Tor short for The Onion Router is a system intended to enable online anonymity. Tor client software directs internet traffic through a worldwide volunteer network of servers to conceal a user’s location or usage on the internet causing anonymity. Tor was designed by the US navy research lab.
Tor has servers all over the internet. Tor allows you to plan a route through the tor cloud of servers across the globe. You then get the public keys from all those servers. You then prepare an onion packet of data by successful encrypting your data in the reverse sequence you are sending the packet.
Each layer only knows about the next hop to the next server and not the server before or after. You then send packet into the first node it decrypts that layer because it has the private key that matches the public key which the protocol advertises. Then the first node looks at the next layer which then instructs in where to send the next layer of the onion packet. The first node then sends it to the second node. The first node is not able to decrypt the second nodes data because it does not have the second nodes private key.
Tor allows for anonymity and can even replace a VPN. Tor is actually better rated better than a VPN. By encrypting the data and encrypting the path to the tor server itself. There is no way to find what or who is on the other end of a Tor route. Tor’s anonymity piece can hide digital food prints that a user does not want traced back to them. Even if log files are kept on a Tor node they are little to no help when it comes to tracking down a user on Tor service cause of the way it’s designed.
The only weakness in Tor service is the exit node. The exit node is where the data merges onto the internet which is where monitoring, network surveillance and traffic analysis can occur. The problem with this is if you are hosting the exit node you are responsible for the data that been placed on the internet not the user who actually sent it, there safe because of the anonymity piece.
Tor also has hidden services which are being used for programs like bitcoin mining. Tor is available for any version of Linux or BSD, Mac OS X, Windows and the Android. Tor is available for the Firefox browser as well.
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