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Tor's website advises against mixing levels of anonymity, but does this apply across browsers? That is, can I browse websites in Firefox, chrome, IE etc without exposing my Tor traffic in Vidalia?

Edit: What I had originally meant with "mixing levels of anonymity" is actually "mixing modes of anonymity" (https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/doc/TorifyHOWTO#DonotmixModesofAnonymity , thanks mirimir). Now that I see that section again, I realize it is dealing with a separate concern. What I meant to ask was will it compromise my tor traffic if I simultaneously use a different browser to access easy identifying websites (i.e. account with my real name or email address connected to them). Nicolas and mirimir answered this to the effect of using VMs. Thanks!

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Using Tails in separate, encrypted (if you have persistent stuff) VMs is probably a safe option, as it provides near-complete isolation of separate identities.

Of course, this won't save you if you accidentally use credentials from both identities in the same VM.

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I've not found anything on the Tor Project website that specifically warns against "mixing levels of anonymity". However, "Don't mix/cross the streams!" is a common warning. Anyway, it is possible to simultaneously use the Tor Browser Bundle (with Tor-optimized Firefox) and other browsers that are not configured to use Tor. Using a second Firefox instance would be pushing your luck, however.

Even so, it's also possible to be lucky (for a while, at least) doing other risky things. Generally, if you don't want two "levels of anonymity" associated, do your best to keep them separate. At a minimum, put low-anonymity and high-anonymity stuff in different VMs. Better yet, use different machines. And also keep them isolated in networking. But don't rely on isolation between browsers.

  • trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/wiki/doc/… is where the talk of 'mixing levels of anonymity' comes from – IceyEC Oct 8 '13 at 19:25
  • Yes Icey, thank you for clarifying. I had read that when I was reading through all the documentation and for the life of me couldn't find it again when I went to ask this question. Now that I read it again, I realize it's talking about a different vulnerability than what I wanted to ask about, so I think what I'm asking is more along the same lines as what mirimir pointed out (don't cross streams). – Nacre Oct 15 '13 at 14:03

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