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Tor network


Most of the traditionally used Internet browsers are extremely mediocre in terms of privacy. A tech-savvy third-party observer can easily not only access your cookies for different sites, but also find out the history of your Internet surfing.

On the one hand - so what's wrong with that? Corporations and governments are already actively collecting information about us for their own purposes. A "law-abiding person" has nothing to fear and hide. But on the other hand, no one guarantees that this information will be collected by trustworthy persons who are not going to use it for personal purposes. And if you are not going to make their work easier, then you should use truly confidential browsers. For example, the Tor network.

What is it?

TOR - short for "The Onion Router" or "Onion Router" - is a technology to protect information about your activity on the Internet. Its essence lies in the use of independent encryption protocols and a distributed network of peers.

It looks like this - you send an encrypted request to a specific site through a distributed network, where it moves between different nodes, is additionally encrypted and only after that reaches the endpoint. Your ISP can only track that you have sent an encrypted message to a distributed network, but will not be able to find out either its content or its ultimate goal. The same thing happens in the opposite direction - the provider will see that you have received a message from the network, but will not determine its content or the place of sending.

What does the onion have to do with it?

The onion is the symbol of the TOR browser for a reason. There are layers in both. But in TOR, these are "layers of encryption". Usually - up to 3 pieces. and this is how it looks in practice.

Let's say you need to convey a certain message. You take it and encrypt it with a certain cryptographic cipher. And you transfer it to the distributed network. There a sequential chain of three nodes is formed, each of which has its own encryption key. First, your encoded information is encrypted with the key of the output (third) node. Then it is encrypted with the key of the second node and marked with the address of the output node. And after that, it is encrypted again with the key of the first node and marked with the address of node number 2. And only after that, the data transfer begins. The first node removes its encryption and sees where to send information next. The second does the same and sends it to the outgoing one. Outgoing decode the last layer and sends the information to the destination site.

The same thing happens in the opposite direction. The data is always encrypted independently so that no network participant can get to it on their own. The participants do not know each other, so they cannot come to an agreement. Only the original sender has access to all three encryption keys and only he can view the information.

Looks safe, doesn't it? Yes, but there are a few nuances. You may forget to encrypt information before transmitting it to the network and the originating node can see it. And use it for your own purposes. In addition, the outgoing node always knows exactly where you sent your request, since it is through it that the information gets there. Especially if the secure HTTPS protocol is not used.

However, it is still safer than using regular browsers. However, this security comes with a price - speed. TOR works very slowly because information needs to be changed a lot and often. Three hops are a good balance between speed and reliability, but the number of hops can be customized as you wish.

Why do you need all this?

Because only decentralized peer-to-peer networks can guarantee a decent level of privacy. They are resistant to external influences, difficult to organize internal collusion, and methods of cryptographic encryption further complicate the work of potential attackers.

Perhaps the best recommendation for the reliability of this browser is the fact that it is used by real criminals. That is, people who perfectly understand that their freedom and life depend solely on the reliability and confidentiality of the means of information exchange they use.

However, even TOR is not perfect and sometimes leaks personal information. Banal JavaScript, for example, can facilitate your identification, so you should always install additional browser extensions that block it.


Onion routing and the TOR browser have long been integral components of network privacy. And while it is impossible to achieve complete anonymity on the Internet, they significantly increase your chances of keeping your privacy intact.