Tor stands for The Onion Router. Imagine each layer of an onion is a server. That's essentially how Tor lets you surf the Web safely and anonymously, and with no creepy Web ads that have obviously been tracking you. The trouble with Tor is the trouble with onions: they can be overwhelming. ThankSoft's Mask Surf Pro makes it easy to use the Tor network yet offers advanced features like the capability to choose which host country to emulate. Developers can use it to test how their tools or Web pages perform in specific regions or under certain browser restrictions. Mask Surf Pro is free to try for 15 days. It's also available as a scaled-down freeware version, Mask Surf Lite. We tried the free trial of the Pro software, which we selected during setup.
Mask Surf Pro's installer detected an update, which we downloaded and installed. When you first run Mask Surf Pro, it automatically detects your Web browsers and configures itself to them. The user interface displays the Big Five (or Big Three Plus Two): IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera. It detected our IE and Firefox installations but, surprisingly, not Chrome, our default browser. Mask Surf Pro also automatically Anonymized IE but not Firefox, though all we had to do was select Firefox's check box and click Apply to Anonymize it. Mask Surf Pro's tabs describe the program's functions: Countries, for configuring geospecific masks; Speed, for setting relay limits and other bandwidth options; Masking, which let us configure Mask Surf Pro for Chrome (though the versions needed updating) as well as operating system choices, including Windows 8; Contribution, for selecting Tor mode (Client-only, Relay, and Bridge) and Tor Log.
Mask Surf Pro is probably the easiest tool of its type to set up and use, with lots of options. It needs something more than a Web page for submitting support tickets, such as a proper Help file. And it needs updated support for Chrome. We had Chrome 21, but the latest Mask Surf Pro release only supports up to Chrome 14. On the other hand, it's ready for Windows 8. Definitely worth trying.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of Mask Surf Pro 3.2.