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  1. What Is
June 29, 2016updated 11 Jan 2017 4:15pm

What is Tor?

Implements encryption into the application layer - layers like an onion.

By Ellie Burns

Tor is an anonymous network maintained by The Tor Project, Inc, a research and education non-profit organisation.

Tor directs Internet traffic through a global, free, volunteer network consisting of over seven thousand relays.

Tor conceals the location and usage of network users from anyone spying on the network or from those analysing traffic, giving users a secure anonymous platform in which to communicate. Basically it allows users to protect their internet activities from monitoring.

 

What is onion routing? Find out on the next page.

Tor uses onion routing, which a technique for anonymous communication over the internet. Onion routing works by implementing encryption in the application layer of a communication protocol stack – just like the layers of an onion, hence the name. Tor encrypts the data multiple times and sends it through a virtual circuit comprising randomly selected Tor relays. Each relay decrypts a layer of encryption , passing the remaining encrypted data onto the next relay, or layer.

Tor was actually originally called ‘The Onion Router’, with its current name an acronym of the original software project name.

The Tor Project welcomes attacks against Tor, viewing such attempts on the network as an area of academic research.

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