View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter - data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  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.

Content from our partners
Scan and deliver
GenAI cybersecurity: "A super-human analyst, with a brain the size of a planet."
Cloud, AI, and cyber security – highlights from DTX Manchester


Websites in our network
Select and enter your corporate email address Tech Monitor's research, insight and analysis examines the frontiers of digital transformation to help tech leaders navigate the future. Our Changelog newsletter delivers our best work to your inbox every week.
  • CIO
  • CTO
  • CISO
  • CSO
  • CFO
  • CDO
  • CEO
  • Architect Founder
  • MD
  • Director
  • Manager
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.