Virtual Private Network (VPN) – For the casual Internet user, who is not doing anything on the deep web at all, a simple VPN such as PrivateInternetAccess.com is perfectly sufficient. This ensures that all of your activity on the web is encrypted.
TOR – TOR bounces your connection around the world (three different locations) to make it almost impossible to trace your actual IP address. I say ‘almost impossible’ because the FBI has, indeed, tracked people down using browser de-cloaking tricks, such as zero-day exploits, which are known as ‘network investigative tools’ (NITs). Apparently they can use these tools without a warrant, installing them on deep web sites to unmask all visitors to those sites. This is why it is absolutely essential to keep your TOR browser up-to-date, but having an updated browser is still not guarantee against a zero-day exploit unmasking your IP. Therefore, we recommend you do not rely exclusively on TOR to stay safe.
TOR over VPN – This is the preferred security setup for most deep web users. First, sign up for a VPN account (PrivateInternetAccess is a good choice) and then connect to TOR. If your IP is de-cloaked by a zero-day exploit, the feds only get your VPN IP, which masks your real IP. For additional security using this setup, you might want to consider signing up for multiple VPN accounts at various VPN providers and rotating them, connecting to a different VPN each time you connect to the network. You might also consider spoofing your MAC address because the VPN provider can see it, and it might be vulnerable to a TOR exploit. For most users, though, a simple setup of PrivateInternetAccess and TOR is sufficient.
VPN over TOR @ a Coffeeshop – For the truly paranoid, go to your favorite coffeeshop and use this setup. If the world ends and the attacker gets your real IP, it is only traceable to a coffeeshop. If the coffeeshop has a security camera, they usually only store security tapes for about a week. To be safe, rotate between different coffeeshops and wear a disguise.
VPN over TOR over Proxy – You can configure a socks5 proxy to run over TOR. This way, the websites you visit only see your static socks5 proxy IP, and have no idea you are using TOR. This is tricky to configure but we do have a tutorial for it!
VPN over TOR over Proxy @ Coffeeshop – Nobody will ever, ever find you. If you are using this kind of security setup, you must be doing something really bad! Congratulations, you have achieved ARCH VILLAIN status!