Imagine if you will, a web browser – a full-fledged, premium web browser that lets you roam through the various corners of the web anonymously. One name that has popped up recently is PirateBrowser. Many people have started using this “anonymizing tool”, as the browser describes itself. But is it really that good? I tested the browser last night and discovered a few unusual things.
The folks over at The Pirate Bay, a highly popular torrent search engine mostly used for navigating and downloading music, movies and apps, on the occasion of 10 long years of its existence, put together a web-browser, which could access any corner of the internet, even if the ISP and the government did not want you to.
PirateBrowser is not a new browser, built up from scratch. It is instead a browser base on Firefox bundled with the anonymity tool Tor. The portable version of Firefox 23 has been laced with foxyproxy addonand a few changes in the configuration have been made. This is where all the confusion lies, since the tool is built over Tor, one would expect that it would drive them through any censored web-site. Sadly, that isn’t the case. The truth is that the browser can only let you cross through a handful of BitTorrent websites, including The Pirate Bay.
If you want to browse all the blocked websites, I suggest you download the TOR bundle. PirateBrowser apparently doesn’t have Bing, Google or Yahoo as its default search engine. It uses a search engine named “defaultsear.ch” which though is powered by Google only. The search extension lets you look into Facebook, YouTube and Twitter indexes as well – something that you don’t and perhaps can’t get on default Google search engine.
The Firefox logo has been replaced by The Pirate Bay’s symbol. and the browser has bookmarked a handful of torrent search engines and many other pirated websites.
Test and Performance
In my test, the bundle neither changed my IP address, which is really odd, nor did it reflect positive results while testing whether I was using Tor network.
Since the bundle is built over Firefox 23, it is obvious that it passed the HTML5 test, although as expected, the connectivity is a little slow. But that is a normal thing when you use Tor. Other than that, browsing websites, watching videos on YouTube, playing around flash content and visiting heavily laid out websites worked pretty well.
Pirate Browser download
You may download the browser from its official website, via torrent or direct http link. The installation file takes around 29 MB and expands to 88 MB after the installation. Once you have downloaded the file, you may extract it to a specific folder or else it will automatically extract in your download folder. Do note that it is a portable appand you can put the installation folder on your USB devices (flash drive) as well, and run it from there. No installation is required.
Once everything is done, you need to open the “Start PirateBrowser” executable file from its installation folder to run the browser. It will first fire up Tor client which will try to connect to its server, and once the connection has been established it will open Pirate Browser.
Wrapping things up, the browser is a bundle of the modified version of Firefox and Tor. Calling it an anonymity tool will be very unfair. It only lets you access a few BitTorrent websites, and not other blocked webpages. If you want to be anonymous while being on the internet, I will recommend using alternate browsers like Ultra Surf, Browzar, FreeGate or Tor browser. From the browser’s point of view, it does everything it advertises, but that is all. Being built by “pirate” guys, there can be a security concerns - and these have been raised at various forums. So if you do decide to use it, its best to not do any banking or critical things with PirateBrowser.