1BMVEUAAP KeNJXAAAAAXRSTlMAQObYZgAAAAlwSFlzAAAOxAAADsQBlSsOGwAAAApJREFUCNdjYAAAAAIAAeIhvDMAAAAASUVORK5CYII

Theoretically, this means that the SOCKS5 proxy is configured incorrectly, but it may just be for those individual onion services; it worked fine on others. That being said, Torry might be better used as a clearnet search engine, similar to DuckDuckGo, that doesn’t collect data on you (at least according to its privacy policy). If it had an official Tor hidden service and didn’t try to access Tor through a proxy server, it might be a bit more comforting. There have been other cases of Tor services being configured incorrectly and deanonymized, or even resulting in the operators being arrested; usually these were some type of illegal service, however.

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